Looking for a really good sports-themed YA romance? Look no further!
Life loves a good curveball…
Seventeen-year-old Annie Lucas is too young to remember her dad’s glory days as a pitcher for the Yankees. So when her father is offered a coaching position with the Kansas City Royals, Annie is intrigued to see the baseball side of her dad. Of course, knowing he’ll be a mentor to hot young rookie pitcher, Jason Brody, certainly makes it more enticing.
After an awkward first meeting with “Brody” involving very little clothing and a much-too-personal locker room interview, Annie’s convinced she knows Brody’s type: arrogant, self-involved, bossy. As her dad grows closer to the pitching phenom, the friction between Brody and Annie increases. But when opening day arrives and it looks like both her dad and Brody may lose their dream jobs, Annie steps up and offers support. She and Brody call a truce that grows into friendship—and beyond. Falling for a rising star who’s quickly reaching a level that involves rabid female fans is not what Annie would call smart, except suddenly she’s getting hints that maybe this crush isn’t one-sided after all. Could someone like Brody actually fall for a girl like her?
I can’t stand watching baseball in real life (seriously, why can’t they just play for, say, three innings? I could sit through three innings to watch baseball players in those nice tight pants they wear) but I LOVE reading books with baseball players in them. Go figure…
Whatever Life Throws at You is possibly my favorite YA book this year, and the characters (and their fabulous story) are absolutely the reason why. Annie Lucas was a wonderful heroine–responsible, since she’s had to grow up a bit sooner than some of her peers–but still capable of making some *very* questionable choices, as she proves in keeping her growing relationship with rising baseball star Jason Brody a secret. Brody’s made some pretty major mistakes in the past, but he’s trying to turn his life around now–by upping his pitching game and finally getting his GED. A secret romance with his mentor’s underage daughter? So not part of the plan.
After a scantily clad (on Brody’s part, anyway) meet cute–Annie’s “interview” questions and commentary? Awesome–Annie quickly decides she wants nothing to do with the pitcher, because she’s sure she’s got his number. The more she gets to know him, though, the more respect she has for him. And let’s face it, the guy is H.O.T.
Their friendship develops slowly, and their romance at a realistic pace after that. The buildup here is really well done–we only get Annie’s POV (which really works for this story) and for quite a while she’s sure she’s all alone in Crushville. Poor girl 🙂 Even once they’re together, Brody allows Annie, who’s only had one relationship before, set the pace. Really, he’s the ideal YA book boyfriend–absolutely the kind of guy I’d want Mini Moe #2 to have (if I were letting her date before age thirty, that is. Which I’m not. But maybe at that point she could find his thirty-year-old non-fictional equivalent? ;))
Whatever Life Throws at You is all about relationships–not just Annie and Brody’s, but also family relationships (one fantastic one, several not-so-much), friendships, coach/player relationships, and secondary romance that was absolutely adorable. Sometimes the relationships made me smile, sometimes they made me swoon, sometimes they made me teary–both the good and the bad kind of tears.
Two things I especially liked: how Annie and Brody helped each other study (Brody–GED, Annie–Spanish (fanning self)) and the way Annie referred to every non-Brody player on the Royals by their position, never their names. I loved that detail; it made me smile every time.
Oops, make that three things–another highlight was Annie’s eighteenth birthday present. Best one ever. Seriously.
Julie Cross is definitely an author I’ll be reading more from in the future, if this book is representative of her writing!
Rating: 5 stars / A
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
Julie Cross lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three children. She’s a former gymnast and longtime gymnastics fan, coach, and former gymnastics program WHATEVER LIFE THROWS AT YOUctor with the YMCA. She’s a lover of books, devouring several novels a week, especially in the young adult and new adult genres. Outside of her reading and writing credentials, Julie is a committed—but not talented—long-distance runner, creator of imaginary beach vacations, Midwest bipolar-weather survivor, and expired CPR certification card holder, as well as a ponytail and gym-shoe addict.
Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3429117.Julie_Cross