Author: S.C. Wynne
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 71 Pages
At a Glance: Hiding Things is one to add to your bookshelf if you are looking for a sweet coming of age story with a lovely happy ever after ending.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Mason Downing is good at a lot of things, but math isn’t one of them. What he is good at is hiding the fact that he’s a poor kid on a full scholarship at elite Bragson University—though he won’t be there for long if he can’t get his grades up.
Carter Lantor is the embodiment of all that Mason pretends to be: rich, confident, and smart. But when Carter is handpicked to be Mason’s new math tutor, Mason learns that he’s not the only one hiding things. Soon, Carter’s picture-perfect façade begins to crack under the pressure of his father’s expectations and his own unhappiness.
Together, Mason and Carter must teach each other that no matter how much they question their place in the world, their love for one another might be the answer they are looking for.
Review: Mason has lost nearly everything: his parents, his emotional support, and now lives a secret life—one where he is not a poor orphan, financially strapped, with only his scholarship keeping him at the prestigious private university. Instead, he pretends to be one of the majority—wealthy, unencumbered and “good enough” to breathe the same air as those that surround him at school. Unfortunately, math would be his undoing, as he finds himself in need of a tutor but with no way to pay for it. Now he must take on the burden of a part time job while still maintaining his taxing academic schedule. Determined not to let others know of his humble status, he keeps to himself and quietly hopes no one will recognize him as he drives the shuttle on campus. However, his first night brings with it an encounter that will ultimately be his undoing and, at the same time, his redemption.
Carter lives behind his camera. With a burning desire to become a famous photographer one day, Carter wants nothing more than to be free to pursue his dreams and his art. However, between his being gay and his chosen field of study, his father is threatening to cut him off. Carter freely acknowledges that he enjoys the money he comes from, but he simply cannot envision his life as the heir apparent to a firm his father has lovingly nurtured. With his mother encouraging him not to make waves, Carter realizes his parents may never accept him and that he may indeed lose everything he is accustomed to having. When he meets the shy yet intriguing student he is to tutor in precalc, he feels things he never thought possible. But can the two young men open up and trust each other with their secrets?
S.C. Wynne writes a short story that immediately captures the imagination and presents two characters who both yearn for the same thing–acceptance. While the story develops rapidly, there is real depth to both Carter and Mason. This story could have devolved into a “poor rich boy meets mousy poor boy” so very quickly, and yet, this author smartly saves it from becoming so by making Carter and Mason so very down to earth and real. Carter admits he loves the wealth that allows him to do the things he want—he acknowledges that it would be more than difficult to give it all up to pursue his dream career. Because of this, you develop great compassion for him and see him as much more than the shallow façade that kind of wealth can produce. He stands up for himself and for his feeling towards Mason, and, in doing so, utterly captures the reader’s heart.
Mason’s fears that he will be viewed as being beneath those he attends school with stems from a real place of fear of failure. He allows himself to believe that he is less than his fellow classmates, and it colors everything he does. Trusting Carter does not come easy for him, and we experience his struggle with believing that someone obviously out of his league could truly care for him.
While there were a few glitches in this story—minor things like Mason being on his knees one moment and then being able to kiss Carter the next without transitioning to his feet, and other awkward movement issues like that within the story, it was still a sweet college romance that was well done in many ways.
Overall, Hiding Things is one to add to your bookshelf if you are looking for a sweet coming of age story with a lovely happy ever after ending.
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