Terrific, PG, young-adult, sports romance
Reading Level: Young Adult
Release Date: November 11, 2016
Pages: 83 pages
Source: Review copy from author
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry
This PG, young-adult, sports romance is set in South Carolina. Sixteen-year old Mackenzie Bell comes from a wealthy family. Her beautiful, 41-year-old mother, Delilah (who is aptly named), is a serial divorcee and country-clubbing socialite who has broken up multiple marriages in her pursuit of a string of wealthy husbands. In the process, she has had little use for her daughter except as a prop, whenever she chooses to play the part of a doting mother in an effort to snare her latest man. Currently, she is about to net husband number 5, and Mac is disgusted with her mother’s amoral approach to relationships.
Mac was conceived when her mother cheated on her first husband, and it led to their divorce. Delilah has never told Mac who the man was. Fortunately for Mac, since her mother has never nurtured her, ever since she was a small child, she has considered her near neighbors, the Kendricks, to be her true family. They consist of loving and supportive parents who welcome Mac into their home to the point that she practically lives with them, Mac’s best friend Emma who is Mac’s age, and Emma’s older brother, 17-year old Jesse.
Mac has been secretly in love with handsome, athletic, compassionate Jesse for years, but she believes she can’t risk acting on the attraction because it would not only devastate her if it ended, but it might also endanger her relationship with the Kendrick family as a whole. For those reasons, she’s done her best to never let Jesse know that she feels far more for him than simple friendship.
This is a novella, not a full novel, but even so, it has a complete and extremely well executed arc of the classic, “friends to romance” plot. Mac is the star tennis player on her high school’s girl’s tennis team, and Jesse is the star of the boy’s tennis team. There are four types of scenes these two attractive and sympathetic protagonists have together that are emblematic of a deep and powerful, longtime friendship: their connection within the warm and caring family unit of the Kendricks; their one-on-one friendship in which he is, and always has been, very emotionally supportive of Mac; their pairing as a male/female doubles tennis duo for a sports competition, and ultimately, the two of them testing the waters to move into a committed romantic relationship.
I enjoyed every part of this well-written novella. Every aspect of an excellent, classic romance plot is here, and fans of romance will love that about it. In spite of the sexual part being G-rated, there is strong sexual chemistry between this couple, another crucial aspect of a memorable romance story.
If you are a fan of well-written, teen sports novels with a “girl power” focus, as I am, you will greatly enjoy this novella for that reason as well.
In short, for all the reasons above, I highly recommend this book to romance fans of all ages.
I have rated this novel as being PG because there is a lot of underage drinking, including drunkenness. But there is no sex, only kissing.
I rate this novella as follows:
Romantic Hero: 5
Romance Plot: 5
Girl-Power Sports Plot: 5