Uncovering Ray (Ellery College #1) by Edie Danford


 When the right love uncovers the wrong secrets…Hey, man–you a chick or a dude? Dealing with the same old boring question is a downer for college drop-out Ray Fayette, especially when it’s asked by the low-tipping, over-privileged students at the Ellery Diner.

When six-foot-five, muscle-bound straight arrow Wyatt Kelly publicly smacks down a fellow frat bother for caveman behavior, Ray’s interest is sparked. Wyatt’s not-so-subtle attraction sparks a few other things too.

But getting to know Wyatt proves dangerous. His sexy smiles and smart questions slide under even Ray’s prickliest defenses. Worse, his academic mentor happens to be Ray’s ex-stepfather, the dictatorial jerk who just kicked Ray out of his house. Again.

Wyatt suggests a housing arrangement that has surprising appeal—there’s space available at his frat house—but he’s unaware just how complicated Ray’s “identity issues” are. Ellery College kicked out Ray for a reason—a reason that could deep-six Wyatt’s academic career and Ray’s newly hopeful heart.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24295489-uncovering-ray?ac=1
This is the first book I have read by Ms. Danford and I am impressed. I began Uncovering Ray with my preconceived notion regarding the androgynous main character Ray and his or her gender. I won’t tell you what it was because if I slip up and say whether I was right or wrong, I don’t want to be the reviewer who lets the cat out of the bag on this one. What do I mean by this? Ms. Danford does such a wonderful job in building the story that the reader does not find out for certain as to whether Ray is “a
chick or a dude” until 46% in when Wyatt sticks his hand down Ray’s pants. I know what you’re thinking, surely Wyatt’s character, specifically Wyatt’s sexuality, would give some hint as to what Ray’s gender is, but no he does not. In fact, when Ray attempts to call Wyatt out on his attraction, he says “I know what attraction is. I know when I’m feeling it and I know when someone else is attracted to me.” There is absolutely nothing in Wyatt’s actions toward Ray that reveal Ray’s gender until that moment, but when Wyatt goes in it is clear by his actions that he knew whether Ray was “a chick or a dude” and wasted no time in making the opportunity count. Both before and after the reveal, the chemistry between Ray and Wyatt is apparent and lends a very sensual nature to their moments of intimacy.
While Ray’s androgyny is obviously a large part of the story, Uncovering Ray is a stunning coming of  age tale. Ray is floundering in life and is unsure of what path to pursue. Despite Wyatt’s best attempts to learn more about Ray as he attempts to befriend Ray, we don’t know much more about Ray’s parents other than that they’re not all that involved in Ray’s life, especially since Ray dropped out of college. The most stable force in Ray’s life is Dave, the pseudo-stepbrother belonging to Ray’s mother’s second
husband, Tom, from Tom’s marriage after Ray’s mom. Confusing – only in writing this review because in the book Ms. Danford does a much better job of laying out the relationship and while it doesn’t look like it in the beginning (think tough love parenting), Tom is the other stable presence in Ray’s life. Slowly and persistently, Wyatt works his way into Ray’s life as he intends to become yet another source of stability tor Ray. But Ray has a terrible track record with relationships and doesn’t plan on Wyatt coming back around after summer break. Ray’s motto seems to be no plans = no disappointment. But coming of age requires growth and with growth comes growing pains. And Ray’s growing pains are harsh, terribly timed, and nearly devastating. But this is when Ray finds out who it is that can be counted on to have Ray’s back and there are far more people vying for that position than Ray ever anticipated. Uncovering Ray was a beautiful story and I look forward to Ms. Danford’s next book to see what she has in store for the students of Ellery College.