ARC review: Infraction by Rachel Van Dyken

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Shortly after the events of Fraternize, Miller and Kinsey are back with their own story.  Anderson, Kinsey’s horrible ex, is back in town – and playing for the Bellevue Bucks! Kinsey’s older brother, Jax, asks his best friend and teammate Miller to stand in as Kinsey’s pretend boyfriend to keep Anderson away, but the whole Bucks team knows that anybody who touches Kinsey will incur Jax’s wrath.  This whole situation would probably be easier if Kinsey and Miller hadn’t shared a secret, drunken night in Vegas.

Alright.  Let’s do this.

I loved Miller in Fraternize and although I stand by my original opinion that he and Emerson should have ended up together, I was happy to see him get his own shot at love.  I also loved Kinsey the previous book, and despite being a little hung up on my ship that never sailed, I can admit that she and Miller had some definite chemistry.

Everything starts at the end of Fraternize and continues into the beginning of this book when Kinsey and Miller drunkenly hook up in Vegas.  Nothing comes of it because the two of them pretend that it never happened, due to both Miller being a huge jerk and both of them knowing that Jax would kill Miller if he ever found out.  But once Jax sort of forces them back together, everything combusts and it’s hard for them to keep their hands to themselves.

I can go for a good fake relationship story or a good forbidden relationship story, but it’s honestly kind of weird when they’re combined.  Especially weird was the degree of Jax’s overprotectiveness, which absolutely surpassed “concerned older sibling” and headed straight for “there’s something weird going on here.”  I had hoped that it would make sense once more of Kinsey’s backstory was revealed, but honestly, it just got weirder.  The whole weirdness – and I’m sorry that I can’t think of any other word to describe it – between Jax and Kinsey made it difficult to focus on the actual romance between Kinsey and Miller.

Adding to that weirdness is the fact that Jax’s love story is interwoven with Kinsey’s – I adored him in Fraternize and I think that he deserved his own book.  He shouldn’t have been shoved into Kinsey’s book like that.  And, no spoilers, but Jax’s ending?  Totally unrealistic.

Now let’s talk about how literally every character in this book tried to control what Kinsey did.  Her ex, Anderson, was vilified (and rightfully so) for wanting to control every aspect of her life, but let’s be honest here.  So did Jax.  And, to a lesser degree, so did a number of other characters.  Kinsey is a grown woman and regardless of what’s in her past, she should have full ownership of her life choices.  If she wants to make mistakes and get her heart broken, let her.  That’s part of life.  Her family and friends should understand that.

All in all, I really wish that I would have enjoyed this one more.  While I was a big fan of Fraternize, I struggled to finish Infraction and just couldn’t get over the weird vibes between Jax and Kinsey.  Here’s hoping that my next RVD book will be better.

Final rating: ★★☆☆☆

I received a free advance copy of Infraction from the publisher (via Netgalley) in exchange for an honest review.