Author: Sarah Granger
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (April 26, 2013)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥3.5 Hearts
Blurb: Ryan Betancourt has got it made: he’s reached the top tier of the tennis world thanks to a wild-card entry to the US Open. Ryan is meeting players he has idolized for years, including his teenage crush, Josh Andrews. But he isn’t ready for the politics and manipulation that come with life at the top.
Josh Andrews is closeted, private, and difficult to get to know. He’s been playing tennis since he could walk, won his first tournament at five, and was sent to Spain at thirteen to attend a tennis academy. Before a knee injury forced him into a year off, he was ranked the number one player in the world. Now he’s back—and intent on winning.
Josh and Ryan first meet at a tournament in Brisbane. Ryan excitedly greets Josh only to be ignored. Crushed, he realizes the golden boy of tennis isn’t all he seems. Only in the team-building environment of training for the Davis Cup does Josh open up enough for them to grow closer. Their developing relationship is everything Ryan ever wanted, and he is blissfully happy. But inevitably they have to play against each other, and everything changes.
Review: I liked this story quite a bit. Well, I’m known to love all stories that include athletes of any sport, but tennis, tennis, oh man I love it. There is something about that sport that drives me crazy and I’m not just referring to the wonderful way the shorts hang on those players body.
Anyhow, I was pleasantly surprised to read this book. It seemed so very in the game and while I’m not the manic fan type that would know all the peculiar names of every move, I did feel as if I was watching a game set out there on the court while reading it.
And the story itself was very interesting, sweet and with a healthy dose of revenge/blood to make me like it even more. Ryan here, who is the narrator of the story, is the “new” guy on the block. After many years of playing tennis, he finally made the top cut and joining the big players. One of those big players is his childhood crush and all-time favorite, Josh Andrews. It’s a dream come true when Ryan spots Josh coming in the field for training, and it’s a dream come crushing down when Josh moves on from Ryan’s meekly “hey Josh” without acknowledging him. So much so that it throws him completely out of balance.
After that first meek attempt and a couple more thrown in for good measure, Ryan makes up his mind that he will not feel bad that the guy he used to worship is not what he thought he is. Until he’s been invited to join the Davis Cup team (yes Josh is part of it) and the two of them not only get along, but become good friends and later… well, more.
It is not easy though maintaining a relationship when you play the top game as Ryan will soon find out. Sharks lurk in dark corners and they attack viciously with the first smell of weakness, distorting and ruining everything in their path.
The book is quite well written. The voice is beautifully naïve and suits Ryan’s youth perfectly. The way he views the game, the joy he finds in it and the way he slowly sees beyond the masks is brilliant. The pair’s relationship was gorgeous and I quite loved it. The fact that it wasn’t all sunshine was a nice addition. The plot had somehow the single-mindedness required in tennis and it easily transported you in the heart of the story. a story that grippes you unexpectedly with the intensity level slowly yet steadily growing and growing until it reached the final point where everything is on the table and all depends on the one final win.
But, what I liked more from this book was the fact that I knew how the story would go, it was transparent that way. Yet, I still got drifted with its flow and delighted with every word I read. A beautiful book, indeed. One I don’t hesitate to recommend to those of you who love athletes thrown in a need-to-work-it romance, where they have to join their forces to win against the bad guy.