*We received this book in exchange for an honest review*
Everyone at West Essex High School wants to be a varsity field hockey player. The football and basketball players never win championships. But this coach is tough and only 20 girls make the team every year.
Six girls get their dream of playing…but there is a lot of pressure. The team lost in the state championships last year and the coach will do anything to prevent another embarrassment.
The night of the team roster going up, the girls have a sleepover. Instead of a cute initiation ritual and a good night sleep, coach is calling all the shots in hopes of bringing the team together. Except, he’s more manipulative than any of them thought possible. He might unite them after all…against him.
First things first, this book felt unique because of the six POVs. Meet Phoebe, Grace, Ali, Kearson, Mel and Luci. Ali and Kearson choked during the big game and are trying to prove themselves. Mel got into her dream college for field hockey, but still lets coach run her life. Phoebe’s injury kept her sidelined for the end of last season and now she’s planning a come back. Grace and Luci are new to varsity and just want to be accepted by their older peers.
A big portion of this book focused on female friendships. Mel and Phoebe were at the center of this because they had been best friends forever. However, Phoebe’s injury hurt their relationship. Despite the hurdles they faced, it was great to see their friendship grow stronger. Each woman faced a challenge that they overcame over the course of the book. As the team grew to trust one another, their bond grew. It was refreshing to see a book portray such strong female friendships. Instead of tearing each other down, these women lifted one another up…bringing down their manipulative coach along the way. The reader felt compelled to watch them succeed and come together as a team!
Speaking of their coach, he was the worst. We found it interesting that Vivian never told us his name, only referring to him as “Coach” throughout the book. By not giving him a name, it made the reader realize that this type of man can take on many forms and is more common than one would think. Not just a coach, but perhaps a boyfriend or a classmate. We loved that this book tackled the important theme of strong women banding together to break the chain of manipulation and abuse.
There wasn’t a ton of romance in this book— but that almost felt okay. If you’re regular readers of our blog, then you know we love romance. Too much romance would’ve detracted from the story and the book’s overall message. It was more important that the women form strong bonds with each other than with men. However, we were glad that Mel realized her treatment of Gordy was rude and wrong. We’re glad they managed to make it work in the end!
Overall, this was an entertaining book. We were eagerly trying to piece together each character’s story. To see it all come together in the end was satisfying.