Review: ‘Five Dares’ by Eli Easton

35457416Published October 2nd 2017
245 pages

Andy Tyler has been the class daredevil since middle school. Over the years, he’s convinced his best friend, Jake Masterson, to perform some dangerous-looking stunts with him. But the dare they attempt on the night of their college graduation goes sideways. The firecrackers explode too soon and both of them end up with badly burned palms.

But hey, nothing gets the “terrible two-o” down for long, and they recuperate in style at Andy’s family cottage in Cape Cod. As the weeks go by, both Andy and Jake grow frustrated over the inability to use their hands for all sorts of daily activities—including getting off. So Andy begins a new series of dares that don’t just cross the friendship line, they obliterate it.

But what might be mere sexual relief to Andy is serious business to Jake, who only recently got over years of secret pining for his straight best friend. Inevitably, the burns heal, summer ends, and hearts are broken. To fix things, Andy will have to face the greatest dare of all.

I loved the concept of this book right off the bat. It just sounded a bit silly and frivolous, which is exactly what I needed in my life. The story definitely goes a little deeper than just a bit of fun, even teetering on the edge of getting emotionally heavy at times, but overall it’s an entertaining, low-angst read that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Jack and Andy are total besties, this notorious double act that have been friends since forever and are known for their daredevil antics. Well, it’s mostly Andy being the stuntman, Jake has always been his ideal wingman, bringing in the crowds and amping up the tension. They’ve always been the perfect team. So they take part in one final stunt before they’re supposed to head to opposite sides of the country for the next stage in their lives, and it blows up in their faces. Quite literally.

So they get one last summer together, struggling on without the use of their hands, but still revelling in just being able to spend a couple more months together. But these young men run into certain obstacles. There’s many things they’ve learned how to do hands-free, but getting off isn’t one of them. So when daredevil Andy suggests mutual blowjobs to relieve the sexual frustration, there’s only way it was going to go. Jake has always followed Andy’s lead, and here it’s no different, even though he’s putting his heart on the line.

Because, of course, Jake has always been in love with Andy. Getting a job across the country was supposed to be his chance to get away and move on, to stop pining over his very straight best friend. And yet here they are, getting their sexy on, which is very not straight. And that’s where this book starts to develop into something deeper. Yes, it’s funny. Yes, it’s hot (that scene in the kitchen, HELLO). But beyond that it’s about two young men really discovering themselves. Especially Andy who finds himself wanting things he never thought he’d want, not from his very male best friend.

There were many moments where I wanted to bash their heads together, because come on, it was so obvious they both had feelings for each other. It very quickly stopped being just about a convenient way to get off, so them constantly trying to justify it that way was frustrating, but exactly what I was expecting from these guys. I was desperately willing Andy to open up to the possibilities about himself, to stop trying to force himself into a box that fits his dad’s expertly structured vision. He had to let himself dream.

It’s only when their summer is over that we start to see just how vulnerable Andy is. He’s always seemed so happy-go-lucky, but once he’s separated from Jake, his insecurities about his future and what he wants overwhelm him. It seemed in the beginning that this need to do reckless things came from needing to be acknowledged and validated by other people, but in the end it all comes down to Jake. Needing to keep him close. Needing to be a part of that team. Being scared about losing him.

Essentially, they just don’t function when they’re apart. You’d think Jake would have it worse, having to deal with getting over the guy he loves. But ohhh boy, does Andy fall to pieces. It’s heartbreaking and satisfying all at once to see him have that inevitable epiphany as to what Jake really means to him. And their reunion was all sorts of loveliness. The grand gesture Andy makes is perhaps a little but much for me, but it does suit his reckless personality, especially where his feelings for Jake are concerned.

And that epilogue, the final dare, was just perfect. Wrapping everything up in a pretty little bow. You can’t not root for these boys, and it’s a story I can see myself reaching for again in the future. I would highly recommend it.

4/5 stars

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