The Making of Us (Checking Him Out #4)


Debbie McGowan


Beaten Track Publishing

Release Date

June 20th, 2017



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When English Lit. student Jesse Thomas meets Leigh Hunter, he has to reconsider a few assumptions he's made about himself.

Two years ago, Jesse joined Pride—the uni’s LGBT+ society—to support best friend Noah, and Noah’s boyfriend, Matty. As a straight, cismale ally, Jesse keeps a low profile—not difficult for someone as shy and body-conscious as he is.

Leigh Hunter is Noah and Matty’s new housemate. Born with a life-threatening congenital condition, Leigh is intersex and identifies as queer—none of which alters Jesse’s conviction that they are the most beautiful person in the world.

While Jesse and Leigh get to know each other, a new academic year begins in earnest, bringing with it the usual challenge of balancing work and play. Add in a week’s holiday in Cornwall that Jesse and Leigh half-wish they hadn’t agreed to, Jesse’s unplanned involvement in the election of Pride’s new officers, and some big decisions for Noah and Matty, it’s going to be an interesting semester all round.

NOTE: this is a stand-alone novel, but you might wish to read the series in order.



Book Cover

  • Well-done


  • Memorable after I put it down for a few hours


  • How Jesse was feeling so great about himself...
  • I enjoy reading about intersex people; although not technically male/male romance in the stereotypical sense, there aren't many books out there that fall into this genre, though
  • That Jesse avoids an identity crisis and likes Leigh for just the way they are and not the parts they have
  • I love learning about medical disorders, and I'm glad all of the stereotypes associated with intersex and overweight people simply existing are brought up**
  • How the author shows the ridiculous amount of bi-phobia/bi-erasure in the GSA; if they're supposed to be so accepting, they're doing a shitty job***
  • The shipmates instead of boyfriend/girlfriend is super clever, and definitely something I'd like to use in case of an unconventional relationship...arr!
  • It's a really sweet story overall; it's cute seeing two shy people trying to get to know each other, and I was absolutely NOT expecting Politician Jesse :)

Character Depth

  • Hip deep

Mood Upon Completion

  • Happy
  • Hoping for a sequel


  • Very few/no typos

Sex Scenes

  • Decently sweet^


  • …but then someone comes along and reminds him of how fat he is*
  • Jesse's self-flagellation regarding his weight management classes****
  • Sarah; although the author made a valiant effort to humanize her, it doesn't excuse her actions

Emotional Depth

  • Weakly emotional

Content Warnings

  • None^^

Thank you to the author for including a brief glossary outlining the different parts of the British educational system. I’ve read books set in England for years, and still couldn’t grasp the U.S. equivalents because authors assume we know. I’ll be like “I don’t know what the hell this is, but it sounds like an exit exam” or “these students seem really old, so I’m guessing sixth form isn’t sixth grade?”


*Jesse was trying to save someone’s life, and someone essentially told him they were surprised he was fast for how fat he is.


**This book caused me to look up congenital adrenal hyperplasia, which according to the Mayo Clinic means they are deficient in cortisol, which regulates your body’s response to illness or stress; mineralocorticoids, such as aldosterone, which regulate sodium and potassium levels; or androgens, such as testosterone, which are sex hormones. In many cases, CAH results in lack of cortisol and overproduction of androgens.


***The GSA president feels that allies shouldn’t be welcome because others may not feel safe, and that they should start their own group, but she excludes the closeted people who wouldn’t come at all if they couldn’t pose as allies. Their only option is to be out, or alone. That’s stupid, and the exact opposite of inclusivity.


****And while yes, I agree with him that it IS unfair that thin people often are such through very little effort whereas we have to fight for it, that’s the way it is. We have to accept ourselves the way we are or…yes, we DO have to keep a food log. Yes, we DO have to work out. In my case, I had to also drastically change my entire metabolism permanently to see any progress, and no pill can do that. If we keep doing the same thing over and over again, nothing changes – and it seems like later in the story, Jesse finally gets that.


^The sex scenes are non-explicit, which seems to fit the story well; although I wouldn’t mind a bit more showing and telling, Jesse isn’t overly concerned about what parts go where and how – so we shouldn’t be, either.


^^Unfortunately, if there were any warnings, I forgot to note them.

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