Review: Distant Swimmer by Jacob Cheyenne

Shy and scholarly, long-distance swimmer Ryan Zwick thinks he’s the only gay member of the college swim team. He keeps his head down in the showers, and his head in the books the rest of the time.

But when a sporty new transfer student joins the team, Ryan feels a surge of hope. Sexually inexperienced and looking for love, fellow swimmer Blake Gossens is everything Ryan wants in a boyfriend. But what is Blake’s game, exactly? And just how straight is he?

Blake seems to be more interested in Ryan’s best friend, Marissa, leaving Ryan to go back to secretly checking out his teammates in the pool. But Ryan keeps getting mysterious messages in his dating app from a stranger who seems to know a lot about him. Could this messenger be Blake? Or someone else?

When bad weather hits unexpectedly, Ryan is forced to confront his real feelings toward Blake, while opening up to the stranger by his side, eventually giving in to his wildest fantasies -- and his heart.

I had to re-read the blurb so I knew what I could give away and what I couldn’t. It’s pretty restrictive actually.

Ryan was a nice character. This story is told entirely from his point of view, and so this is his lived experience as he struggles to accept that the dating pool is extremely limiting even though he is at college. His only constant is his swim team. This is where he excels and feels most comfortable. The routine, the water, and the feeling of togetherness that is teamwork for a common goal, all creates a nice comforting space for Ryan to grow.

I enjoyed the backdrop of the swim team. I thought it was a good place to have Ryan while he was settling into his sexuality.

I can’t say I was a fan of either Blake or Marissa. They were both poorly developed characters, and also made out to be flighty and not nice people. I’m not sure why the author chose this tactic, but by the end of the story, I didn’t feel either had redeemed themselves enough for me to think positively of them in Ryan’s life.

I liked the direction the story went in. I enjoyed the supporting characters. I liked the setting, and appreciated the fact that this was a young adult/new adult story, with a lot of the same young fragile feelings that come with being fresh into adulthood and feeling out of place.

I’d recommend this as a slow burn romance. It’s low on angst but does have some drama. It’s mostly a feel good story about a young man and his first relationship.

A review copy was provided for an honest opinion

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