Book Reviews

Surviving Elite High: Loving James (Surviving Elite High 3) by John H. Ames at Ai Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Young Adult / Romance
Reviewed by Alex on 12-September-2016

Book Blurb

Surviving a normal high school is hard enough. Surviving Elite High? Close to impossible! Not until you learn the difference between love and obsession…

Sixteen year old James Gordon has it all. He’s rich, studious, and bears quite a strong resemblance to Justin Bieber. So, what’s stopping him from being a normal kid in high school? The deadly jocks. They torment anyone who’s gay or possibly closeted, even though Nick Wild Hawk, star of the football team and the love of his life, John, came out to the whole school in previous years and made being gay at Elite High just another walk of life.

However, even though the jocks have bullied James nonstop and made his life a living hell, he can’t help but fantasize about the king of the jocks, Nathan Parker. Nathan is rugged, straight and the most popular guy in school. When fate intercepts and places James and Nathan under the same roof, James’ torture really begins. And yet, through it all, James hopes that that his steadfast love for Nathan will change the jock into a lover rather than an abuser. Unless a certain hot, loyal, guy in the background can find a way to show James he is really, truly loved, and has been for a long time. Before it’s too late…

Surviving Elite High: Loving James is the third part of the Surviving Elite High Saga which features one the most famous and loved characters in the series, Jacob Ashmore. Book one of the series is available at Budding Moon Press.

Publisher advisory: This book contains scenes of graphic bullying and sexual abuse (not between the romantic couple).

Book Review

Written with all the exuberant and dramatic emotional makeup of its young adult audience, the third installment to the Surviving Elite High series found me immersed in the life of James Gordon, the young tutee of John Ames, the lead character in the previous books.

Sixteen-year-old James is a bundle of anxious energy. Upset that his father is getting remarried—it’s far too soon, in his opinion, but who asked him?—he’s also the target of the worst bully in his school, and he despairs of ever finding a boyfriend. His single bright spot is the inspiration he finds in the loving relationship between his tutor, John, and football jock, Nick Wild Hawk. How did John do it? How did he find a cool, blistering-hot jock to come out for him?

Transforming his upset into dogged determination, James decides that he will follow John’s example; he, too, will find a jock to love him. His newfound focus takes a blow when he learns that he is expected to have a meet and greet dinner with, not only his father’s intended bride, but her teenaged son as well. Crushed at his dad’s abrupt dismissal of his feelings, James heads off to school, where a single kind word from his nemesis, basketball team captain, Nathan Parker, has him certain that Nathan is the jock for him… He’s just got to win him over, right?

What follows is a tumble of surprising and catastrophic events, fraught with the turbulent emotion of a hormone-ridden teen, as in trying to win his jock, James learns a slew of lessons…under the worst possible circumstances.

As with the previous book, once I adjusted to the quick-change emotional makeup that is at the heart of teen angst, I enjoyed this dashing dip into the life of young James as he struggles to find a way out of the fire he has unwittingly jumped into. Kudos to author John Ames for penning this arresting “don’t let this happen to you,” morality tale. As I sank into the fallen domino flow of the story, my adult self was prone to murmurs of “Oh, no, no…No! Oh God, was I ever this dumb?” A slideshow of the dubious mishaps of my own teen years provided a resounding, “Uh, ye-ah…” and I eagerly turned another page, hoping that James would find his way out, as I have. 

Thank you, John Ames, for allowing me to romance upon “the folly of youth.” In a word, “Engaging.”





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been purchased by the reviewer.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novella, 19577 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 25-February-2013
Price $3.49 ebook
Buy Link