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Defensive Play (A Boys on the Brink Novella)
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Defensive Play

(Boys on the Brink)

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  74 ratings  ·  29 reviews
One glance is all it takes to bring his defences crashing down…

Seventeen-year-old Davey has never made friends easily. Shy, geeky, crippled with social anxiety, he feels isolated from his peers, and only his position as defender for the school football team fills the void of loneliness. On the pitch, his deft footwork has earned him the respect and acceptance of his squad,
Published November 30th 2018 by Beaten Track Publishing
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Average rating 4.31  · 
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☆ Todd
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it

This short, 80'ish page, YA story was pretty damn adorably cute.

The story began with 17 y.o. footballer Davey locking eyes with a handsome opponent from their rival team, and he found it nearly impossible to look away, but he wasn't the only one.

They later ended up talking, briefly, before Davey hiked up his skirt-tails and ran away, without leaving so much as a glass slipper for young Adam to hold onto.

Although Davey wasn't the most comfortable teen in social situations, I'm not sure if I'd go
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Davey is insecure about his sexuality. He is on the football team but not close with any of the guys. He sees Adam, a player on another team and likes what he see. He’s caught staring at him and struggles to deal with his feelings.

Adam is out and proud. He likes Davey but knows he’s in the closet. It doesn’t put Adam off but Davey needs to work out what he wants.

Defensive play is the first gay romance I’ve read that dealt with the insecurities of not being accepted. Davey never felt like he fi
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review
Thank you Jamie Deacon! I really loved this one!

5 sweet 'get out there and own it!' stars

A short sweet read with deep emotional impact that I simply couldn't set down! This is my first book by Jamie Deacon and will certainly not be the last!

To all of you who have ever felt the need to hide away, afraid of revealing the person you are inside, this one's for you.

True to the dedication the author sets at the beginning of his novell
A.M. Leibowitz
This is a story short enough to be read in a single sitting. While I wouldn’t call it pure fluff, it isn’t full of a lot of angst and drama, either. It’s really just two boys who find their way to each other and to a happy ending.

Much has been made recently of a couple of mainstream young adult gay romances, and it is good to see queer YA getting its due. Sadly, a lot of them still rely on “othering” LGBTQ kids around their coming out. This story is free from any of that.

Davey does experience so
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a super quick, super cute read.

Things I'm a sucker for in books
- sports. Check!
- being set in England. Check!
- cuties who don't act like dicks all the time. Check!

This follows Davey, an anxious sixth former who plays in his school's football team, who locks eyes with Adam, star of the rival team.

Defensive Play is a novella, under 100 pages, but I felt like we got to know the characters well and saw their relationship blossom. Even secondary characters like their respective families and
Molly Ringle
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtq
A totally sweet, moving novella from Deacon, whose work I have consistently loved so far. Plus an England setting: always welcome to me!
Merissa (Archaeolibrarian)
Defensive Play is the first book by this author I have read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Davey knows he is gay, but he hasn't told anyone. He is a geek who has managed to earn the respect of his football team, and he is worried if he comes out, he will lose that. He thinks he has it all under control, until Adam shows up. With one glance, Davey starts to become unraveled.

This was a sweet story, with some angst in tune with the story. Mostly, it is about Davey and how he feels, what he will do,
Brooke Banks
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was super cute!! Very fun, sweet and emotional novella. Highly recommendable for a quick m/m story about first love.

>>There's no forced or vindictive outing.
>>No love triangles or other extra drama
>>Davy is someone on the periphery of social circles with anxiety and nervous about getting negative focus on him from homophobic teammates. I like stories having teens like this- not the popular ones, not the targets or isolated loners-just run of the mill kids that are average and overlooked. I
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a cute, short YA book with some adorable characters and just the tiniest bit of needed angst to make the book a well-rounded story.

17yo Davey plays football (soccer for us Americans. Lol) and has a bit of social anxiety, which for me didn’t seem to be as bad as I thought it would – by that, I mean most teenagers seem to have some sort of anxiety at one point or another. Dave’s was just a tad over “normal” but I think that his fear of coming out just added to that, making it seem worse.
Jennifer Oliveira
*ARC received through the author*

Davey is afraid that coming out will burst the little bubble he imagines exists around himself and his life. Sure, he isn't the most popular guy. He's geeky, quiet and filled with anxiety. But he's also on the football team, and he's earned the respect of his teammates. He doesn't want to lose that... Then Davey meets Adam. He doesn't want to lose him either.

This was a lovely read. A quick one, as well. It took me half a day to get to know Davey and Adam, and I
This is an irresistible short work depicting two futballers who play for rival teams, one who is out and lonely, and one who is deep in his closet and lonelier. They are at different stages of their identities, which isn't a problem until the closeted Davey turns all Peter-in-the-Garden-of-Gesthsemane on the out Adam, denying his boyfriend to his homophobic teammate at the grocery. Davey and Adam are naturals together, and the growth of each is realistic (well, except for one perfect pre-game ki ...more
A. Zukowski
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those little British gems that stands out from the standard YA fare. I love the way it is told from a first-person perspective and the incredible journey of the nervous, closeted teenage protagonist Davey, which the author manages to pack in a short novella. I won't spoil the plot but what a triumph!
Annie Woods
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Defensive Play is my first Jamie Deacon-book but certainly not my last! This novella drew me in from the very first sentence and kept me in a feverish grip the whole way through. Now I can’t wait to discover more of Jamie Deacon’s LGBTQ+ fiction for young adults!

“One glance is all it takes to bring his defences crashing down…”

Defensive Play is a very quick read, something to be read in a single sitting. It’s a novella only about 80 pages or so, but oh my how Jamie Deacon manages to tell a wh
Lisa Reynolds
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Defensive Play (Boys on the Brink) (2018) By Jamie Deacon is an incredible novella following the budding romance of two secondary school footballers whose eyes meet across a pitch and there’s no going back.

The protagonist of this book is Davey who is seventeen, socially-awkward, introverted, a nerd and a defender with the school football team. He sees Adam who is playing for the opposite team as a striker but things turn awkward when Davey accidentally goes in for tackle on Adam and gets sent of
Apr 15, 2019 rated it liked it
This is an Inspirational and hopeful story of a young boy Davey, who suffers from social anxiety and no one knows that he is gay.

This isn't about just a coming out story, the fact that he unable to share anything with anyone because of his too much self consciousness and nervousness can't make friends nor talk freely with anyone except his family. Where everyday is struggle to get along everyone. But at least with the help he got into football team and he is faster than anyone and that is the o
Anne Barwell
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, m-m, ebook
I was pulled into this story immediately and sat up late reading it in one sitting. I thought the author did a great job in showing Davey’s inner struggle to be true to himself while feeling like a social outcast, and managing his panic attacks. At several times through I story I wanted to be able to tell him that his football skills weren’t the only reason his team valued and respected him. I thought telling the story in 1st person from Davey’s point of view reflected his nervousness, with the ...more
Sarah Fairbairn
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Davey is still trying to hide his sexually and Adam is out and owning it. Their eyes meet across the footy pitch and right from the start there is chemistry between them.

Adam invites Davey around to his place where they bond over football, video games and their love of Doctor Who. Yes, that's right, both boys are Whovians! I loved that little touch.

Davey's favourite doctor is Matt Smith and Adam's is David Tennant, but they move past this for a steamy yet sweet first make out session.

Davey holds
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
ARC received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I loved this sweet story! As it’s a novella we get straight into the heart of the story. My heart absolutely went out to Davey. It’s hard enough being a teenager without having to deal with social anxiety and insufferable idiots.

Adam is such a wonderful character. I love how patient he was with Davey but even the most patient people have their limits. Their difficult situation put such a lump in my throat. But by the last chapter I
Tracy~Bayou Book Junkie
4 Stars

This was a sweet story of two young high school students, both stars of their respective school football teams. Adam is popular, and out and proud, while Davey is quieter, nerdier and closeted. I loved these two young men, they were so sweet, both individually and together as a couple. Although the story takes place over a rather short period of time, the romance felt natural and unhurried.

The story is well-written and it flowed well. I absolutely LOVED Davey’s coming out and although n
Lauren - SERIESous Books
**I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest voluntary review. All opinions are my own and not influenced by my source.**

I always worry when I pick up a novella that things will seemed rushed or underdeveloped; but I'm happy to say that wasn't the case here. This was a quick read but one that packs a lot of punch and love. It tackles a lot and it does it well.

And it is also so genuine! I could easily see this story happening in real life and I think that's part of t
Apr 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this novella. It was easy to identify with Davey and his social anxiety. Jamie Deacon gives us a glimpse of the lives of his teenagers, their attitudes and fears, without being patronising. It addresses important issues in a natural way, which makes it a much needed addition to work suitable for Young Adults.
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Defensive Play (Boys on the Brink Book 105)

Very short, very sweet story. A slice of life, coming out moment. No big angst, just a wish to be who they are, together ^^

Keep reading 📖
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My heart swells. Absolutely, adoring book. Wish it was longer though but it cut to the chase. If it was longer I’m sure there might have been unnecessary added parts to the story. So in a way I’m glad this was under a hundred pages.
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An absolutely adorable short story. It took me far longer than it should to realize this was a British story, so football meant soccer, and I would have loved to have a bit more of the story after the 'big reveal,' even a short epilogue that took place in the summer would have been great.
Matt Miller
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: john
Very cute little story about a shy, anxious boy who struggles to overcome his fears and find happiness.
Riina Y.T.
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Cute! :)
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a really cute coming out story with two sweet teenage boys. Davey and Adam were really good for each other. Adam helping calm Davey’s Anxiety and Davey help show Adam that not every guy will be a douche to him.

Davey was a great character and his anxiety was so much a part of what made him a character that really drew me in. Minus the school bit, I felt connected to Davey because I have the same thought pattern at times and it is hard to snap yourself the negative.

Adam was a beautiful so
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you’ve followed my blog, reviews, or reading preferences in the last couple of years you’ll have noticed I’ve fallen in love with M/M romance novels. When I read the blurb for Defensive Play I sent out my little grabby hands.

Defensive Play is about football (American soccer) player named Davey. Davey is shy and quiet and struggled to make friends before he started playing on the football team. Now he struggles with keeping his secret quiet wondering if his teammates would want to play with
Kate Kid
Dec 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Defensive Play is a cute romance between two teenage boys on rival teams, who met on the field during a football game. It is a cute and short story that was filled with emotions, highs and lows, and a bunch of moments where you had to hold back an audible "awe".

I loved the characters and thought that their interactions with one another were charming and pretty realistic. Adam would have to be my favorite character in the story. I loved his enthusiasm, his infectious smile, and the support that
Liam Perella
rated it really liked it
Dec 27, 2019
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Born in 1982, Jamie Deacon lives close to the River Thames in Berkshire, England, and is a full-time author of young adult fiction featuring characters across the gender and sexuality spectrums. When not writing, Jamie loves to read, play board games, and solve cryptic crosswords.

Jamie’s debut novel, Caught Inside, was published in 2016 to much acclaim, including two Rainbow Awards. It was also no

Other books in the series

Boys on the Brink (1 books)
  • Caught Inside (Boys on the Brink #1)

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