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REVIEW: “Heartless” by J Roman



For gay teens in the South, Erwin High School is as good as it gets. The prevailing liberalism means being gay doesn’t have to be the focus of your life—which frees up seventeen-year-old Jason Strummer to take on the role of bully. Jason understands his beauty and power and has a reputation to match his attitude. No one but his best friend suspects the cruelty Jason hides behind is a ruse to keep his hellish private life out of the public eye.

Jason has only loved one boy in his life, and that crush on Tommy Johnson ended so badly that they’re no longer on speaking terms. When an ex-lover threatens Jason and Tommy steps in to help, the heartless playboy can’t help but fall a little bit back in love with him—but Jason will have to choose between keeping Tommy or his secrets.


Wow, Heartless indeed. Talk about a way to meet your protagonist. Jason is an ass, he admits it himself a decent amount of times. He is out in his liberal high school which with their school colors of red and white proudly making pink he should be able to, right? But then again, Jason is also one of the smart kids who hangs out with the popular and “in” crowd so he has taken on the role of asshole. Good lord. The first few things you learn about Jason; what he did to Tommy Johnson and how he handles the Cade situation do not make him an MC I find myself wanting an HEA for.

And then – then you turn the page, and you meet the real Jason at home – and your heart breaks. You realize what this boy is up against, with his step father and mother who pretends things don’t happen, and you begin to understand the things he does, he does to survive. You want Jason to survive and yeah; you want him to find love and be happy.

Jason loves living in his “Hippie-Liberal” town of Asheville, North Carolina. The city is alive with the variety and social activity and on a Friday night, at the drum circle – during his escape from the crap at home – he comes face to face with new boy Danny Johnson and his karma of his cousin Tommy. Oh boy, what Jason did to Tommy was awful. How in the world were these two supposed to come together? And what role would Danny play in all of this? Needless to say, I was hooked not only by the easy style of writing the author had, but I needed to know how this would all end.

Tommy, oh boy, did I love Tommy. The dance with Jason at the drum circle and that first kiss? I am such a sucker for the first kiss in romance, and this one was fantastic. I liked how Jason had Kevin, his best friend who’s devotion and friendship never faltered regardless of Jason’s address or his coming out. Kevin was amazing, and when he and Tommy agreed to be on the same page, Jason couldn’t lose. Or could he? Tommy has his own “deals” he has to come to terms with and how what he is doing will affect the budding relationship with Jason. Goodness boys. The things you do and did to one another hurt me. Knock that off would ya? Okay? You are too damn adorable and swoony together to be so mean.

Heartless was packed with secrets and lies that were indeed heartless at the core. It’s what they boys do with them that kept me up until midnight reading and it has been a long time since I book kept me up that late. Oh, the feels boys, the feels were everywhere with you two.

It was like he was a man on an island in the middle of the ocean; he was untouchable, which made me only want to touch him more. Nothing from before was important and nothing that would come after. I wanted him so badly. I don’t think I had really ever desired anything like I desired him. It was then I realized the boy I’d been in love with at thirteen, still had the ability to make me breathless.


This book did a number on me. I adored the hell out of it, and it reaffirmed what I love about a good YA story about boys who love boys. I was a highlighting fiend when Tommy rode in on his white horse, and the boys finally talked. Sure, the relationship moved fast, and there was insta love and you know what? I fell for it, hook, line and sinker. I was a goner and just in love with Tommy and Jason.

I am ready to read the next book to see how they are doing and where they are now.



Heartless JRomanTitle: Heartless (Keeping Secrets #1)
Author: J. Roman
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Pages: 130
Release Date: June 30, 2012
Purchase Links: Harmony Ink, ARe, Amazon, B&N

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This entry was posted on August 5, 2014 by in Reviewer: Sara, YA / NA and tagged , , , , .

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