College freshman Kinsley Bryant is the soccer star to watch. Newly recruited to join the ULA soccer team (and considered a shoo-in for the Olympics), Kinsley’s excited to learn as much as she can from her world-class coach. She didn’t expect that Liam Wilder, the world-famous soccer player, the Olympic medal winner, the tabloids’ favorite bad boy, would sign on for a season of volunteer coaching.
Every woman in America is crushing on Liam, Kinsley included. Every time it starts looking like Liam might reciprocate Kinsley’s interest, he cools off. Is it due to the team’s strict policy against fraternization or is he just not interested?
So, I’m making some progress on my goal to read R.S. Grey’s entire backlist (this book was #5 of the year). There have been some huge hits (Anything You Can Do, The Foxe and the Hound, and The Allure of Julian Lefray wowed me) and a near-miss (The Allure of Dean Harper left something to be desired), but Grey is one of my favorite NA authors right now. Scoring Wilder falls somewhere in between “love” and “meh” on my rating scale, probably because I’ve come to expect such great things from this author. I liked it more than Dean Harper but less than Julian Lefray. (In case you haven’t memorized my previous ratings, that means that Wilder rounds out at about four stars.)
Let me expand.
As a love interest, Liam Wilder can definitely hold his own. He’s broody, he’s moody, he’s aggressive when he needs to be and a he’s total teddy bear the rest of the time. He has a great relationship with his mom and stands up against bullying and loves his friends but also calls them out when they do something stupid. I don’t even know who I was picturing when I read about him, but it was a good picture.
Kinsley can be great. It’s just that she sometimes isn’t. I suppose that she’s a pretty realistic nineteen-year-old in that respect, but I just wish that certain aspects of her personality could have been done differently. I was fine with her jokes. The fact that her thoughts veered into sex more often than not didn’t bother me, either. But the slut-shaming. Oh my god, the slut-shaming. Can we not?
Because every girl that Kinsley doesn’t like is a slut, a whore, a tramp, or a bimbo. Every girl that does something that upsets her gets slapped with one of these labels. There’s some really over-the-top drama with one of her teammates that results in a great deal of insult-slinging, and what’s the point? That whole thing was so tangential to the actual plot that it felt out of place and forced.
One of the things I’ve appreciated about Grey’s books in the past is that they don’t devolve into this Girl vs. Girl mindset. I could definitely tell that this was some vintage R.S. Grey because of it and I definitely commend her for not including this sort of nonsense in her newer books.
That said, there are also some strong female relationships in this book. I loved Becca and I wish that we could’ve spent some more time with her. (Any chance of a Becca book? Maybe? No?) Emily also seemed like a great friend and I wish she would have had more of a presence in the book. It’s not often that a character really reminds me of myself, but I definitely connected with Emily.
I think, in the end, that three things saved this book for me:
- Becca, and
I’m still excited to continue down my path of reading every R.S. Grey book ever. Next up is Settling the Score.
Final rating: ★★★★☆