I picked up this book for one reason; I needed to get my reading focus back! I was all over the place in my reading. I was starting books which couldn’t hold my attention and this wasn’t necessarily the stories fault. Experience taught me that a story from Amy Lane has always been able to draw me in and keep me engaged throughout the entirety of it. The Locker Room was no exception. I will not attempt to try and explain what it is about Amy Lane’s characters that affects me some much, just the fact that they do.
Normally I’m a reader who loves a complex multitude of storylines but The Locker Room kind of swallowed me up with its simplicity, intensity and romance! I have no review notes save the names of the main characters and a quote. That’s it! The Locker Room is about falling in love and doing everything for each other. To conquer difficulties and bigotry but also soaring in the love you feel for the other half of your heart and soul. There is also love for the basketball game and making hard choices. It was all revolving around Xander Karchek and Christian Edwards. Their life, their love and the game they played brought enough emotional tension for me to be completely invested.
At the beginning of the story Xander Karchek is a teenager who has to scrape by in life for food, warmth and a place to stay safe. He has one love and that is basketball. It is on a fateful night he plays basketball where he meets Christian Edwards. Chris is coming from a warm nest with loving parents but the moment those two meet on that basketball court the magnetism between them is evident. They come from opposite backgrounds and while Xander struggles with this fact, in the end, it didn't matter! From that first moment they were kibble and bits, red and yellow M&M, Ben and Jerry…you get my drift. At first they became inseparable friends but over time it developed in to true love. The love burned fierce inside Xander and Chris, they never doubted that love, or the connection they felt. They were each other’s first and only love which grew deeper over the years. It was the outside world that caused trouble and then some.
Xander and Chris bring out the best in one another and over the course of the years I saw that connection grow so strong. I think it is a remarkable feat to have almost fifteen years pass by in 250 pages. It never felt rushed and always with a flowing writing style and animated dialogues. Some periods got more attention than others but in every significant moment Amy Lane put focus and detail. At some points I thought it almost went too easy. Xander and Chris are stars in high school and college basketball and then go pro. It is the secrecy about their love for each other that brings a high voltage tension to the story. It brings difficult dilemma’s to the forefront yet it simultaneously showcases the strength of their romance and their bond together. This kind of romance sweeps me off my feet and makes my heart go pitter patter.
The Locker Room resonated with me in the message that real love can conquer it all. It might not be easy, it sure as hell wasn't easy for Xander and Chris. Yet they have a tenacity, a love stronger than oak and a small group of family and friends to opposite the darkness, dangers and bigotry. Both these men are very sympathetic and become a powerful pair. I was just completely engulfed by the maelstrom of feelings portrayed by these two life-like men! There was no secondary storyline or plot, it all revolved around Xander and Chris’ life and it was enough.
Chris and Xander were personable, passionate and sympathetic from the first moment I met them. Gradually the emotions became more complex to deal with and I was nailed to the pages how this couple would come up at the other end. I love it how this author has the ability to keep me focused on just two characters sharing their tumultuous ups and downs with me. Amy Lane excels in complex emotions, fantastic developing relationships and awesome characters.
Quotes for you to sample:
Chris’s mouth was on his again, and he let go of Chris’s hand and wrapped his arms around that smaller, more slender body and pulled his friend, his savior, deep into whatever haven he could give. Don’t leave me, Chris. Don’t let me leave you. I need this. I need you. I’ll do anything, move the world, move out of my mom’s place, get an apartment, pass all my classes, anything, just stay here, right here, forever.