It’s been a while since I last read this story (about 3 months) but I thought I’d go ahead and talk about it real quick because it’s one of the few stories I’ve read and just really enjoyed.
First off, the reason I’m not calling this a book is because it’s only 46 pages long. If anything it would be a short story that falls under the tags college, contemporary romance, geeks, and gay.
I found it while browsing Amazon’s selections in M/M romance and bam! I was blown away by the summary because knowledgeable Jeremy, strict librarian, clever jokes, and a mysterious Benj? Yeah those keywords made me click the button.
Anywho, Checking Out Love is a short story by R. Cooper that outlines the interactions between Jeremy, a college student working on his comparative literature and linguistics thesis and Benj, a quiet librarian working at the Four Oaks Historical Society, a private library attached to Jeremy’s school. Drawn in by the rumors of a beast of a librarian who guards the library with an iron fist, Jeremy is slightly confused when someone a bit less exciting and more timid catches his eye.
As soon as the story started I was immediately pulled in by Jeremy’s personality. He makes some of the weirdest observations, such as the rocking chair and cat that judges him on his first visit to the library, and he just never stops talking or thinking. You’d think that a character like him would be a bit annoying, however, Jeremy makes it work with some witty jokes and lots of fun mythology references.
There were actually moments where I couldn’t help but be like, How do you keep all of this information in your brain?! Yes, I am terribly jealous of his brain power!
We also learn that Jeremy is actually in the middle of writing his thesis and instead of being productive, he decides to go to Four Oaks Historical Society to play hooky (because that’s what all nerdy rebels do!). Of course, his actions weren’t simply that of rebelliousness. Jeremy was actually hoping to catch a glimpse of a certain librarian who has been rumored to be like a Beast. He was so notorious that he’d supposedly banned someone from Jeremy’s university because of misconduct at the library.
Aside from Jeremy we also have Benj, a quiet librarian that Jeremy bumps into when he first goes to the library. Appearance-wise, he’s passed all of Jeremy’s qualifications, however, he’s too soft spoken and quiet, not anything like Jeremy’s type. Other than a few of his quirks and a bit of his thought process, we don’t learn too much about Benj until the end of the story.
Unfortunately, I can’t really say much more without spoiling the story though if you’ve got an idea of how this ends, you’re probably right because the plot isn’t all that original. I think it’s Jeremy alone that really made this story work. There was just something very charismatic and real about him.
The pacing was really good. I enjoyed it from page 1 all the way to page 46 and beyond. At the end, I really wish there’d been more even though Jeremy’s curiosities had been concluded.
My only complaint is that the cover for this story is really bad. I mean, I get the library image but why the purple lines on each side and why that font? It literally looks like someone just put everything over the image and went, done. Which may have been the case…
I actually read this for free during my 30 day trial period of the Kindle Unlimited service. I liked it so much that I went ahead and bought this story after the trial was over. I mean, it was only 0.99 cents
I did try to read another of this author’s stories (A Little Familiar), however, it didn’t pull me in like this story did so I didn’t end up finishing it.
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Parting Thoughts: Even though the story was pretty cliche and predictable, Jeremy’s character really brought everything together and made it feel ‘fresh’ and real. I found myself giggling and just smiling throughout this read, which I didn’t expect because of how short this was.