Starting from Scratch – Housemates #5

April 30, 2017

And for another day, another wonderful novel from the even more wonderful Jay Northcote. It was send to me as an ARC and let me tell you, I LOVE this story. In the few weeks I have had it, I must have read it at least 5 times already and I know I will be reading it again and again. I love the whole Housemates series, but I especially love this part. Starting from Scratch is part 5 in the series, my reviews for part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4 can also be found on this blog.

Ben is transgender (he used to be a girl) and back at university after hormone treatment and chest surgery. His new housemates have no idea about his history and Ben wants to keep it that way. He’s starting from scratch and his life is finally on track, except in the romance department. The idea of dating guys as a guy is exhilarating but terrifying, because if Ben wants a boyfriend he’ll have to disclose his secret.

Sid is drawn to Ben from the moment they meet. He normally gets what he wants—in the short term at least. Ben’s guarded at first, and Sid’s not used to guys rejecting his advances. He eventually charms his way through Ben’s defences and helps Ben on his journey of sexual awakening.

It doesn’t matter to Sid that Ben is trans. He’s attracted to the whole person, and isn’t worried about what is—or isn’t—in Ben’s pants. They’re good together, and both of them are falling hard and fast, but Ben’s insecurities keep getting in the way. If Sid can convince Ben he’s committed, will Ben finally be able to put his heart on the line?

After only a few pages I fell in love with Ben and I could so understand the struggle he had to go to. Every single time you want to let someone in, you have to trust them with one of the biggest secrets in your life. And will they still want to be with you when they know the truth? Transgender people don’t just come out once, they have to come out over and over again and every time it is as hard as the first time. I can only imagine going to that again and again.

Sid was just wonderful and sweet, he totally understood Ben and made him feel appreciated and loved no matter what happened. And when he learned the truth, he didn’t run away, he embraced it and dealt with it in the most wonderful way.

Words are almost not enough to describe how much I like this book, but a great big compliment has to go to Jay for writing a story that I am sure is in many ways almost autobiographical in nature. This will forever be one of my favourites  so thank you for writing this.

You can learn more about Jay Northcote at his personal page here. This book is for sale at Amazon and My Book.

Series Information and Links

The Housemates Series is a collection of standalone stories set around a student house in Britain. This new adult series focuses on themes of self-discovery and sexual awakening.

Helping Hand (Housemates #1)

Like a Lover (Housemates #2)

Practice Makes Perfect (Housemates #3)

Watching and Wanting (Housemates #4)

Author Bio

Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.

Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.


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