Review: Burnouts, Geeks and Jesus Freaks by Karen Gordon

Amazon | Goodreads

Synopsis:

They’re burnouts – a little short on parents, money and plans for the future, but they’ve got each other and a whole lot of fun. With a world of crazy at home, Carrie Gould needs them to keep her sanity. To stay in their world she needs to keep dating the guy with the party house, which would be fine, if she hadn’t fallen in love with someone else. 
He’s such a geek. Ben Gorman is obsessive, smart, strong-willed and on the fast track to his dream of becoming an Army Ranger. He’s also the only geek with a girl. Joelle Welker is perfect for him; a self-proclaimed Jesus freak, who is dedicated to her beliefs and to building a future with Ben. But those plans don’t include his neighbour, Carrie, or Ben’s dedication to her. 
Their friendship started by chance. Their love started with trust. 

 

What Rhea Thought:

Burnouts, Geeks and Jesus Freaks is a unique novel. In a good way. It takes you back to the 90s, the age of Nintendo’s and teenagers hiding while drinking. Kind of a nostalgic read. So without further ado, here we go:

 

The Burnout:

Carrie Gould. She’s honestly one of the most relatable characters I’ve ever read. So well written and I can say that I feel like I know Carrie. And if you read her, you’ll see that you’ve met many Carries’ in your life too. She’s written as one of those people who are hidden and behind the scenes but I suppose that’s the way she wants to be. She’s had a neglected childhood with a mother for whom she’ll never be perfect and a father who doesn’t give a shit—so it’s no wonder she likes to stay invisible. And she is awkward and scared and nervous and easily influenced. Many YA books often show their lead characters as perfect and/or incapable of making mistakes. I like the fact that Miss Gordon has shown Carrie’s flaws. This teenager makes mistakes. And she learns.

 

The Geek:

Ben Gorman is the ideal geek. He’s the type of guy I’d see obsessing over The Big Bang Theory and actually understanding Sheldon’s references if the story was based in this decade. He’s sweet, loyal, maybe a tad bit overprotective and he’s had responsibilities thrust upon his shoulders at an early age. One would expect a person like this to snap under the pressure but it’s the maturity that Ben has and his military approach to life that keeps him sane. And his love for Carrie of course. There was a point in the book where I did dislike him, though. When he leaves to join the military, he writes a letter to Carrie to date other people. *throws hands up in the air* That’s not the way it’s done, Benno. We don’t let people we love date other people. We fight for them. We ask them to hold on. And we never, ever tell them to date behind our backs. Hmph.

 

The Jesus Freak:

There’s not much to say about Joelle. She’s a scary church goer and wishes her then boyfriend Ben to convert. He refuses. She tries to destroy his lifelong friendship with Carrie. She fails. She’s out.

I would like to see a little more of Joelle, though—maybe in the sequel. She’s selfish but I also felt sorry for her when Ben gave her a promise ring and soon after dumped her sorry ass. Which brings me to one more point about Ben that I didn’t like: He dumped Joelle simply because he had to. He was almost searching for reasons to get rid of her.  Not fair.

Supporting characters included Steve, MG, Chuck and a few other friends that were on the fringes. Their angles are hopefully the ones that will be explored in the next book of the series.

The end of the book felt a bit rushed and there was an entire string of events starting from Nick and ending at his death that I did not appreciate. Carrie married because she was pregnant and her husband died when he wanted to mend his relationship with her. On Ben’s return after so many years, he was proposing to Carrie in just a week. That didn’t work for me. Maybe his deployment could have been held off until the next book and Nick’s character could have been explored in a little more depth. Nonetheless, I was glad to see ben back with Carrie.  The ending ended up being a cliffhanger which has left me intrigued and very, very curious about the Steve-MG angle.

 

Final Verdict:   A sweet love story with its own ups and downs but a well-deserved HEA. ★★★ 

 

About the Author:

Karen Gordon was born and raised in the suburban paradise of St. Charles, MO, on the outskirts of St. Louis. She earned a B.S. in English from the University of Central Missouri (BS being the operative term) and a M.A. in Media Communications from Webster University, where she graduated in a hot pink mortar board because she didn’t like the school colors.
She currently resides in Olive Branch, MS (formerly Cow Pen) on the outskirts of Memphis, TN with her 2.5 super-smart kids, and an amazingly-funny, cute, geeky husband.
When not writing, she is a stay-at-home mom (chick in charge) and part-time teacher. Any down time is spent reading, catching up with friends and obsessively worrying about every little thing.

 

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*I was provided a free ecopy of this book in exchange of an honest review*

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