Book Review by Rita: Second Skin, by Alex Whitehall

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Second Skin, by Alex Whitehall
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: April 11, 2016

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

When Jay heads to the university’s learning center for help with his math class, he doesn’t expect his tutor to be tall, dark, and handsome. But Roswell is all that and more, and their instant connection over cult movies, books, and TV shows quickly evolves into dating.

That’s when things get tricky.

Roswell might claim he doesn’t have issues with Jay being trans, but when he’s constantly insisting they “take it slow,” Jay’s not so sure. He’s been hurt before, and he’s not going to let it happen again.

But then Roswell reveals that he, too, has a few secrets under his skin.

M/M Romance
Transgender Characters
Contemporary – Science Fiction
New Adult



Second Skin is a quick and fairly light read. The cover is beautiful and I think Alex packs quite a bit of story in under 100 pages. This is only the second book I’ve read featuring transgender characters but I’m pleased to see that more are popping up on my radar. I feel it’s important that Romance embraces the entirety of the LGBTQ+ spectrum, especially with a book such as this where young people can identify with college students Jay and Roswell.

Jay is a student who needs help with his math class and there’s insta-attraction when he meets his new tutor Roswell. They’re both self-proclaimed nerds who have a lot in common and they get along famously right from the start. Ros is open to Jay as a trans man but has a secret of his own and I’ll admit I wondered after the reveal how I didn’t see it coming.

I liked that Alex really makes you think about Jay’s character. Jay’s still coming to terms with his body and dealing with being called a freak. He puts on a confident face when hanging with friends but inside there’s a lot of hurt from a past relationship gone bad that’ll make it difficult for him to trust someone getting close to him. I thought he reacted too harsh when he discovers Roswell’s secret and it wasn’t until I finished the book that I realized what that was really all about.

When something happens to Roswell I was surprised that Jay would go alone to help him considering how mad he was. It says a lot about how the problem he has with Roswell’s secret is more about his own issues and less about Roswell himself. Still, I feel the hurt/comfort trope is a little played out so I would’ve liked to have seen more of a twist in the conflict resolution.

Overall, I think the character development is done well but the dialogue is stilted at times and the story fell a little flat in the end. These are not major issues, though, so I would definitely recommend picking up this enjoyable read.


If there are two types of people in the world, Alex Whitehall probably isn’t one of them, despite being a person. Their favorite pastimes include reading, horseback riding, sleeping, watching geek-tastic television, knitting, eating, and running. And wasting time on the internet. And spending glorious evenings laughing with friends.

While Alex prefers sleeping over doing anything else (except maybe eating), sometimes they emerge from the cave to be social and to hunt for food at the local market. They can be found blogging, reading, and tending after their aloe plants.

Connect with Alex:

You can buy Second Skin from:

Riptide Publishing
Barnes & Noble
All Romance eBooks

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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.


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