Butterflies In the End Zone by Jacob Gelman

Butterflies In the End Zone is the debut book from Jacob Gelman about young love overcoming adversity. Jamie and Alex start an unlikely friendship that blossoms into love. But their dreams of being together face possible discrimination and censure from the town and Alex's family.

From the blurb:

Introducing "Butterflies In The End Zone" - an emotionally charged YA romance novel that explores the power of friendship, self-discovery, and the resilience of love. Join Alex, the popular quarterback of Scalia High's football team, as he navigates the complexities of his seemingly perfect life. Despite his stellar grades and an enviable social circle, he finds himself inexplicably drawn to Jamie, the new kid from the Bay Area. Jamie, a closeted Jewish student, never expected the attention of someone like Alex, especially in the midst of his own struggles after moving to Jacksonville. With dreams of getting into his dream college, all he wanted was a quiet senior year.

"Butterflies In The End Zone" delves into the extraordinary bond that develops between these two unlikely friends in an environment that encourages division. As they grow closer, their friendship transforms into something deeper, leaving them both vulnerable and scared. Together, they face the challenges of living in a homophobic community, wondering if their love can withstand the pressures surrounding them. This compelling novel tackles themes of acceptance, identity, and the courage to love fearlessly. Author Jacob Gelman expertly weaves a heartfelt narrative that will keep you captivated from start to finish. Experience the rollercoaster of emotions as Alex and Jamie defy societal expectations and strive to be true to themselves.

"Butterflies In The End Zone" is a must-read for fans of LGBTQ+ romance, ownvoices storytelling, and coming-of-age tales. Get ready to be swept away by a powerful narrative that challenges prejudice and celebrates the beauty of love in the face of adversity. Order your copy of "Butterflies In The End Zone" today and embark on a journey that will leave you inspired, moved, and believing in the transformative power of love.

SNik's Review:

Standalone. YA. Slow burn/low burn. Dual POV. 

Jamie has to finish his senior year of high school in a small town in Florida, a far cry from the Bay area where Jamie was out and proud. Jamie begins a friendship with the popular high school quarterback Alex, and their relationship slowly builds as they fall in love. 

Alex and Jamie experience support from friends and Jamie's family but also fear the town’s possible discrimination and Alex’s religious family possibly disowning him. Alex and Jamie’s romance evolves over several months, as they spend time together going to parties and sweet dates, the emotional ties grow. 

They communicate honestly with each other about their feelings and support each other as they are fervently entrenched in their first and possible forever love. 

Of course Alex and Jamie have to overcome some obstacles, but they stay true to their feelings and have the irrepressible hope that you only feel when you are young. 

There are parts of the book that are touching and for a debut author writing an Own Voices representation the story felt realistic for the characters and as a romance should, gives them an HEA.

Rating: 4 Stars

Butterflies In the End Zone is available to buy in ebook and paperback formats.