Reviewed by JustJen
Title: Stars Fall
Author: Louis J. Harris
Heroes: Keegan Mansfield/Conrad Smith
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 285 Pages
Publisher: Cooldudes Books
Release Date: November 19, 2014
Available at: Cooldudes Books, Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Keegan Mansfield is the star of the track and field team and he’s destined for Rio 2016. But there are problems; he’s lost, lonely and a social outcast. You see, Keegan Mansfield is a bilateral amputee. A T43/44 Paralympian whose life is filled with false friends and dysfunctional parents. What will it take to change his world? Love? Honour? Trust?
Conrad Smith is a fine able bodied athlete, he runs for the same team and saves Keegan from a potentially violent incident. Conrad believes in Keegan. Falls in love with him. Then breaks his heart.
Keegan switches to survival mode, but will he ever forgive Conrad? And when tragedy strikes like a lightning bolt from heaven, will Keegan continue his Olympic dream? Only Keegan can change his world for the better, and he knows that if he doesn’t do so soon, his Olympic dream will be in vain.
Review: This is my second time reading this author … and I am happy to say that some of the issues I had with that first book were not present here. The tense and perspective flowed much better and allowed me to get a much better feeling for the characters.
This story interested me right away – I’m a sucker for damaged characters. Here, Keegan is the damaged one, having had a double amputation at an early age from a car accident. He is now in college and a pretty strong member of the track team with hopes of going to the next Olympics. While his disability does play a pretty big role in this story, it takes a back seat to his relationship and the mystery involved. I loved reading about the prosthetics and how they affected Keegan’s daily life, though I wish that had played a little more important of a role here and there.
Keegan and Conrad were team mates, but didn’t really become more until Conrad took a more prominent role as Keegan’s savior. He stands up for him against the team bullies, saves him from what seem to be homophobic attacks, and their friendship and subsequent relationship grow from there. Conrad just seemed like an all around great guy and fit well with the sweet Keegan.
Conrad is comfortable being gay, but Keegan is really only coming to realize this about himself, with the help of Conrad of course. What they share seems very special, and I loved watching Conrad bring Keegan out of his shell and show him some of the benefits of being gay. Even though apprehensive about everything at first, it doesn’t take long for Keegan to get the hang of things.
Unfortunately, things get in the way of their relationship. Keegan has issues with his parents, has been receiving hateful postcards and is constantly having to deal with the bullying team mates. We eventually learn there is a lot more to the bullying than first appears, but before that happens, it causes a lot of hardship and almost does Keegan and Conrad in for good.
There were times I felt that things weren’t quite adding up, mostly do to communication, especially where his parents were concerned. Keegan disappears with Conrad on numerous occasions, and it isn’t until he returns we learn his parents were the least bit worried about that fact. Now, his parents are not gems, but this still seemed a bit odd for someone living under their roof. There were also a few other details that seemed more like coincidences that didn’t add up or that were explained away very quickly.
I definitely enjoyed this story and loved how everyone came together in the end (Keegan and Conrad, as well as their friends). I would definitely read a follow up and am looking forward to whatever Mr. Harris comes up with next.
Overall Impression: I really liked it!
*I received a copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.*