Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Showstopper marries two of my favorite parts of Heart Eye Press’s World of True North: Moo U and Vino & Veritas. Regina Kyle’s romance follows Adam and Kolby, two seemingly very different heroes. Adam is a college hockey superstar who has transferred from another university due to a personal issue. While he is “out” to his closest friends and family, he isn’t really interested in being the “bisexual hockey star” so he doesn’t “announce” it to everyone, specifically his new teammates. Adam meets Kolby on one of his first days on campus when Adam needs help with changing a class at the campus registrar. From the moment they meet, there is an insta-attraction even though Kolby, who works part-time in the registrar’s office, makes assumptions about Adam while Adam is trying to avoid any kind of relationship. When Adam must stay in his scheduled Improv class, he has no idea that Kolby, a theater major, is also a student in the class. As Adam navigates this class with trepidation, he grows closer to Kolby to help him through it. When a special theatrical opportunity comes to Burlington U, the tables turn, and Kolby needs Adam’s help. The more time these two spend together, the more their attraction grows. However, people from their pasts come to potentially upend their growing happiness together and threaten Adam’s future. Will they make it to their happy ending?
There is much to adore about Regina Kyle’s Showstopper. For me, Kolby is the most interesting character in her story. A former Mormon, Kolby is living out and proud. He knows himself, and he works hard to live his life on his own terms. Imagining Kolby with the ex-Mormon background makes him layered. It’s also incredibly timely when more of this discussion is finding space on social media. His past obviously brings complications to his relationship with Adam, but it also has forged him into a resolute, insightful young man. He becomes this free-spirited guide for Adam.
Now, that doesn’t mean I didn’t adore Adam because I did. His journey is also timely given that more and more sports players are “coming out.” We’re seeing this becoming normalized. You might expect that Adam’s $exuality is secreted to all, but it isn’t and Kyle’s pacing of Adam’s revelation of it to his team is spot-on. The consequences of it show her deft storytelling in undermining the anxiety of Adam’s “coming out.”
And of course, the connection of Adam to past Moo U stories and Kolby’s connection to the Vino and Veritas ones add another great story to this world. From start to finish, I lost myself in their journey. By my estimation, Showstopper is another perfect addition to the World of True North.
In love and romance,