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Language Lessons

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Love doesn't come easy. For Joey, he didn't care if it ever came at all. He was much too busy adding notches to his bedpost and preparing for life as an adult. But when a casual fling waxes nostalgic about the one that got away, Joey starts to wonder if he isn't missing something after all, if there really is something to be learned from the language of love.

47 pages, Kindle Edition

First published April 18, 2011

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About the author

Jay Bell

35 books1,937 followers
Jay Bell is a proud gay man and the award-winning author behind dozens of emotional and yet hopelessly optimistic stories. His best-selling book, Something Like Summer, spawned a series of heart-wrenching novels, a musically driven movie, and a lovingly drawn comic. When not crafting imaginary worlds, he occupies his free time with animals, art, action figures, and—most ardently—his husband Andreas. Jay is always dreaming up new stories about boys in love. If that sounds like your cup of tea, you can get the kettle boiling by visiting www.jaybellbooks.com.

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5 stars
348 (20%)
4 stars
577 (34%)
3 stars
553 (32%)
2 stars
156 (9%)
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60 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 180 reviews
Profile Image for Sheri.
1,356 reviews137 followers
March 2, 2017
Jay Bell is a master of illusions. Yep. I've figured out his secret.
He draws your attention to one thing...and you never noticed the 'other' thing until it's happened.
Expect the unexpected when it comes to Bell.

Great story....
great gift (thanks for the freebie!)
Profile Image for Giulio.
262 reviews43 followers
July 16, 2014
3.5 stars

Lovely short story about a horny and annoying teenager
who slowly finds out what love is. Loved how the author wrote such a cute story with such a flawed MC.

Simple but highly true quote:

Without Scott, I just sit around wasting my life. But when we're together, every minute feels too important to waste, so I try to be the best person I can for him while trying to make him feel as special as he makes me feel
Profile Image for ᴥ Irena ᴥ.
1,649 reviews214 followers
July 26, 2016
Joey was very annoying little man in the first half of the story. I had to remind myself he is just a promiscuous sixteen-year-old (soon seventeen) boy to get through some of his thoughts and actions. His thoughts and the way he acted made it difficult to remember that. He just sounded older.
The act of reconnecting Scott and Bradley wasn't selfless - it was an experiment for Joey to see love.
Profile Image for Anyta Sunday.
Author 89 books2,504 followers
July 13, 2014
4.5, LOVE this author's style. :)

Just went and bought four other books of his without even looking at the blurb, that's how impressed I am!
Profile Image for namericanwordcat.
2,442 reviews404 followers
March 11, 2018
Hmmm. This was interesting.

A great cover and a really intersting hero. He isn't likable until he is. He is just young and narrow minded or self absorbed or shuttered about life? It is hard to say.

But he does a sweet thing and this is a sweet if way too fast romance about a young man in high school that shows off Jay Bell's writing skills.
Profile Image for Mike.
125 reviews10 followers
September 16, 2014
I wanted to give this three stars. For one thing, it was free. For another, the author's writing technique is strong IMO.

But I can't. It really just feels like this story missed its own point. I think what it was supposed to be is a story of a boy who realizes that there are better things than casual sex out there.

Jay Bell is not a bad writer. This, however, is a bad story. The plot is ridiculous, the characters are beyond obnoxious, and it's not even that hot. Sorry, but...no.

It's free, though, so you won't lose much beyond 30 minutes if you try it, and it's not like I've never loved books that the masses hated, so there's no need to take my word for it.
Profile Image for Greg.
129 reviews57 followers
August 5, 2015
At first, I didn't warm to the protagonist, Joey, who came across as shallow and image-obsessed with an over-the-top sense of fashion. I also thought his brazenness in approaching a stranger with a view to having sex - and the ease with which he was able to have casual sex with such a stranger - bizarre and unrealistic to me. This is summed up by the following passage when Joey wanted to hook up with a guy whom he'd neither met before in real life nor even chatted with online:

'He signed the message and sent it, thinking how great it was to be gay. Anyone else would dismiss his invitation as creepy, but gay people often felt an immediate camaraderie. They didn't know each other, but already they had something in common. Being gay could make the rest of the world feel a little distant at times, but it made instant family of others like him.'

Joey is also frequently dishonest and manipulative, consciously dressing and acting to appear older than his age - which is circa 16 or 17 (he's still in high school) - or contriving an interest in a hobby so as to hook up with other, often older, guys.

However, as the story progresses we learn of his parents' divorce and how this has led him to believe that love doesn't last, so all he seeks is one-night stands or casual sex. His manipulativeness also derives from his insecurity - that people would only be interested in him because he was well dressed, more mature-looking, that he shared their interests or went to the same school.

An experiment he conducts leads him to consider that love could last and this seems to encourage him in taking an interest in another guy, Phillip, not just for sex but for something more. Once he allows himself to consider the possibility of a long-term relationship his need for mere sexual self-gratification takes second place as he considers Phillip as a person in whose company he wants to spend his time. In the process, Joey attaches less importance to dressing up - an indication that he is becoming more at ease with himself and that his facade is beginning to slip away now that he can allow himself to love somebody.

I can relate to Joey's facade to some degree, especially his reticence in seeking a long-term relationship, as my own parents became separated when I was 19. Seeing one's parents' marriage gradually implode over a few years and to witness the breakdown of some friends' marriages too, it's easy to reach the conclusion that long-term relationships and marriage are not worth the effort. It's only in reading this story that I realised how much I had normalised this view and that, among other factors, it's had a very large impact on my own life. While Language lessons may be be a bit simplistic - perhaps because of its short-story format - I nevertheless gained an insight about myself in reading it. I only wish I had been able read it when I was a teenager.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Raji.
59 reviews3 followers
December 31, 2011
Funny how a 0.99 cents book on Amazon is a free book on iTunes! I stumbled on this book when I was browsing through the shelves for more M/M books.

This is not a full fledged novel but a short story. But Jay, as usual, weaves his magic of words and characters. At first Joey felt a little bit unbelievable and unlikeable but as the story moved along, I could see exactly why Joey was, how he was - I guess abundance of sex makes you a bit jaded (but also very little of it can have the same effect LOL!). It made me laugh to see young Joey behaving as if he was already an adult - with his tie and suit etc. :)

Even though Joey is not your average kind of a protagonist or hero, you can't deny his beautiful heart. I was smiling as I read about Scott and Bradley and Joey's role in reuniting them. Joey's curiosity of this thing called "love" was done so very beautifully! It made me hope that Joey too should fall in love and realize that everything isn't about "hooking up".

I loved when Philip was introduced. His character was the introvert/ reserved one for Joey's extrovert. Philip was your average kid on the block. Working during the summer, being a bit shy and parents who actually wanted to know where you were.

The build up to the moment when it dawns on Joey about putting others (or your partner's) needs ahead of you was done fabulously and yet subtly. I have to point out though, for some reason I felt that this book was based in a utopia or a parallel universe. Not sure why - may be Joey's dressing up gave me that idea? Which school boy would actually dress up in blazer and tie for a date?! *shrug*

My only complaint in this book was the length. I needed it to be longer! :)
Profile Image for J.S. Young.
Author 2 books20 followers
October 2, 2016
Still like a 3.5 but I never consider bad for a short story. It's kind of where I place the one's I like. This one was interesting because it kind of plays into the idea of gay guys being into hooking up instead of relationships. Joey didn't believe in love but really he just ignored it. Scott and Brad were a fun idea if a little unrealistic and sweet innocent Philip showed a kind of tentative look at how love can potentially blossom. Sweet and too the point Jay Bell does write some nice little short stories.
Profile Image for Monika .
2,031 reviews30 followers
July 17, 2016
4.5 Stars

I can see how a lot of people could dislike Joey but I really liked him, he had a cavalier attitude about sex and while I’m not a fan of that I thought he was funny, charming and sweet. It was so cute watching him play match maker with Bradley and Scott and even funnier watching him go on his first real “date” with Phillip. I really liked this short but all good shorts I wish it was longer.

This was my first time reading Jay Bell but it certainly won’t be my last.
Profile Image for Alex.
Author 28 books74 followers
June 2, 2011
Stars: 3.5/5

A funny and touching story in which a young playboy learns about love outside the bedroom. The story is light and humorous, never delving too deep but it is definitely romantic. It could be described as schmaltzy, but I think it's meant to be diabetes-inducing. At least, it worked for me.

The main character is a mix of knowledgeable/jaded and innocent; he knows everything about sex and nothing about love, except maternal and friendship. He's an interesting narrator, although he rubbed me the wrong way the beginning, partially because he came across as a little flat. However, once he started playing match-maker, I was more amused than annoyed and everything worked out.

This is worth the small price tag. Check it out!
Profile Image for Yvonne.
717 reviews38 followers
May 1, 2011
Young Joey who is a veteran of the one night stands at 17, becomes intrigued by the idea that some people get together for more than just sex. When a former crush returns to the neighborhood, he sets out on a journey to find out more about this thing called love. His quest leads him to very interesting mini adventures & to possibly a love of his own. This is a very cute, sweet & funny short story.
Profile Image for Lil' Grogan.
541 reviews4 followers
May 2, 2011
I feel like one of Joey's charmed victims... brat. The unfolding of who Joey is was done really well, with good pacing in revealing the less charming aspects of his personality along with those that had me rooting for him to find his own romance. Sly bits of humour were also well timed.
Profile Image for Sharene.
71 reviews6 followers
April 20, 2018
Good short story that I would recommend to young people who is starting to experience adulthood. I really give this 3 ½ stars. This is the first time I’m reading anything from this author Jay Bell. He definitely has a different style to his writing. In the beginning, I was trying to figure out the angle and the moral of the story.

The main character Joey was a typical young man who just wanted to hook up to have a little “romance” whenever he wanted to. I love his very supportive Mom. It’s awesome to see when mothers support their children no matter the circumstances……..but can also let them know their faults in a loving way.

In the end…everyone wants to be loved. Once love hits Joey, he went from an immature young boy to a mature young man willing to share is heart sincerely….
Profile Image for book addict .
323 reviews7 followers
July 6, 2021
A very short, feel good and cute story, I really liked it. It was fun and full of life.
Joey is young, out and proud and sexually experienced but he doesn't believe in love. When he meets Philip, his perception shifts and he starts to see things in new light.
This book is a story of how Joey finds love and how he becomes less jaded towards life.
Profile Image for Lena Grey.
1,544 reviews22 followers
April 28, 2011
'Language Lessons' by Jay Bell takes a look at Joey, a 17 year old young man, who hasn't experienced and doesn't understand the necessity of being in love. He flits around, somewhat irresponsibility, dwelling on the superficial things in life, not caring about the consequences. Joey thinks he has it all, but having everything on a temporary basis, eventually catches up with you.

At first, I didn't like Joey at all. I thought he was a conceited, shallow, little ass! He certainly was a master of manipulation. He did, however, redeem himself by reuniting two guys who had deep feelings for each other. This made him take pause and think about his own life. I actually began to feel sorry for him as it began to dawn on him that having someone special in your life might not be such a bad thing.

Phillip was absolutely adorable! I loved his mixture of honesty and innocence and the way he had Joey doubting his 'methods'. I didn't feel too sorry for Joey as he whined:"I don't know what to do!" I really liked Joey's mom. She was very insightful. I was both amazed and amused when he asked her for advice about how it felt to be in love. It was very touching. His friend, Maggie was great at giving him advice too, although I imagined that she was probably busting at the seams trying not to laugh at his predicament which he would have so richly deserved. And, of course, I liked 'the first time' between Joey and Phillip, especially since Joey, for the first time, was more interested in Phillip's needs than his own. Sweet Phillip was so adorably naive about carnal matters and Joey was so infinitely patient with him. When Phillip asked: "Uh, how do we decide which one of us is the girl?” I had to giggle, but was proud of Joey for the way he handled the whole scene.

'Language Lessons' is a brief, but meaningful, story which looks into the trials and tribulations of teenage boys discovering what it means to be in a relationship. It was funny, serious, endearing, frustrating and, best of all, it had a happy ending. For a quick, but entertaining and purposeful read, this story will be just the thing.
Profile Image for Ed.
61 reviews7 followers
October 9, 2014
This is a cute (maybe a little too cute?) short story about a 16 year-old guy who because of his parents' failed marriage does not believe in love. Instead he is really only interested in regularly getting laid. There's nothing necessarily wrong with that especially when you have the raging hormones of 16. That's just who Joey is. When we first meet Joey he is home and sees through his window a guy whom he has longed to snag for at least two years and who has just come home from college. For the next 40 pages we follow his escapades which culminate in his seriously falling for someone much to our protagonist's surprise.

This was a quick, easy, amusing and entertaining story. Earlier this year I read the author's Something Like Summer which I enjoyed a great deal. This work was not quite up to the caliber of the Summer book but considering its brevity it may be a bit unfair to compare the two works. Nonetheless while I did not hesitate to give Something Like Summer, a 4* rating on goodreads, I am going to give this one 3*'s. It was good as far as it went, just not quite good enough to merit a higher rating from me. I do like the author's light and breezy writing style and have two more of his books in my To Read list, including Something Like Winter, the follow-up to the Summer book.
Profile Image for Jim.
13 reviews2 followers
July 13, 2011
I'm not a fan of short stories but I am a fan of the Authors work so I decided to give Language Lessons a go.

As short stories go, it was ok.

Were Introduced to Joey, a confident 17 year old who is only interested in one thing, Sex, well ok, 2 things, Sex and his appearance, but the latter is only a device to help him obtain the former. He hooks up with an old crush and learns of said crush's love for another. Joey architects a meet with the two of them at a restaurant and whilst there, meets Phillip, a cute waiter who seems impervious to Joeys charms. Joey becomes obsessed with having what he can’t have and sets out on mission to make Phillip his, and on this mission discovers that there is more to life than sex and ultimately discovers love to be far more rewarding.

My problem with short stories is, it’s like going out for a meal and only having a dessert. They are nice enough, with a sweet ending, but ultimately unfulfilling and you leave feeling hungry for something else.

Worth a read though if time is limited and you want to pass a quick half hour.
Profile Image for Michael Joseph.
Author 10 books38 followers
March 12, 2012
At just 17, the out and very clothing conscious Joey is already a bit of a player. He enjoys the game of seducing and bedding every cute guy he meets. Love doesn't enter into it. Joey isn't sure he even believes in love. But then a bit of pillow talk with an old crush he's finally conquered has him considering the possibility. Joey's life is further complicated when he encounters Phillip, a dreamy little twink that has Joey doing things he wouldn't ordinarily do, like actually getting to know a guy before he jumps into bed.

Language Lessons is a sweet little short from an author I've already come to like a lot. There's no big drama in the story. It's just a small slice of life. Joey, I'm afraid, is all to familiar. I recognized elements of him from a number of young men I follow on Twitter. I just hope they, like Joey, find their Phillips one day, because otherwise their lives are going to be pretty empty.
Profile Image for Fangtasia.
565 reviews45 followers
January 17, 2012
This short story once again proves why Jay Bell is so good at writing YA M/M.

Joey's behavior reflects what he sees at home. His parents are divorced, Mom is always in search of Mr. Right, but having lots of fun with Mr. Right Now while looking. Joey is always on the prowl for quick, no-strings sex. Sex appeal, self-confidence, he's got it and knows how to use it. Just finished high school, why think of a long-term relationship bliss with so much short-term hook-up happy around? Then Joey's curiosity is piqued by something his most recent conquest says. In the process of playing matchmaker, Joey himself gets hit by Cupid's arrow and that's when we get to see the real depth of the character.

Short, sweet, delicious young romance tidbit. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Ariana  (mostly offline).
1,342 reviews37 followers
May 22, 2016
3,5 stars.
That was such a cute story.
Joey is pretty young, out and proud and sexually experienced.But he doesn't believe in love. Not after what he experienced between his mum and dad who are now divorced. Does a thing like that really exist?
This is about Joey's 'quest' to figure this question out. I liked how the author It was fun to see Joey change his mind along the way, and smile at all the things he is prepared to do for the boy he cares about.
All in all this is a short, angst-free feel-good read, perfect for times when you need something light and sweet in between.
Author 10 books28 followers
October 16, 2011
I really, REALLY wanted to hate Joey from the beginning. Superficial, cocky, and motivated by his libido. Then again, he is a teenaged boy, and for most teenaged boys, that's par for the course. His lack of verbal filter upon meeting Phillip made me want to slap the snot out of him, but I was grateful to see he redeemed himself as his story progressed.

I love the way Mr. Bell tells a story and I'm impressed that even with a short story, he can make me run the gamut with emotions. Looking forward to reading more. :)
Profile Image for Beck.
884 reviews48 followers
July 12, 2012
This book will go straight into my 'Utter Bilge' folder. Joey was a teenager with self-esteem issues camouflaged with snappy clothes. He also had serious cynicism regarding love. Instead of exploring these issues, the author related a shallow tale of hormone-driven sex. Joey and his mother were shallow under-developed characters who were difficult to like. I couldn't stomach finishing the book and I am unable to find anything positive to say about it except that it was free.

Originally posted on Amazon.com
Profile Image for Kendra T.
2,323 reviews31 followers
December 18, 2014
This was an OK read for me. Joey annoyed me a bit, but he was a typical 16 y/o boy. Felt awkward to me as I am not typically a fan of the younger age romance. Phillip was a sweet character, and although everyone deserves redemption, I didn't like Joey for him because he deserved better for his first boyfriend. I guess, however, that is usual for young love. Don't know if I believed Joey would be what Phillip needed.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 180 reviews

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