Review: The Art of Hero Worship by Mia Kerick

Trembling on the floor, pressed beneath a row of seats in a dark theater, college freshman Jason Tripp listens to the terrifying sound of gunshots, as an unknown shooter moves methodically through the theater, randomly murdering men, women, and children attending a student performance of Hamlet. Junior Liam Norcross drapes his massive body on top of Jason, sheltering the younger man from the deathly hail of bullets, risking his life willingly, and maybe even eagerly.

As a result of the shared horror, an extraordinary bond forms between the two young men, which causes discomfort for family and friends, as well as for Jason and Liam, themselves. And added to the challenge of two previously “straight” men falling into a same-sex love, are the complications that arise from the abundance of secrets Liam holds with regard to a past family tragedy. The fledgling passion between the men seems bound to fade away into the darkness from which it emerged.

Jason, however, is inexplicably called to rescue his hero in return, by delving into Liam’s shady past and uncovering the mystery that compels the older man to act as the college town’s selfless savior.

The Art of Hero Worship takes the reader on a voyage from the dark and chilling chaos that accompanies a mass shooting to the thrill of an unexpected and sensual romance.

"Why do I need you so much? Why am I addicted to your arms and your voice and your sound and your smell?"
"I... I don't know"
"You saved me."
Right out of the gate, we're thrust into this intense scene where our MC's are victims of a theater shooting. Jason panics, and then freezes. He makes decisions he'll later regret and the only reason he got out of there alive was because of Liam. A stranger that protected Jason and got him to safety.

During this scene and shortly after, Liam and Jason make some stupid decisions. I was ready to put the book down. I was not about to read an entire novel featuring these two morons. But I eventually found my heart and realized these guys were just involved in a shooting. They panicked (of course!) and made some silly decisions. Nobody can predict how someone would react in a situation like that. We'd all like to think we'd keep our heads and be smart. Well, that's what Jason thought, too.

Jason had many regrets from that day and had a hard time dealing with the aftermath. He found comfort in the short time he spent with Liam, before he had to go back to reality. He became a shell of his former self, refusing to go out. Until he met up with Liam again and he found a glimmer of hope that he might be able to feel normal again. Jason isn't sure of why he feels this way for Liam, or what his feelings are exactly, for that matter. He's never looked twice at another guy before, but there was something about Liam that Jason needed.
"I want to worship my hero, as he so deserves. I want to show him with my body the tangle of feelings inside me. Because my emotions are all caught up like a fish in a net... and the more I struggle to escape them, the more they entrap me."
Liam needed Jason just as much, but in a different way. He saved Jason that horrible day in the theater, and wanted to always keep him safe. He felt a strong urge to keep Jason protected and for Jason to be his.

This is a double GFY story and the guys bring the emotion in spades. They had a lot of chemistry on a emotional level. They (especially Jason) have so much turmoil in their lives and struggle to move on from the shooting they witnessed. They rely heavily on each other for comfort and support. Even though both of them always thought of themselves as straight, they never tried to deny the strong feelings that developed between them.
"I think I told you this last night, but I'm going to say it again. I couldn't feel the way I do for anyone but you-- male or female. I feel so much... I think I could fall in love with you."
Emotionally? They were really great together. Physically and sexually... not so much. It's a double GFY, for goodness sake! Where was the sexual tension? They were definitely more connected on an emotional level rather than physical. I don't need sex in a book in order for me to enjoy it and I have plenty of favorites that don't have any sex scenes. But if there's going to be on page sex, I'd like some chemistry and tension. Please and thank you.

Some of the characters were OTT, especially the women. They were painted in a particularly negative light. Every once in a while it's fine with me, but most of the women in the story? No thank you. 

The dialogue felt too formal and stilted. I admit, I highlighted the crap out of this story and there were plenty of scenes and quotes that I loved, but sometimes there were quotes that I just can't picture anyone saying, let alone a college student. 

As always with Mia Kerick, there was a beautiful message in Jason and Liam's story. The Art of Hero Worship really focused on labels... and then chucking them out the door. They don't matter. Love is love.

A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more info on Goodreads.

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