Book Reviews

Lucky Seven by E.L. Esch

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Students/Teachers/Professors / New Adult / Erotic Romance
Reviewed by Bob-O-Link on 08-June-2021

Book Blurb

Dante Mathers has forced himself to go out with girls in the past and he does it again when he's approached by the beautiful Serena one day on campus, desperate to prove to himself that he's "normal." But when he loses a drinking contest and is dared to go to the next campus LGBTQ meeting by his best friend, he’s not sure how to handle it. Sure, he could blow it off, but something nagging at the back of his mind compels him to go anyway. After all, his secret first crush was a boy in high school. But is he really forcing himself to go, or is he finally starting to be honest with himself? No need to overthink this, Dante tells himself. It'll be get in, get out. No need to talk to anyone. Easy, right?

Then he meets Sven. Sexy, toned, wearing a leather jacket with spiked up bleach-blond hair, Sven's bad-boy flare sticks out on campus and catches Dante's eye. But there's more to Sven than his punkish looks, and Dante's about to find out all the sultry little details.



First edition published by Loose Id, January 2015.


Book Review

For many of us, our first, tentative sexual experiences disinter memories of uncertainty, fear, even clumsiness. We often may tuck them away with other earthshaking experiences, or as likely, bury them with so many other tentative beginnings. Writing under a pen name, candor is easier, and so my coming out (just as Dante, in my midtwenties no less) is akin to submerging in tepid bathwater – the results may carom between luxuriating, shivering, and peeing. After an unsatisfactory hetero experience in his teens, on a bet, Dante is now sitting in a self-help circle at a local LGBTQ meeting. Dante’s world is full of his inner dialogs, replete with “would’ve” and “could’ve”. While somewhat asexual, and basically a social loner, his imagination is whetted by the group. And there he meets Sven, usually called Seven.


Getting friendly with Seven, purportedly straight, is quite the adventure. Seven is at war with his surroundings; he is a willing challenge to bullies. His life experiences, and their results, have produced someone totally idiosyncratic. In some ways, as with Dante, he is still in the beginning stages of adulthood.


A relationship, actually more a friendship, starts. There is some mystery provided which, though it engages the reader, is mostly for us watching Dante being subjected to constructed suspense – our observations much as would be at a movie.


And then we witness Dante and Sven grow into the adults they are destined to be. Cross-dressing is explored as a vehicle to hide one’s true self. After some self-analysis on coming out, Dante ponders on how his family would react to coming out. Remember the immediacy of that issue? And all the while, we observe the charm of the personal growth the main characters, nicely and honestly presented by author Esch – filled with uncertainty. Who does what first? Will I be any good at it?


In summary, let’s think of ‘Lucky Seven’ as a present in our Christmas stocking. No, it’s not as exciting as this year’s top-selling toy about which you dreamed. And, fer sure, it isn’t just a lump of coal. Picture Aunt Molly’s fruitcake – relatively dense, moderately tasty. But, golly gee, really?


My persnickety observation – as always: What’s with the midbook reference to Sven’s library having the collected works of Dickinson? Surely, that should only be a reference to a single, slender novel.




DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by the author via GRRT for the purpose of a review.


Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 195 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 01-June-2021
Price $2.99 ebook, $10.99 paperback
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