LGBT Book Review – “Social Skills”

Social Skills

I’ve been trying to read more of my genre lately, so I downloaded a lot of sample chapters on my Kindle. One of them was for the novel “Social Skills” by Sara Alva. I was intrigued that so many reviewers on Amazon and GoodReads kept saying that this was basically a really good version of a “Nerd\Jock Romance.” That so many reviewers harped on this made me believe I wasn’t going to get past the first few pages. Predominately because I wasn’t interested in reading another one of those books. Fortunately, while I would say the main lovers in Social Skills are informed by those stereotypes, neither totally adhere to them.

Connor has nerd qualities, in that he is smart and socially awkward, but his social anxiety isn’t simply a result of being a nerd. It stems from a lot of things. He is also a college freshman, who is short (and insecure about it), closeted, and living in non-freshman dorm. Even the best of us would be/were awkward at that age given that set of circumstances. As for Jared, he is barely a jock. He’s just a conventionally attractive guy who plays sports. Sure he’s on the football team, but he’s not scoring winning touchdowns, he’s warming the bench.

What Sara Alva has managed to do beautifully is write characters who feel much more real than the stereotypes mentioned in the reviews. Perhaps  this is why the book is lauded as being a really excellent version of a Nerd/Jock Romance. I would say it is a romance that takes place in college. Sara Alva’s ability to write about college was actually the reason I bought the book. Unlike so many novels, which pretend college is just a harder version of high school, I felt like Sara really represented the college experience in a realistic way.  I adored that the students complained about the distance and time it took to see one another, because I had the same complaints when I was in college. My college friends and I laugh that we ever thought a 15 minute walk across campus was a burden, now that we travel several hours and hundreds of miles to see one another.

There is a lot more about college she gets right, but I won’t bore you with further examples. The novel is a short and enjoyable read. I encourage you to pick it up, and see for yourself. I think Sara Alva is definitely an author to watch for in the future.

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