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Hearts On Fire Reviews

We read and review for the love and joy of books.

Jeff Erno – Dumb Jock

Dumb Jock - Jeff Erno, Tommy O'Brien, Dreamspinner Press LLC

It’s the early 80’s and Jeff Irwin, a fourteen-year-old nerd has been summoned to the football coach’s office where he learns that if he expects to pass gym this semester he will have to tutor high school jock Brett Willson in English and make sure he doesn’t fail so he can go on to lead the team to a championship season.


Nothing like a little pressure, but Jeff is up to the task, and he finds that Brett is not so dumb at all— he’s just very lost, having never gotten a solid foundation in English grammar. The two actually become friends, and Brett starts to grasp the grammar and even does well in the tests on his own. Never one to want to be in the limelight, Jeff hangs with his friends, a group of misfits like him, but once Brett and he start to be more than just tutor and student, Jeff’s friends are impressed that Brett actually smiles at Jeff once in a while. What they don’t know is that Brett has revealed his attraction to Jeff and calls him Sport or Pup when they are alone. And that’s not all he does when they are alone.


It’s a difficult time in Jeff’s life. He’s not only a freshman, but is also gay and in the closet, and his father decides he needs to divorce his mother, and then the week before Christmas, his mother becomes critically ill. By then, Brett is outwardly supportive of Jeff, not just behind the scenes, and he provides the love and emotional support Jeff needs to get through the tough times. But, of course, disaster awaits around the corner. When the pressure from his coach and his father prove too much for Brett to handle, he breaks Jeff’s heart when he abandons him. Will they ever get back together? Is it possible for either of them to even have an open relationship at that time in our history?


I listened to this story on audiobook, and I need to say first and foremost, I didn’t care for the story at all. I felt it was too trite, and quite honestly, I felt some of the things that occurred were highly unrealistic and unbelievable both for that decade and for the age of the MCs. The settings, situations, and family dynamics felt way too fictional. Jeff was fourteen throughout most of the story and Brett was a junior in high school, making him sixteen or seventeen at the most. On top of that, I really found narrator Tommy O’Brien to be very monotonous and his narration quite irritating. I don’t know whether he narrated the way he did purposely, thinking that it would be the way a teen would narrate, or if that’s his usual narrative style, but no matter which was the reason, I won’t be listening to him again.


To be honest, I would have DNF’d the story at 25%, but I held out hope that it would improve, and I feel any publisher who provides a copy of a book should get the honest review they expect, so I never DNF a book that I’ve agreed to review. That said, I don’t recommend this as either an audiobook or an ebook. Overall, I’d give the story 2 hearts. There were some interesting sections, and it certainly wasn’t the worst book I’ve ever read. Because this is an audiobook review, however, I’ve rated it 1.5 hearts due to the poor narration.

Source: http://heartsonfirereviews.com/audio-review-jeff-erno-dumb-jock-2