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Social Skills

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  3,138 ratings  ·  349 reviews
Music is the only form of communication Connor Owens controls. No matter how badly he wishes to fit in, friendly banter and casual conversations have never been his thing. College is yet another social universe he has no clue how to navigateuntil he meets Jared, a football player with chestnut eyes and a cocky grin that holds the power to shatter his self-imposed prison.

Paperback, 357 pages
Published January 23rd 2013 (first published January 22nd 2013)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,138 ratings  ·  349 reviews

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Jan 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Susan by: Dani Alexander

3.5+ starsreally enjoyable

Oh Connordear sweet Connor. I have invited you into my House of the Huggables to live with Ryan from the ICoS series and Parker from "American Love Songs". I will love and spoil and take care of the three of you and lavish many hugsnot in the dirty, perverted, older woman waybut more in the I-heart-you-like-a-teddy-bear-way (ummmmaybe no less creepy)

I heart Connor. Painfully shy and lonelyuncertain, with barely a sliver of self-esteemexcept when he gets lost in the
Dani Alexander
Feb 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: favorites
Let me preface this review by saying this is a friend of mine. Let me also add that I became friends with this author because of this story. My love for it sparked an email exchange and that grew into friendship.

That said, I love this story. This is a slow moving story. A quiet one with subtle bits of brilliance in every paragraph. It is a true romance and a coming of age story about Connor, a shy violinist who has low self esteem and falls in love with someone who has self-esteem issues of his
Mar 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gay-fiction, ya
This is a wonderful story of coming out, first-time love , first-love heartbreak and basically many firsts all happening at once.

Connor is in his first year at UVA, but the only thing he really feels safe with is his music and his violin. Painfully shy and socially awkward he finds solace in his music where he can run from the demands put on him by having to socialise at college. He is effectively a bit of a loner, a very sweet one admittedly, however playing in an orchestra is a social thing so
I was bored to tears with this.

Sorry but not sorry, I couldn't enjoy this. Boredom, pure boredom. Dull and empty. Tedious and uninteresting. I'm not even mad! I need to feel the MCs' lives are exciting in all their mediocrity. But I couldn't connect with them in any form. I couldn't understand why they fall in love with each other. They are totally forgettable because they didn't start any emotion. The story is just blah. I have to think really hard to find something I liked, but I just don't
I knew I was in trouble with this book about the time I started feeling really protective of Connor like he was my little brother. Connor suffers from social anxiety and he's really introverted. The only time he really feels in control is when he is playing his violin. And he is good. Really good.

Getting to college is supposed to offer young adults freedom, but for Connor, it was just a larger form of high school. Until, that is, he is befriended by his stand mate from orchestra and he gets
T.A. Webb
Feb 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
More to follow...

...but this was me in my freshman year in college. I had a little more people skills than Connor, but as I read this charming, insightful book, my heart ached for the boy I was.

Watching him grow throughout the book was so familiar.

Sometimes, a book just hits that note that rings through your whole body, and this was one of those books for me. It won't be everyone's favorite, but it is mine.

Mar 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A lovely addition to the Jock/Geek stories that Ive been reading and thoroughly enjoying recently. I think this is definitely my favourite up to now. A lot of these J/G stories can be carbon copies of each other so its what an author does with the bits in between that either makes it run of the mill or a cut above the rest and Sara Alva makes this special by plumping it out with believable characters, great background plots and two MC's who grabbed this readers heart from the word go.

To be
Jan 22, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ami by: Dani Alexander
Two days after I finished, I realized I haven't written my full thoughts on it *lol*. Okay, Never read the free version -- so I don't know how different this is or whether it has been significantly reedited and revamped. This rating is for the published edition.

This is quite a long one ... and at times, I feel that the book is dragging. While most of the times, I feel for Connor and his struggle over his shyness, to be better at his social skills, but other times I get frustrated with his
☆ Todd
Feb 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I really loved how the characters interacted. Connor learning through Jared that he can overcome his fears. and self-imposed exile. Jared learning through Connor that his love for Connor is more important than what anyone else might think.

It was nice to see how each character ended up unselfishly giving just as much as they took from the other, leaving both of them much more confident and happier than they ever were without one another.

A crazy (ex?) girlfriend and complete asshole parents
Apr 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A wonderful story full of real people and real situations.

Connor really captured my heart. Maybe because I can fully understand his shyness and always being on the edge of the crowd. One of the earlier scenes where Connor tried to mix and quickly found himself alone again sealed my love for him.

Jared I had less love for. I understand he was scared, and totally out of his element but I still found his reactions selfish and hurtful. Right from the beginning he treated Connor as someone he was
Kaje Harper
Apr 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m, ya, favorites
This is a slow-building, sometimes-emotional story of a shy, socially-inhibited gay young man in his first year of college. I really enjoyed it, sometimes despite an ache of fellow-feeling in my chest. Because I was Connor at that age, only worse (albeit neither male nor gay). I could sympathize with the moments of pain and frustration in trying to figure out how the hell other human beings ever knew how to have normal social interactions.

Connor's problems are compounded by falling in love with
Mandy*reads obsessively*
I bought the published version and at $2.99 for about 95000 words it is definitely a great buy.
But I am also a little torn on how I feel about this story. I think it's because I feel so protective and care so much about Connor, that I want the absolute best for him, and I'm just not sure if this is it...

Connor is painfully shy and has quite a bit of social anxiety, and it felt painful to me just reading about it, I can't even imagine what he was going through.
Now, his parents continue to harp
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mm, contemporary
How the hell is this not on my shelves? I might believe you if you told me I didn't review it, cuz reasons, but I refuse to believe I didn't at least shelve it as read. WTF.
Mar 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing

After reading this book, I really don't understand why it hasn't received higher ratings, because I simply LOVED it!!

And this is how my experience went...

The beginning...

The middle...

My feels to certain characters...

The end...


So, there you have it mates...I loved this and yes I would recommend it xx

An awesome pressie from my amazing and beautiful friend, Ingela
Jeff Erno
Social Skills is the story of Connor, a college freshman who wages a constant battle against social anxiety. His shyness and introversion, added to his diminutive stature and average looks, contribute to an extremely low self-esteem. Connor is also gay. When he begins tutoring Jared, a member of the school's football team, his same-sex attractions surface and a romance blossoms. Jared becomes Connor's security blanket, initially helping him overcome some of his anxiety but ultimately leading to ...more
Mar 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Self-discovery. Shedding insecurities. Everyman's expectations.

Revealing yourself, finding your voice, and discovering your path is not always easy. It is near impossible when you are not only afraid of what youll find, but terrified to begin the search.


Freshman college student Connor, an introverted musician who's petrified of rejection is locked in a prison of his own skin. Walking a straight line in life, he succumbs to the pressure of his overbearing parents and has never been
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Read February 11 -14 2013 Five stars
Listened to audio book November 7, 2016 - November 15, 2016 Five Stars. The narration is excellent!
This is a lovely story. It is a familiar theme, shy non athletic young man and the more outgoing jock. The similarity ends there. It becomes more and unfolds beautifully.

Connor is an intelligent, gifted violinist, shy to the extreme. He does not make friends easily. He meets Jared while tutoring for the athletics department. Jared is not exactly the stereotype
Mare SLiTsReaD Reviews
Sep 13, 2013 rated it really liked it

This is a tale of coming out, coming out of your shell and coming out to the world to be the REAL you.

A slow build on love, on 1st love, on heartbreak, on joy, on pain, on friendship, on self reflection, on family.

Once again Sara Alva spun me in a web of words, of emotions, of FEELINGS.


Feelings of sweetness:


Finally Jared brushed his lips- more the touch of breath than body. Ticklish waves passed through Conners mouth and hummed all
 photo reviewing_audiobooks_icon_zpsfdtqfy0w.jpg

Nice 4 star coming out/opposites attract YA story featuring painfully shy, socially awkward and introverted violinist Connor who tutors the ubiquitous 'jock in the closet' Jared. Jared was something of a conundrum; confident and found it easy to make friends but obviously completely confused about his feelings for Connor and what that said about his own sexuality...which sometimes meant that he made bad decisions.

Unfortunately there were also several moments when I wanted to smack Jared hard


American school caste systems are beyond me and (from what I've read of them) I find them, to say the very least, fairly ridiculous; that, plus my aversion to the nerd low self-esteem, jock lordly character trope may not have rendered me the best reader of this book.

Notwithstanding, among the books I have read that make use of this plot, this one does well for itself and has more to offer.
Oct 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m, erotica, ya, musicians
I know that this story is not new, college gay boy meets college football player in the closet... but I still love this book!

Connor is so shy, so lonely and so sweet, that I wanted to enter inside the book and hug him, comfort him and tell him that he was not alone! Fortunately Rebecca did that job pretty good! The music that he plays with his violin is beautiful...

 photo the-violin-man-peter-black_zpsa5f75e3b.jpg

And then he meets Jared, beautiful football player in the closet! I must say that Jared also hurt me when he hurted Connor, but
This was not for me, since unfortunately I really, really disliked Jared throughout the book. I just kept wishing the story was actually about Connor getting out of his shell and living a promiscuous campus life, instead of getting stuck with Jared the asshole. (view spoiler) ...more
Eli Easton
Mar 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wow, I adored this. I'm so impressed with this book. Good writing and very deep characters who grew and changed during the course of the story. The romance was sweet, but I'm especially impressed at Connor and Jared's coming out stories. So often in these kinds of books the hard stuff about coming out is glossed over or left off the page. Jared's coming out was particularly realistic and painful but never angst for the sake of it, and the ending was lovely.

I've a Sara Alva convert--can't wait to
Nov 11, 2018 rated it liked it
2 1/2 stars

This was okay and it had all the elements expected in this kind of story:

The ubershy closeted nerd
The uberhot closeted jock with a fake girlfriend
The jock friends of the closeted jock, some who are homophobic and some who seem homophobic but are simply not knowledgeable enough about gay people and turn out to be nice
The really cool friends of the closeted nerd
The big reveal and coming out

Unfortunately, aside from ticking off all the elements, I didnt really like the main character. I

(originally reviewed 5/5/13; updated 1/19/15)

The title is really apt in this sweet, gently-moving, coming-of-age story. Connor is a freshman in college and feeling the strain of being a painfully shy and socially awkward kind of guy. He needs some social skills, and fast. He longs for friends yet finds it difficult to connect with his fellow students, hes tongue-tied and unsure. One thing Connor is sure of...he loves music. He can communicate through his violin and playing it soothes his inner
Jan 23, 2013 rated it liked it
It happens more and more to me...I don't know how to rate the book.

Why? Because on one hand Connor is so adorable shy and socially challenged that I want to be his friend and take him out and show him the world (and I want to bitchslap his controling mother). And he has great friends who exactly do this, I especially like Tate. So - yes, this is great and it's good to read.

But? Jared....I disliked him through nearly the whole book. I know from the beginning that he was hiding everything that
Don Bradshaw
Reviewed on Hearts On Fire...

Connor is shy, gifted violinist stuck with an over bearing mother and a spineless father. Social interaction doesn't come easily to Connor and college is really throwing him for a loop. Classes are a breeze but now he is forced to interact with people. Rebecca is his partner in orchestra and begins on a quest to break Connor out of his shell. In the mean time, Connor meets Jared who just may hold the key to Connor's prison. The
Apr 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio_owned
I love this book. I think I've read it a handful of times now. Its a super sweet story. Conner is an Orchestra Violin Player who is super shy, geeky and awkward when it comes to talking to people and having friends. Jared is a football player who needs Conner's help being tutored at school. Their "relationship" forms, and Jared is able to help Connor overcome some of his fears of communicating with others, and helps Connor "Spread his Wings". Sometimes Jared really makes me angry with the way he ...more
Anyta Sunday

Social Skills is a wonderful story (I was lucky enough to be a beta reader for this). Conner struggles to identify himself in Social circles, and it's something I think many of us can relate to, even if only in part.

I really like how much Ms. Alva show Connor's insecurities but also his desires--both in terms of Jared, but also with how he slowly gets more confident being around others.

Nice read, and I love the musical element to it.

One thing though, I don't remember it being as long as it
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Sara Alva is a former small-town girl currently living in big-city LA with a husband, two cats, and an avocado tree. She recently discovered after a year in her house that she also has a fig tree in her backyard, which might mean she needs to get out more. But sometimes the stories waiting to be told demand more attention, and when she puts fingers to keyboard, its usually to write about journeys ...more

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“Connor: They don’t even know, do they? You make things up to keep your dirty little secret hidden.
Jared gritted his teeth: Are you about to give me some sort of ultimatum? Because let me tell you, I’m not into being bossed around.”
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