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Everyone’s got secrets. Some are just harder to hide.

With his father’s ponzi scheme assets frozen, Tom Worthington believes finishing college is impossible unless he can pay his own way. After months sleeping in his car and gypsy-cabbing for cash, he’s ready to do just that.

But his new, older-student housing comes with an unapologetically gay roommate. Tom doesn’t ask why Reese Anders has been separated from the rest of the student population. He’s just happy to be sleeping in a bed.

Reese isn’t about to share his brutal story with his gruff new roommate. You’ve seen one homophobic jock, you’ve seen ’em all. He plans to drag every twink on campus into his bed until Tom moves out. But soon it becomes clear Tom isn’t budging.

Tom isn’t going to let some late-night sex noise scare him off, especially when it’s turning him on. But he doesn’t want any drama either. He’ll keep his hands, if not his eyes, to himself. Boundaries have a way of blurring when you start sharing truths, though. And if Tom and Reese cross too many lines, they may need to find out just how far they can bend…before they break.

Warning: This book contains cranky roommates who vacillate between lashing out and licking, some male/male voyeurism, emotional baggage that neither guy wants to unpack, and the definitive proof that sound carries in college housing.

317 pages, ebook

First published December 30, 2014

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About the author

Amy Jo Cousins

49 books620 followers
To get updates on Amy Jo's new releases, sign up for her newsletter at http://eepurl.com/YdVW1.

Amy Jo Cousins lives in Chicago, where she writes queer romance, tweets more than she ought, and sometimes runs way too far. She loves her boy and the Cubs, who taught her that being awesome doesn't necessarily have anything to do with winning.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 789 reviews
Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,861 reviews5,640 followers
December 23, 2014
*4.5 stars*

I have a confession to make: I have a MAJOR kink for college boys.

Something about the college setting excites me to no end. Two guys living together, changing together, sleeping in the same room... it is just RIPE with possibilities! And the chances that a college story is a Gay-For-You is SUPER high. I mean, if a guy is going to swing the man-way, he might as well try it in college!

This book is more Out-For-You than GFY. Though Tom would have considered himself pretty straight, he was no stranger to the allure of a nice pair of male buns, as much as he tried to deny it to himself. However, I loved his "gay discovery" scenes and I adored every second of Tom getting his freak on with Reese.

Something to note about this book: It is angsty. Reese and Tom have major issues and have both been traumatized to various degrees in the past. They bring a whole room full of baggage to their relationship. Though I don't enjoy angst for angst's sake, I thought that the drama in this book was really well done. These guys had legitimate issues and I enjoyed how the author handled them. My heart broke over and over for these two guys, and I was addicted to finding out how they would get over their hurdles. In fact, I stayed up all night to finish this story.

This book was a solid 5+ stars from me until somewhere in the second 1/2. It started slowing down and the almost constant blowjobs got a little too repetitive for my tastes. However, the majority of this book was pitch perfect and almost impossible to improve upon.

If you want a long, heartfelt book full of self-discovery, angst, and emotion, don't pass this one up. It is perfect for fans of GFY/OFY and college boys, as well as anyone who likes a hard-fought love story.

**Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**
November 11, 2014
4.5 stars

Two men struggle with fears and past hurts, trying to make their unexpected relationship work.

There's angst here, yes, but there is lightness too: HOPE, humor, and plenty of sexy times.

Tom is as much a victim of his dad's Ponzi scheme as the families who lost their savings. His dad in jail, Tom has nothing but a car he drives as a taxi on weekends and a duffle bag full of clothes. Tom is obsessively private and paranoid about attracting gossip.
He could still feel that train coming, the long, low moan of its horn rolling ahead of it, warning, warning, that it couldn’t slow down. Not for anything.

Reese is openly gay and wears his skinny jeans like armor. To scare off his straight new roommate, Reese starts marching a parade of guys through the dorm room, giving out blowjobs like candy.

Little does Reese know that his "straight" roommate isn't so straight, and more than turned on by what he sees.

The book is told from Tom’s POV, but both men are fully sketched, complex characters. Both come AT life, expecting a punch to the gut at any moment. They move from defensiveness to a tentative friendship to something deep and meanigfull, but the tenuous balance they achieve is easily shaken as emotional ghosts resurface.

The author explores Reese and Tom’s inner struggles without preaching or offering platitudes for their problems. Love is a balm, but it's not a fix-it-all.

Reese and Tom can listen and support one another, but must ultimately do the hard work on their own.

Tom doesn’t think he can count on anyone but himself, and Reese sometimes pushes too hard and isn’t as patient with Tom as Tom is with him. That’s not to say Tom gets a free pass, because his paranoia about attracting attention is maddening and leaves Reese feeling helpless.

As frustrated as I was with both MCs, their conflicts and compromises felt true to life.

Cash and Steph are wonderful secondary characters and do much to lighten the tone of the story. I also loved Reese’s dad, who was nurturing and caring but still had to be trained on the appropriate use of expletives.

Tom and Reese create their own cocoon, so the focus of the story isn’t campus life but the relationship and the healing. At its core, this is a story about letting others in and taking a chance on love.

Off Campus is tender, poignant, and beautifully written. Thank the gods (or, rather, Amy Jo!) for the epilogue. It gave the story much needed closure and made me a happy reader indeed.
Reese pulled Tom’s head down until their mouths pressed together in a kiss that shifted from "Hello there, sailor" to "Fuck me now" in seconds.

Profile Image for Santino Hassell.
Author 36 books2,829 followers
January 8, 2015
Warning: I am writing this review after a sleepless night. Rambling and bad grammar may be ahead.

I haven't enjoyed a character's voice this much since Meatworks. There is something about Tom's voice that was familiar. It was like listening to a friend of mine talk or confide in me. He sounded real. It helped that his narration is full of smart-ass and bitchy gems that made me want to fist bump him and say, "I feel you dude." Like that bit about the two dozen microbrews on tap? Yeah. Ain't no one got time for that hipster shit.

I also enjoyed Reese. He is a sassy twink but definitely not a stereotype. I enjoyed how unselfconscious he was about who he is despite all that had happened to him. The addition of Cash and Steph really strengthened the book for me. I loved well-rounded side characters and even if Steph didn't get as much page time as Cash, I really enjoyed her scenes and their scenes together. All of the characters in this book were pretty strong, even Evil Nemesis Jack (who I will definitely be reading about in the next book of this series).

Besides the characters, I really liked the premise of the book (rich WASP turned working class/struggling student with a chip on his shoulder and massive paranoia), I thought the UST between Reese and Tom was smoking hot, and I really dug how Tom gave in to his attraction to Reese without fuss and protesting. He also embraced his bisexuality in a way that I appreciated despite him 1) feeling self-conscious about saying it to gay dudes because of the expectation that they would see it as a cop out (i get this a lot) and 2) paranoia about being out on campus because of all of his other issues.

I had minor annoyances with some things Tom did and some things Reese did, but it wasn't enough to turn me off either character. For Tom, it was his reaction to Reese's past. I felt like he was being judgemental at best and condescending at worst, but then I thought about it and realized… he was pissing me off because he was acting how people in my life have reacted to me when I confided in them about shit. He was pissing me off because his reactions were realistic. When you don't handle trauma the way people expect, people have a tendency to act like they know what's best for you. Sometimes they're right, but that doesn't make it any less annoying in the moment. On the flip side, I thought Reese was being a little unfair about his expectations with Tom towards the end, but again I couldn't deny that Tom was dropping the ball a lot.

What it comes down to is that Cousins did the thing that I've been wanting to read about for a while. She didn't draw out their UST for ages, focus on their road to being a couple, and then end the book when they reached that milestone. Nope. Instead, they reached that milestone and the rest of the book focused on them figuring out how to be a couple considering how messed up they both were in their own ways. There's no way either character could have had a seamless transition from where they started to being a perfect couple, and I appreciate that Cousins took the time to show all the bumps in the road along the way. Every pissy fight, escalating miscommunication, and every misstep was shown in a way that made them feel like real people trying to figure out what they wanted from the world and each other.

I look forward to Jack's book and especially Cash and Steph's book. Cannot wait, especially for the latter.
Profile Image for ☆ Todd.
1,350 reviews1,482 followers
May 17, 2017

Now *FREE* on Amazon, 2017-05-17.

--> https://www.amazon.com/Off-Campus-Ben...

I loved this one so hard!


Although I loved this book, a lot, at times it was emotionally challenging and frustrating. *Shoulder-Shake-&-Smack-a-Bitch*

Tom was the very rich, golden boy track star at his upper-crust college, until his ponzi-scheming father got caught and he lost it all. Well, everything except for his BMW, which he uses as both a taxi to make money and a home for a year and a half, until he can make enough money to return to college. All of Tom's friends broke his trust in one way or another, so now he doesn't trust anyone, not even a little.

Upon Tom's return to college, he meets his new roommate, Reese, who also has trust issues after being held down and raped (off-page, thankfully) by his previous roommate's jock friends. When Reese sees that he is not going to get the single room that he was promised, he parades a string of tricks through their room, passing out blowjobs like Halloween candy, in hopes of scaring away his straight roommate.

But, much to Reese's chagrin, after Tom living in his car for over a year, he isn't going anywhere. Nope. As Reese eventually decides that Tom is there to stay, they begin holing up in the room together and develop an uneasy truce, a friendship, then more.
“I wanted that like I couldn’t breathe without it. That’s why I came back.”
The rest of the book is the somewhat-angsty tale of how two young men with significantly less than no reason to trust, slowly begin to bond and earn one another's trust.
“That? Right there?” Tom paused, hand on the doorknob, and looked over his shoulder. “Not one jock has ever done that. Ever.”

“Done what?”

“Made someone stop when they were hurting me. That’s different.”

They each compromise a lot for the other, but the very out Reese seems to give in much more frequently than Tom, with his paranoid, chronic aversion to going out in public, even without 'the gay thing' coming into play.
Reese on Tom spending at least some of Christmas with Reese & his (awesome) dad:

“We make a lot of compromises for each other, you and I. This one isn’t mine.”
Eventually Tom's personal demons eventually tear them apart and he runs to Cash, his loud, abrasive track mate and only true friend, for shelter.

I can't express how completely amazing Cash was in this story. A funny, smartass with no filter at all, but always there when Tom (and Reese) needed support.
“Well, then don’t be all I love you but I can’t be with you, goodbye on the fucking phone, Romeo. That shit’ll make people worry.” He sat up straight and stared at Tom, eyes narrowing. “Not me, of course. I was like, 'whatevs', when your boy called me and told me I maybe wanna keep an eye on you."

Fortunately, both Tom and Reese use the few months apart to truly begin working through their issues. Reese because he finally realizes that he wants to live life without being afraid all of the time and Tom so that he could work through his problems and be a man who Reese could be proud of being with.

And their reunion meeting in the park, where Tom finally felt like he would be able to start *not* disappointing Reese? (Well, not nearly as much, and definitely not if he could help it.) That scene was stupendous.
...he could feel it in Reese’s skin, in his bones, in the way his spine curved against Tom’s belly that it wasn’t too late. He could still catch up.

Yes, they still had (a lot of) issues to work out, but we get our HEA and the epilogue was way over the top amazing, IMHO.
The light lit up Reese like a halo as they smiled at each other.

“I love you.” It was easy to say. Now.

Tom had learned that it mattered. Saying the words. The words weren’t enough, in and of themselves, and actions mattered too, but after Reese had sat him down and explained a few things, he got it better about it. And, learning how the words lit Reese up like a candle, he’d started to look for it. That bright shiny glow, the curve of a lip, how Reese blinked slowly just once, the dozen ways he practically shivered with happiness when Tom said it.

“Love you too.” His boyfriend’s eyes narrowed and Tom dropped his box to the side with a thud just in time to brace himself as Reese walked right into him and backed him up against the wall. For a little guy, he could growl like a bear. “God. I’ll love you right up against this wall.”
The book was slightly angsty, funny and a good amount of sexy, with tons of *feels*, so I really enjoyed it from start to finish.

This one was a solid 4 1/2 stars for me and I highly recommend it.


** This book was not provided by the publisher and was my own copy. **
Profile Image for *J* Too Many Books Too Little Time.
1,921 reviews3,444 followers
January 2, 2015

Oh boy, this one was SLOW! And long! And not a lot happened plot wise, but somehow in the end I ended up liking it!

Most of the book I spent waiting....

Waiting for something to happen between Reese and Tom...
Waiting for them to do something other than give each other blow-jobs...
Waiting for Reese's POV....
Waiting for Tom to get over his aversion to the public...
Waiting for Reese to get mad at Tom....
Waiting for them to break-up...
Waiting for something....anything....some drama....some excitement.

Reese and Tom were both very damaged characters. Becoming roommates is the last thing Reese wants. Tom just wants somewhere to sleep between the endless nights driving and the days spent in class.

Tom was frustrating as hell at times....

He was always getting mad at Reese when I thought Reese should be the one mad at him.

Not a lot happens plot wise. And it took a long time for Reese and Tom to start to try to work on their hang-ups. But I really loved it once they did, I just wish they had gotten there a bit sooner.

This could have been a 5 star read for me, had it been a bit shorter and not so dragged out. But in the end, I liked Reese and Tom...I liked their banter. I liked that they were complex, somewhat damaged characters.

Looking forward to the next book in the series....I think. I didn't like Jack too much so....

Profile Image for Ami.
5,814 reviews499 followers
Shelved as 'my-issues-not-yours'
December 22, 2014
DNF at 62%

I realized that it was my personal hang-ups that made me unable to continue this story. So I will not rate this and the review will be done under spoiler tag. It's clearly a "me-not-you" situation and I just think it will not be fair for the author if I openly write down my thoughts. Early reviews have been positive so go ahead and read them. Again, my issues. Not yours.

The ARC is generously provided by the author for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.
Profile Image for Nancy.
557 reviews769 followers
November 1, 2016
Cross-posted at Shelf Inflicted and at Outlaw Reviews

As an older college graduate, dorm life was one of those experiences I missed. I know people who enjoyed that time of their life, and others who hated it. To an introvert like me, living with a randomly selected roommate in a cramped room, communal bathrooms, noise, and lack of privacy sounds like hell on earth.

While I have no regrets about missing the dorm experience, I periodically enjoy reading about college life and the confusion, emotional turmoil and insecurity that plagues young adults.

Tom Worthington uses his car as a cab to help pay for his tuition costs. Unfortunately, he doesn't have much else in the way of money or possessions, as his dad’s fraudulent scheming left victims penniless, resulting in frozen assets and a jail sentence. Tom is deeply affected by his father’s actions and tries hard to keep a low profile around campus. He has difficulty trusting others, is unable to ask for help, and fears people are gossiping about him.

Tom didn't get the single room he was promised, so he is forced to bunk with Reese Anders, a 20-year-old gay man who has his own reasons for wanting to be alone.

In spite of the men’s unwillingness to share a room, Tom and Reese develop a tentative friendship that eventually gives way to mutual attraction. It’s not as easy as it sounds, though, because Tom and Reese are very private people with unresolved issues.

I nearly set the book aside, because I quickly tired of the random sex scenes and wasn’t warming up to either Reese or Tom. Thankfully, I was patient, for I was rewarded with a moving, powerful story that felt so real. Tom’s and Reese’s problems were dealt with very sensitively without resorting to clichés and pounding the reader over the head with “important life lessons.” I especially enjoyed that friendship, trust and love took time to develop. Reese and Tom know they each have difficult hurdles to overcome and need more than love to make their relationship work. Significant secondary characters like Tom’s best friend, Cash, Reese’s friend, Steph, and Reese’s dad kept Tom and Reese from being too isolated and helped infuse this story with lightness, humor and love.

This is my first book by Amy Cousins, but it certainly won’t be my last. I’m looking forward to spending more time with Reese and Tom’s friends and getting a glimpse of their future.

Thanks to Abby from Bookie Nookie's Erotic Lending Group for lending this to me.
Profile Image for Lenore.
596 reviews373 followers
February 18, 2015
I wasn’t planning on reading this. Correction: I wasn’t planning on reading it now. But RL has been a bitch lately (I’ve also been in a sort of a book funk), and people whose opinion and taste in books I trust were praising Off Campus on social media, describing it as “emotionally authentic”. So I thought I’d try it too, especially after a lovely lady (shout-out to Karen Wellsbury
) agreed to buddy read with me.

Now, in the interest of honesty, even though I had high hopes, I was also a bit leery because of the theme and the premise. Too easily it could all blow up into an angstfest and descend into dramaland. Not only did that not happen, but for me, despite my quibbles (which I won’t address—overall the book should be praised for achieving a great synergy between technical merit and emotional impact,) this story was delivered with honesty from start to finish.

Off Campus is about the risk-taking and trust involved in building intimate relationships; the level of communication it requires; the self-disclosure intrinsic to such relationships and the vulnerability it brings; actually listening to the other person and not discounting the truth in what is communicated to you. The affection, intimacy, nurturance, and mutuality it involves. The fragility of the entire construction. And how it can all work out if you just let go and allow yourself to trust and feel and believe in the other person and what you have or can have with them.

Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Shile (Hazard's Version) on-hiatus.
1,093 reviews798 followers
December 1, 2017
2.5 stars

Oi! Its me not the book. I wanted to loved this but i ended up being disappointed


There was a story here that i might have enjoyed but it dragged,on and on and on.........Tom's inner monologue became repetitive and i stopped feeling sorry for him.


On the upside i loved Cash.

There are some good reviews, so maybe its me not the book. I feel if i read this in 2015 maybe i would have enjoyed it but after reading so many MM books i guess i am over the manufactured break-up 'miscommunication thing' that happens between 75%-80% then the reunion at 90% i just can't deal.

Profile Image for .Lili. .
1,169 reviews260 followers
January 3, 2015
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I have to say I really enjoyed this book. It had everything I enjoy in a college romance setting. It was fun, sexy, and angsty. We have two young men who are carrying a lot of hurt with them.

What I loved:
*The two main characters. Reese and Tom were great individually and as a couple they had great chemistry.
*Character development
*Secondary characters
*It was heartbreaking but also full of hope
*The way she developed the relationship between Tom and Reese

What I didn't love:
*The book started with a bang and then it hit a snag. Luckily, it didn't last too long.
*I wanted inside Reese's head. The story is only told from Tom's POV and there were several instances that I wished we were getting Reese's side as well.

Overall, this was pretty freaking good. It's a great book about self discovery. Definitely recommend this to any N/A, OFY story lovers. 4 stars!

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Profile Image for Vanessa North.
Author 44 books510 followers
December 30, 2014
This was a great read for the NA college-romance lover. Amy Jo writes with a deft hand, mixing poignancy and humor to create a lovely emotional balance.

I want to talk about something AJ does in this book which is different from--and far superior to--the typical of the genre. I'm talking about PTSD.

Most depictions in genre romance of PTSD are heavy handed and stereotyped. Off Campus presents two heroes suffering from PTSD who actually, you know, act like people with PTSD. They avoid social situations, hide from triggers, and sometimes misconstrue each other's intentions an miscommunicate their own. They navigate self-care at times carefully, and at time clumsily. It's not easy, and the answers are not simple, and it takes a long time to build trust. This is by far one of the more nuanced depictions of the subject I've seen.

By the end of the book, I was really rooting for these guys, and found their HEA satisfying and emotionally rewarding. I can't wait to read more in this series.

Brava, Amy Jo!
Profile Image for Sheri.
1,357 reviews140 followers
August 19, 2021
DNF 33%
Shakes head.
Rolls eyes.
Sighs with deep exasperation.

I’ve had this book forEVER.
I know this because I certainly wouldn’t have bought it after “you know what happened with you know who”. 🤭

And thought, why not give it a chance. 🤷🏻‍♀️
Well, I did. I tried.
Honestly, I did.

If you know me, you know I don’t DNF.
But even though things started off poorly from the beginning, I was determined to stay positive and keep pushing on.
But things went from bad to worse. 🤯

And I kept thinking, someone, please, book gods hear me and help me…put me out of my misery. 😵‍💫
And then I realized…I can do that!
I can stop the icky feeling from spreading and close the book. Walk away and be done.
So. That’s what I’m doing.

Shallow. Awkward. Icky. And just plain bad.

*2 generous stars*
Profile Image for BWT.
2,153 reviews218 followers
January 3, 2018
2.5 star. This story had so much wasted potential.

I didn't connect with either Tom or Reese. Their relationship struck me as convenient more than romantic in the beginning. Heck, I found much of the story boring. It was finally getting better, and I was somewhat enjoying the story when (about 90% or so) And that kind of killed off the last of my interest.

For as much as I was really, really, really looking forward to this, I was ultimately disappointed.

Profile Image for BevS.
2,724 reviews2 followers
April 8, 2016
Loved, loved, LOVED this!! 5 stars from me. Not giving anything away as far as the storyline is concerned, this is just TOO GOOD to miss!!

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When I shelve this as intense, I mean that there was a lot of angst...BUT there were humorous touches too. Yes, there were lots of 'should I throttle or hug him now?? ' moments as far as Tom was concerned, although given what he'd gone through and was still going through to some extent, I was really glad he made it to the other side with his head more or less intact. Reese, well he'd had a helluva time already at Uni, and for these two broken guys to get together when one of them wasn't even certain he was gay, took exceptional writing....and this book had that in spades!! For a writer relatively new to the m/m genre, credit to Amy Jo for the realistic way she wrote the characters and some of the scenes.

I loved Cash, great friend to have at your back, and yes, he struggled with the fact the Tom was involved in a gay relationship at first, but he certainly came through for both Tom and Reese when needed. Reese's dad....perfect!! The next book in the series is about nasty Jack, and I have to say he was definitely not one of my fave characters. Do I care whether he gets a HEA?? Not really... I'll be reading it solely on the strength of the author's writing.

I must just put this quote in...one of my fave quotes in all the m/m books I've read so far....."Dad. We've talked about this. You have a gay son. You cannot go around calling people 'cocksucker' as an insult."

Thanks to Samhain via Netgalley for the ARC
Profile Image for Papie.
652 reviews119 followers
March 20, 2021
3.5 🌟 This book gave me a lot of feelings, both good and bad. The writing was frustrating at first, with Tom’s constant internal monologues and I skimmed. But the more I got to know Tom, the more the depth of his pain became clear, and his self-destructive spiral really got to me. He needed help, but he was so deep into his self-hatred that he didn’t realize he deserved to be helped.

He was both a wonderful and a terrible boyfriend to Reese, with his sweetness and patience in the bedroom, and protectiveness on one hand, and his inability to come out on the other hand.

What bothered me most was the lack of communication. By not telling Reese the extent of what happened to him, he wasn’t making it possible for Reese to understand. Whereas Reese was so open with Tom about his own issues.

It was quite angsty, in the way of NA books, and I loved that. I would have liked more development before the epilogue, I feel the resolution was too quick and easy.

But overall a really nice read. I don’t think I’ll read the story that’s a few years into the future about these two, because the blurb mentions more secrets and misunderstandings, and I’m so over that shit. But I’ll read Cash and Steph’s story, even though I rarely read MF these days, because I loved them both so much.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Mirjana **DTR - Down to Read**.
1,390 reviews652 followers
April 9, 2018

***4.5 Stars***

You know what's one of my favorite things about being a reader? When a book surprises you. When a cover catches your eye, a blurb intrigues you, and you jump in expecting one thing but end up getting so much more.

That's what happened to me with this book. I was not at all prepared for all the feels I got here. Off Campus is about so much more than a couple of college guys.

He could give Reese space in which to find his way closer to Tom, this strange dance they were doing - waltzing in the dark without a partner, wondering if each was ever going to bump into another lonely dancer.

I'm going to keep my review purposely vague because I want the next reader to have the same surprise I did. But what I will do, is give you some of my favorite quotes as clues. Little nuggets to entice you to pick up this book. Because seriously....READ THIS BOOK.

Tom didn't know exactly what he wanted, but he knew it was back in Western Mass, in a quiet room behind a door that was always closed, and he wouldn't find it unless he went back home and asked for it.

Tom and Reese are both dealing with some rough things, and watching them stumble, fumble and navigate through their issues was both heartbreaking and inspiring.

Told entirely from Tom's POV, the frustration, fear, anger and paranoia he felt on a dailiy basis was palpable. My heart hurt for him. For what he lost. For what he took for granted. For the responsibility that lay on his shoulders. For the fear he felt at trying to come out of the shadows.

Even if what he'd had hadn't been all that great in retrospect, seeing as how everyone and everything had disappeared so swiftly, slipping through his grasping hands like smoke. It hadn't been real, any of it, his friends, his towering feeling of walking the world as if a golden light shone down on him and there was nothing he couldn't do. None of it had been real. But the hollow ache in him, for how easy everything had been, when now it was all so fucking hard, all the time, made the tears run hot again from the corners of his eyes.

And even though we don't get Reese's POV, you still feel connected to him. Not only through his actions and words, but seeing him through Tom's eyes. It adds something deeply moving in seeing how in awe Tom is of Reese.

Because no mere boy could stay standing against the storms that had battered this guy, stay standing and fight the good fight day after goddamn day, when simply showing up was winning a battle to say that this space belonged to him too.

The pillow was wet under his temples. He didn't move his hand to wipe his eyes. Tom stared at the dark head in front of him, wondering how this kid was so much braver than he would ever be.

Every person in this story serves a purpose and has a place in Tom and Reese's life. And not gonna lie....I'm so here for Steph and Cash's story!!

I don't really know what else to say except...pick up this book! Get ready for a moving and emotional ride. You'll laugh, you'll cry....you'll fall in love.

This book ends on a very strong HFN, and I'm so happy that AJC wrote a follow up novella for Tom and Reese. Real World takes place 5 years after Off Campus ends, and shows the work that these two are continuing to do on their relationship. And I'm told from trusted sources that it truly cements their HEA!!

So, in an effort to keep it real, I do have to be a little bit of a bubble burster and say that the only reason I couldn't give this 5 stars is because there are times where things got a little too wordy for me. Extra internal ramblings that really didn't add much to the story or character development. I found myself skimming through the unnecessary filler.
Profile Image for Heller.
974 reviews119 followers
January 3, 2015
First of all I’m going to be completely superficial and say that I really love this cover. Simple but gorgeous.

The story inside isn’t what I was expecting at all. It’s darker and more intense with a high level of angst. Both Tom and Reese are damaged characters and are each in their own way fighting to heal.

There was also a surprising amount of humour here that balanced all the intensity. A lovely snarky humour that’s just the kind I adore reading. So with every wince at the layers of angst that were peeled back I found myself snerking at the inner thoughts and one liners that kept popping up.

This is definitely on the darker side so be prepared for that. The young men are dealing with heavy issues. They have a very passionate chemistry like a antagonist sexual one that mellows as they get to know each other and lower their defences.

They are incredibly sexually compatible. Every sexual encounter is off the hook incendiary. Arguments to quiet moments between them just sizzle. I love their interactions but I also love that nothing is easy for these guys. They work hard for their HEA and for their emotional health. They both deserve those wins.

There are some great secondary characters here. I’m definitely looking forward to book two, I like this author and I like their style. They write strong beautifully flawed characters.

**Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**
Profile Image for Sarina Bowen.
Author 103 books15.1k followers
August 15, 2014
I just loved this. What a smart, complicated couple of characters she has created here. In the first place, Tom's troubles really resonated with me. Ms. Cousins has written an angsty conflict with all the appropriate feels, but it never dips toward melodrama. Every twist and turn is on solid ground. The Madoff-like story line was so well done.

And how could you not love Reese! He's been through a lot, but he isn't crushed and broken. I love an underdog, and he is a terrific example.

You know you're in strong hands when the novelist creates her saddest, most telling scene around a conversation over pancakes. My heart was breaking. (No car chases necessary.)
Profile Image for Jamie.
376 reviews30 followers
February 25, 2023
Dnf - 51%

This author’s writing style is just not for me. So wordy and so much internal monologue. It had so much potential but I needed more between the characters and less rambling internal thoughts. Also calling someone “kid” feels condescending but that’s probably just me. Oh and each chapter is like 30 minutes long which I don’t like at all.
155 reviews30 followers
May 22, 2017
I don't get it. It seemed like so many people enjoyed this book, and I have no idea why.

A bunch of people mentioned liking Tom's voice.

I did not.

Jesus fucking Christ every single line of dialogue was bookended by an interminable explanation on what he thought about saying, why he thought about it, why he ultimately rejected it, why he finally decided on the thing he actually said, and then... after alll that... he might actually say it. Might.

I also didn't like the time bouncing flash forward, flash back, who's talking? I feel like a ping pong ball.

There were a lot of these mini time jumps. I followed the majority, but there were more than a few moments where I had to reorient myself. Are we still in the same place? How much time just passed? Who said that? Where did they come from? And more annoyingly, these flashes happened multiple times right before sexy time. We're revving up, things are good, there's going to be sexy things happening in 3... 2... aaaaaaaand we're flashing back to the character holing up in his house hiding from the press. [we pause these sexy times to bring you this very special pity party] God damn it.

Seriously the number of times the reader gets cock blocked by a flash back or just plain wandering of Tom's thoughts off to one completely unrelated issue or another should be criminal.

There were good parts, but you have to slog through a lot of inner monologuing to get to the good parts. Some were even good enough to warrant the slog (that early voyeurism... damn), but the majority weren't - especially from mid-book on.

I'll cop to curiosity about the subsequent books, because the side characters were interesting, but I don't think I could handle another book like this. I have my kindle set to tell me how much time is left in the book, and I keep looking at it and thinking. OMG, 2 hours and 45 minutes???? I've been reading this book forEVER. Ugh. It's never going to end. I'm not going to make it. Why is this book so loooooong? I think that's the point at which you have to DNF, but I didn't because I don't do that unless we've gone all the way off the rails.

I kind of wish I had, though.
Profile Image for Mare SLiTsReaD Reviews.
1,135 reviews68 followers
October 28, 2014

1st off Thank You Samhain Publishing via Netgalley for a copy of the e-book.

Secondly that cover… O.M.G… that cover is HELLA… HELLA HOTT. I wanna hug it and squeeze it and sleep with it. That’s how much I love the cover. Because the model… I don’t know who is he but he reminds me of someone who I fell in love with this summer, Zach from BB16. (Big Brother 16).


So this story was my Zach story where he wasn’t just bi-curious but totally ended up with his guy. Gah. This cover. Gets 5+ Send Mare into a lust induced coma stars.

The overall story I enjoyed.

However at some moments I really really really wanted to punch Tom in the face.

I facilitated between punching him out and hugging him and then punching him again.

DUDE. Get over it. Was pretty much my mantra.

Did I love Reese?? YES. SO MUCH.

My Reese….GAH LOVE


(anyone else see the resemblance or just me????)

It got to the point where I kinda wished that the story was in Reese’s POV. I really wish I knew his story more in depth.

This was my 1st Amy Jo Cousins book, but Goodreads advised me that she has many a books that I will totally get to.

I liked her wording, the way she spun the story, and of course Reese.

It is the 1st story that I haven’t DNF’d in weeks so, I thank you Ms Cousin from the bottom of my heart for resurrecting me back.

Profile Image for Tara♥ {MindforBooks}.
1,360 reviews114 followers
May 12, 2021
I'm still confused.

So my final update was:
"On the one hand, loved the writing and at the start loved both boys, I was so super excited. Feelings that followed were frustration at both of them, the urge to punch Tom in the throat and the very real fear that the book would never end. Can't rate or review this right now. Cash was awesome though."

And I think that still stands. I will say that I really, really, really enjoyed the first half of this book. But the second part was like a totally different book.

I don't know how to rate it. Between 2 and 4 stars depending? 4 for the first half and 2 for the second.

I could round it to 3 but I'm not sure if that works, so I'm going to leave it unrated for now.

You know what? I really didn't like this book, so much so that I can't even bring myself to contemplate reading the rest of this series. I'm in the minority on that so I'm just gonna embrace it.

Also it was just too long. I was not kidding when I said I thought it would never end.

Profile Image for Catherine.
1,572 reviews232 followers
July 2, 2017
*** 4.5 Stars ***

This entire book was note perfect for me. I mean, even when I was frustrated or angry with one – or both – of the main characters, I still felt as if every word, thought, action and reaction that Amy Jo Cousins crafted onto the page was exactly as it should have been for maximum effect.

Trust me when I say you need to read this one!

*ARC received from author in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Kathleen.
1,388 reviews122 followers
January 2, 2015
DNF at 45%. I just can't read this. Just came across a single paragraph that was a approximately one and a third pages in length. Way, way too much telling and not nearly enough showing. I offered up two stars instead of one as the writing was technically good with no major editing issues in the first half of the book. I won't be reading this author again. Not my cuppa.
Profile Image for Heidi.
947 reviews2 followers
January 1, 2015
Whilst I enjoyed the read I really wanted more from the ending. I wanted more for & from Reese and Tom's relationship. I'd love a follow-up story.
Profile Image for Susan.
2,195 reviews397 followers
December 25, 2015
BR with Elsbeth, Julie, Marcie, Momo, Paul, Britta, Marte, and Kayl.

---Spoilers ahead---

Where to start, where to start…

The first 70% was so good I would have gladly given it 5 stars, and the last 30% was so terrible I wanted to give it 2 stars.
I REALLY liked the first 70%. And in my head the book ended there.


This is a book about two broken characters.
Tom is all alone. His father is in jail for conning people. Tom is currently homeless and without any money or friends. He is trying to work his ass off driving a cab in the weekends, so he can afford to remain in school. He has been hurt so many times by so called friends, that he has decided never to trust another person.

And we have Reese, Tom’s gay roommate. Reese is not happy when Tom, a jock, moves in. Reese has had some terrible experiences with jocks hurting him, so he wants Tom gone.

Tom finds out Reese is constantly brining home guys. After blowing them, Reese makes them leave. Tom is puzzled by this behavior. There’s nothing in it for Reese, he never lets the guys touch him. But it’s obvious Reese is trying to chase Tom away with this behavior.

It is not long before Reese finds out that blowing guys while Tom is ‘asleep’ is turning Tom on. Perhaps Tom is not as straight as he thought…

This was so HOT:

If Tom held still, breathed evenly, Reese would never know for sure whether or not he’d been awake and watching them.
He opened his eyes.
Reese gaze was locked on Tom.


Tom was so sweet, he had no trouble admitting he was bi and that he was attracted to Reese. He always wanted to protect Reese and not do anything that might startle him. Reese went through something awful and was trying to deal with it every day. Tom was such a sweetheart.

And Reese, he was feisty, I liked him. I could totally understand him when he was done with Tom’s bullshit about coming out at campus.

But then…. major ANGST. The kind that makes my skin crawl. The unnecessary kind… I understand it when someone needs to go through something to become a better person. But if you would just talk to your man about it, you can do it together! And not break up, not see each other for months and after that everything is fine again. No, I don’t get these kind of things. And Tom…. WTF were you thinking acting like that??

I still feel so sad that my amazing book took a turn for the worse. Why?????????


So, a nice read, but a disappointing ending (don’t worry, there is a HEA, I just didn’t buy it anymore).
Profile Image for Christina.
742 reviews124 followers
February 4, 2015
I loved being inside Tom’s head. He’s a wise-ass and makes no apologies for his actions. Everything he did felt real, even when he was a total asshole. Both Tom and Reese have some serious and deep-rooted issues. Tom doesn't trust anyone, he’s paranoid, and he’s selfish, while Reese is dealing with his past abuse. Obviously, it’s not smooth sailing for these two. Even though it took forever for Tom to address his issues, I took solace that at least he recognized that he was making stupid decisions and trying not to hurt Reese. To me, this was a positive step and I had faith he would finally come to his senses.

All the characters felt authentic. I loved Cash and Steph. They were great side characters. There were no bells and whistles in this book. It was two guys trying to live their lives, but unfortunately they buried their problems and hid from the world. Eventually they realize that this doesn’t work. It was a long time coming, but that’s what made this feel real to me. It sucks to face reality and deal with these types of issues and Tom was no exception. It got to the point where he didn’t have a choice. There were many times I wanted to smack him and yell “wake up!”, but it was all part of the journey.

Sometimes the writing got long-winded, but I got used to it. If I didn’t like Tom so much, I would have got annoyed fast. My other problem is that I wished we saw more of Reese dealing with his trauma. Even though this was Tom’s book, I was invested in Reese just as much.

I wasn’t that fond of Jack, but I will definitely give the next book a try since I enjoyed this one so much.

Profile Image for Tamika♥RBF MOOD♥.
1,224 reviews142 followers
June 1, 2015

A Giant Snoozefest!

First, I feel bamboozled, this cover model is HOT. Who was he in the story? He couldn't be Reese, Reese was a short twink, that's skinny, with long dark hair in his face. Tom was 6 ft and blond. I want this model to myself!

OMG, seriously, Tom's inner monologues hogged the damn story big time. It had good times throughout it. It just wasn't enough. Goodness, I skimmed through it after 75%. I couldn't take it anymore. I liked Reese as a character. He truly was in love with Tom and willing to do anything to help. Tom has this huge guilt on his shoulders, conscience and heart. I understand he's angry with what happened with his father, but none of that was his fault. I couldn't take the inner turmoil building in his head. I got bored quick.

I hope book 2 is better, because I already have it.
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