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Controlled Burn

(Farm College #1)

by
3.92  ·  Rating details ·  421 ratings  ·  148 reviews
At eighteen, Joel Smith’s life fell to pieces. His boyfriend died in a car crash while reading a sext from him, the local newspaper outed them both in the aftermath, and his parents got a divorce. Joel did everything possible to outrun his past: he moved to Oklahoma for college, legally changed his name, and started over.

Since then, he hasn’t let anyone get close—not his
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Kindle Edition, 2nd edition, 254 pages
Published August 24th 2018 by Erin McLellan (first published August 14th 2017)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  421 ratings  ·  148 reviews


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Gigi
This book has some heavy angst but I think it's important for readers to know that I am going through my own personal angst right now. My husband was recently diagnosed with a rare form of cancer so I pretty much cry at the drop of a hat. My definition of angst may be quite different from yours.

4.5 stars



Joel is a 21 year-old man whose emotional growth is stunted. He is still living as a teenager, unable to properly grieve the loss of his high scyours.
4.5
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Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
This book tore me up! Wow, what an emotional punch from debut author Erin McLellan!!

Sometimes you just read a book that works, and this one WORKED for me. It was that intense, emotional ride that I didn't know I wanted but, apparently, sorely needed.

It is a hard-fought romance. It is slow burn, without that element of immediate attraction, which I actually loved. The MCs come together organically and naturally over time, and I couldn't get enough. I just couldn't put it down!

However, that being said, I feel like
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Judith
4.5 Stars.





Paulie was this cute, swishy guy who had claimed me as a class buddy(...)









For a debut book I've got to say this one is pretty impressive and I think it's down to the writing....it has a kind of gritty feel to it.More and more I'm finding that sweet,fluffy,predictable MM books don't do it for me anymore.I find myself craving angst and drama and uncertainty....


Joel and Paulie's story.....

But it was definitely Paulieuncertainty....
Joelclass="gr-hostedUserImg">
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Optimist ♰King's Wench♰
Ever have one of those reading experiences where everything just clicks? When all the words and sentiments expressed feel like a shared secret? That makes you reminisce on those conversations you've had in the middle of the night when it seemed easier to share all those random things that whirl around in your brainpan, so simple yet somehow profound?

That was this read for me.

I started reading the excerpt on Riptide's site just to see if it would suit me and within the first chapter I started to have that feeling. I tried t
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Wendy
FOTO BEWERKEN - makkelijk online je foto's bewerken of aanpassen

Well...this book was definitely more angsty and emotional than I expected. This is a book about loss, but also about love...

Joel (21) has been grieving the death of his boyfriend for 3 years now. He doesn't let anyone close anymore and only has casual hookups. He hasn't really been living...more like surviving I would say.

tumblr_mboxwafoCf1riae2mo1_500_large.gif (500×200)

This is when he meets Paulie...who is
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Ele
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars rounded up because this was a nice debut novel from a very promising new author. Erin McLellan's words are beautiful, albeit unpolished sometimes. There's a rawness to her writing style that's so on point, I found myself totally invested for the most part of the book.

If there's one thing this book gets right, it's grief. You know, when you can't let go because that means moving on without the person who's not here anymore. So you keep latching onto little things, which become BIG
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Simone
Uh-oh, this won't go over well... Where is my baggie???

First of all, as for me I don't write books. I know exactly why, and I respect and admire everyone who takes the plunge and begins to write. That is the reason why it pains me to give a debut novel such a low rating. The author definitely deserves an A for effort, but there were just too many things that did not work for me. This BR with my lovely ladies Karen, Josy, Christelle and Dani should have been the icing on the cake at the end of my vacatibaggie???
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Christelle
The blurb looked good and the reviews are enthusiastic. Alas, this one was a miss for me.

Joel is 21 and grieving his childhood first love, Diego, who died in a car accident at 18. So much that he closed off to everybody and ran away. In his new place, he meets Travis, his roommate and later on, Paulie and the three of them become friends…well as much as Joel lets people be his friends.
But after a while, Joel lets Paulie in his bed. And in his head, which is a real struggle for him a
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Jewel
You can't outrun yourself..

Controlled Burn is about learning that holding onto the past so tightly makes the present and the future meaningless. And it's about guilt. So much guilt.

When Controlled Burn first popped up on my radar, I was drawn to it. The cover and the blurb just called to me. I saw so much potential in the story that I had to read it. And it was good for a debut novel. I do think that this author has seriously good potential, so I will be keeping an eye out for her future b
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*J* Too Many Books Too Little Time
DNF @ 22%

Going to call it quits on this one for now. It just wasn't holding my attention.

I also didn't feel much of a connection to either of the MCs.

I paused it to read another book, but I still don't really feel like picking this one back up.

There's just too many books and too little time to force read anything!
Line
I think I have a legit crush on Paulie and I would give my right arm to know someone like him IRL. This dude... Maaaaan, this dude was just so AMAZING and kind and giving and loving.
Joel, on the other hand was... Wussy? Complicated and his actions, or his inaction as it was, didn't always make complete sense to me.
description
I think this book was quite amazing at times and it read very REAL and authentic, but tha
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Lost in a Book
If I could make it rain with stars, I totally would for this book. It was sooooooo good. I typically approach read-for-review books differently than I do non-review books. I go into the reading experience with the mind frame of making sure I highlight, take notes, stay focused, etc… However, I was captivated by this book from the very beginning and was unable to approach it from any other way than completely immersing myself in the world that was Joel and Paulie.

The synopsis for Controlled Burn is
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CrabbyPatty
I'm stunned to learn that Controlled Burn is Erin McLellan's first novel. I absolutely love McLellan's writing and the way this story unfolds. Joel's first love was his high school boyfriend Diego, but Diego was ashamed of being gay and in small-town Nebraska, they hid their love. As Joel later recalls, "Even as a teenager, I had been locked so securely in the closet with Diego I’d never let my guard down."

After Diego's tragic death, Joel goes to college, keeping people at a distance because he
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Fabi
This is a debut book? Oh boy. Expect some great things from this author.

This book pulled so much emotion out of me. Hot and heartwarming wrapped in a blanket of delicious angst.

I love coming of age stories. Joel and Paulie are 21 and 23 years old. Two typical college boys who form a friendship based on a shared college class.

As they fall for each other and their backgrounds are slowly revealed, we see that 'typical' is only surface deep. These boys have dealt with more/>This
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Alisa
I love finding new authors who's writing works for me and I'm happy to say this one did. When Joel was a teenager he was in love with his best friend Diego. They lived in a small, rural town so they kept their relationship hidden. This all ends when Diego dies in a car accident and his phone is found and all their sexts are released to the public. Joel's entire life crumbles around him and the poor kid is put through hell.

The start of this book catches up to him three years later. He
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Karen
2.5 stars rounded down to 2 because still no 1/2 stars here on GR.

I'll just be over here in my box, with a few of my friends...
description
This was another awesome buddy read with my besties...Josy, Christelle and Simone and made even better when the lovely Dani joined us...sadly this didn't turn out to be an awesome story for any of us...but, hey that's just us. A lot of people who read this book...well, they loved it and I'm not here to say they're wrong because this is yet another case of differing opinions and whiGR.
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Parvathy
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

4.5 Stars!

Controlled Burn is the gut clenching, emotional and heart warming story of Joel who is haunted by his demons and his friend Paulie and how their friendship changes to something profound and life changing for both of them.

What I loved the best about the book is the way the author has characterized both Paulie and Joel. Joel's demons and his past and how he is controlled and haunted by them is evident right from the beginning. I really liked the way Joel and Paulie's relati
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haletostilinski
*** ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review ***

Wow!

I really really loved this one. I actually wasn't expecting much from this because I don't know this author and the summary didn't give enough away for me to be expecting a lot from this. But it was wonderful.

The angst hurts, and how long it takes Joel to get past the death of his high school boyfriend three years prior to the start of this book. It's understandable, but because of that he treated Paulie like shit sometimes, especially with w
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Jaime

"Maybe the degree of separation between euphoria and heartbreak was miniscule".


Controlled burns are used to stimulate a fresh start

The symbolism of the title is highly appropriate for this story of learning to live again when your life has been drastically changed.

Controlled Burn is the first book I have read by this author and I will be on the lookout for more from her in the future. This book follows two MCs who are college age, both who have had trauma in their past, both doing the best they can. Their pairing is one you woulchanged.
Controlled
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Annery
I won't recap what goes on in this book because the blurb is pretty accurate and others have done a better job at summarizing so I'll just say that this was a punch to the gut and later a nice cup of tea to soothe the pain. I loved it.

This is mainly Joel's story, but how could I not fall for Paulie. He's a man after my own heart:

"'I'm okay,' I told Paulie. He shrugged, settled into his seat beside me, and arranged a pile of sticky notes and different-colored highlighters."


I have all th/>
...more
Debra
Originally reviewed at Sinfully.

What a wonderful debut from Erin McLellan. Centering around 21 year old Joel and 23 year old Paulie, both juniors at college who have so much more in common than just winding up in the same class. Like any good New Adult story should be, it’s romantic and heartbreaking and has its fair share of angst and sex.

Joel is wracked with guilt over the death and subsequent outing of his first love Diego three years ago and he can’t break free from his memory and the loyalty he still feels to h
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Elsbeth

*2,5 stars*

This book.... For me this book had the potential of being great. But sadly it wasn't

description

I do love angsty emotional books but dammmmn being in Joel's head was too much. Maybe it was the first-person-writing, the continuing POV of Joel. There was no escaping from it. No light. I don't like feeling like that. The story may have needed Paulie's POV. I thought he was awesome. The light in Joel's life.....

Thank heavens Joel got to his senses at the end. The lucky SOB. Honestly, he drove me mad.


*2,5 stars*

This book.... For me this book had the potential of being great. But sadly it wasn't

description

I do love angsty emotional books but dammmmn being in Joel's head was too much. Maybe it was the first-person-writing, the continuing POV of Joel. There was no escaping from it. No light. I don't like feeling like that. The story may have needed Paulie's POV. I thought he was awesome. The light in Joel's life.....

Thank heavens Joel got to his senses at the end. The lucky SOB. Honestly, he drove me mad.

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Rosalinda *KRASNORADA*

This is going to be weird...

When I read the blurb I could not understand all those good reviews because the blurb bored the hell out of me... I am so glad I ignored myself and read the book anyway.

I'd say I enjoyed this so much because it felt real. Do you know when you read a book and all those characters are super perfect or they are perfectly broken and made just to please the readers? This is not one of those books, characters felt real which is something I appreciate
...more
Katerina
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
And maybe that was the crux of love—holding the broken pieces together so the other person could feel whole again.



A beautiful book.

Josy
The best thing about this book was that I got to read it with my awesome BR ladies Karen, Simone, Christelle, and Dani. Without them, I would have DNFed it and I hate to do that.

Again, I am the lazy one and point you to the reviews of my amazing ladies because they all share the box of shame with me and have already explained why this didn't work for us.

Karen's review
The best thing about this book was that I got to read it with my awesome BR ladies Karen, Simone, Christelle, and Dani. Without them, I would have DNFed it and I hate to do that.

Again, I am the lazy one and point you to the reviews of my amazing ladies because they all share the box of shame with me and have already explained why this didn't work for us.

Karen's review
Christelle's review
Simonw's review
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Melissa
I was provided an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I just have to say WOW, this was an amazing debut novel for Erin McLellan. I love the cover (it's so perfect!) and the title makes sense now that I've read the entire story. I just loved these guys! The whole time I read this I felt all warm and squishy, LOL. Joel and Paulie are great together. There is no insta-love here, so don't worry. They start off as casual friends (Paulie basically dumfound
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Emily Seelye
Aug 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, m-m
Joel’s high school boyfriend died in a car accident after making the choice to read a text message he’d sent while driving. Unfortunately, he and Diego were outed. He’s been living with shame and guilt ever since, and hasn’t been able to properly grieve.

In the aftermath, he’s changed his name and moved to another state. While sitting in his Ethics in Journalism class, he’s confronted with his past all over when his professor unknowingly chooses to highlight his case in class.

Paulie
...more
Steph ☀️
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved! Loved! Loved this! 💗💗💗

***4.75 stars***

So if you couldn’t guess I loved this angsty book. Seriously at the end, even though I could understand where Paulie was coming from, I had to take a moment. Seriously my heart felt it was being ripped out just like Joel’s.

Here’s to hoping the author gives us a bit of an update on this couple in the next book 💜.
Kazza
3.5 Stars

This book is too long for what it is, a contemporary New Adult romance. Too much teenage-style angst. They are in their early twenties but it is nevertheless teenage angst.

“Was that okay?” he asked.
It should have been. It had been hot as hell. I had come so hard I could hardly move. But now, in the aftermath, I wasn’t sure. So I didn’t try to answer. Instead, I said, “You’re really sensitive.” Color rushed up his cheeks, and I was disgusted with myself. Why couldn’t I just ease h
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BR Karen, Josy, Simone, Dani and Christelle 449 12 Aug 28, 2017 09:26AM  

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Erin McLellan is the author of several contemporary romances, all of which have characters who are complex, goodhearted, and a little quirky. She likes her stories to have a sexy spark and a happily ever after. Originally from Oklahoma, she currently lives in Alaska and spends her time dreaming up love stories set in the Great Plains. She is a lover of chocolate, college sports, antiquing, Dr Pepp ...more

Other books in the series

Farm College (2 books)
  • Clean Break (Farm College, #2)
“Maybe love was just an illusion anyway, like jigsaw puzzles that looked like a picture or a painting from a distance. But the closer you got, the more visible the cracks. Wasn’t until you shined a light on it that the illusion fell apart.” 0 likes
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