Monday, September 2, 2019

Book Review for Love, Sidelined


I haven't read a college sports romance in a while and when I read the back of Tiffany Odekirk's new book, I jumped at the chance to read it.

In Love, Sidelined, we meet Jason Jennings, the star quarterback for UCAL when he comes across a guy hitting on cheerleader Allie Hollis. He "saves" her from a guy-who-won't-take-no-for-an-answer and then they do the dishes together. He's intrigued by her, but she gives him the friend card and leaves it at that. But Allie's best friend and Jason's cousin are dating, so Jason and Allie are thrown together a lot and feelings start to develop. But Jason is trying to live down the bad boy reputation he had before he served an LDS mission and prove that he's a changed man, and Allie is not only waiting for a missionary, but also still dealing with trauma she suffered in high school. There is a lot of cute dates and fun moments, but the characters also have secrets that are slowly revealed to each other and the reader.

I really liked how three-dimensional Allie and Jason are. Neither of them have had the perfect life and they've made decisions that have far-reaching consequences. They are both trying to figure out where they stand and there are some assumptions made on both parts which lead to some funny---and some sad---misunderstandings. At first, the story may seem like a fluffy bad-boy-turned-good romance, but there are also some pretty heavy themes including drinking and sexual assault. The author doesn't go into details, but the reader can still feel the lasting effects of an attack that happened years before that affected the life of our heroine and those around her. For me, this was a well-told redemption story from an LDS perspective that has a good balance of real issues facing so many people today, mixed with light-heartedness and spiritual themes. Very well done.

You can get your copy here

Here's the back copy:

Jason Jennings made a tough call two years ago when he left behind his status as a hard-partying star quarterback in order to serve the Lord. Recently returned from a mission now, he's ready to get back on the football field at UCAL. But despite turning his life around, his bad-boy reputation is proving hard to shake.

Allie Hollis is everything a cheerleader should be—beautiful, outgoing, and smart—but her brilliant smile hides a devastating secret. So when Jason begins to show interest in her, there's no question: her answer is no.

Yet, in the face of Allie's chilly response, Jason's gentle persistence pays off, and a tentative friendship grows. Their chemistry is obvious, but Allie's determination to steer clear of a relationship with Jason goes deeper than he realizes. When the truth of her painful history comes to light, the couple must decide whether they will remain on the sidelines or jump back into the game of love.

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