Content Warning: Domestic Abuse, Rape and Sexual Assault
Not sure how much of this is a review or me doing a ‘feels dump’.
I have been hearing hype about this book for years. And this is for sure another book I read because of BookTok and like…no one told me this book had sexual assault and domestic abuse in it.
I wasn’t sure how to summarize this book until I saw a BookTok that put this book in a category called ‘superstar athlete fall for a sassy girl”. That is exactly what this book is. It hits all the beats I was expecting along with an ample amount of slapstick humor, steam, and snark .
Let me say.
I get it.
I get the argument that’s been going around about making New Adult an official mainstream genre. This is technically my first New Adult romance and I get how it’s this unique amalgamation of YA and Adult Contemporary Romance.
When I first started this book I was kind of unsure about the college setup. I just felt like the small college setting was an astroturfed high school. Maybe this is because I was an introvert who went to a large urban liberal arts school with no football team–but the way the athletes were these idolized popular boys felt soooo high school to me. But I slowly started to warm up to it.
Hannah is a down-to-earth music major and teen rape supervisor. Hannah being a survivor surprised me because I never hear this talked about when people reference this book. Garrett, the handsome, popular, hockey team captain, convinces Hannah to tutor him–in return he’ll go out with her to get her crush’s attention.
The two become fast friends and Garett also agrees to help Hannah become more comfortable with sex. Which I guess is also the deal? I”m not sure. Honestly, that whole ‘fake dating’ thing doesn’t even really happen. Now that I think about it, this book doesn’t actually have a concrete deal. Most of the book is about them crushing on each other and Hannah entering his world.
This book felt…oddly nostalgic. It was published in 2015 and has mid-2010 vibes. You know when everyone had smartphones but social media wasn’t ubiquitous. Ryan Gosling was a big deal and the characters binge-watch Breaking Bad on DVD and kind of accidentally spoil it.
Garrett is clearly the star of this book. We spend a lot of time with him, his roommates, and jock friends (read sequel bait). They are all good-looking, loyal, and playful with older brother’s best friend energy. Kennedy really hit the spot with the maturity level on these 20-year-old guys. They don’t have it figured out, they say dumb crude things and like to party. Garrett does have to deal with his physically abusive father and I actually liked the way Kennedy explored that storyline. Again it was another dark moment that I wasn’t expecting
I do think Hannah held her own as a character, but her development and world takes a bit of a backseat to Garett. We don’t even meet her friend group until halfway through the book. I also didn’t love that once she starts hanging with Garett suddenly she becomes ‘cool’ and people decided she is worth paying attention to.
I definitely think teenaged me would have been intrigued by a college-set New Adult book. I will say, as someone that left college a decade ago, I was often like “Oh, these characters are SO young” and other times I was like “This is refreshing how chill these younger characters are”
Narrators Christian Fox and Lorelei Avalon keep a good pace and play well off each other. I feel like Avalon’s male voice may have been truer to Garett because of how young her male voices sound.
I don’ know if I’d read another book in this series. If I have to be honest reading more books about a group of rowdy privileged college athletes doesn’t appeal to me. I read the synopsis of the other in the series and none of them jumped out to me.