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"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." - Oscar Wilde

Strong Side by Alison Hendricks

Strong Side - Alison Hendricks

Well, hello my lovely. Where've you been hiding? 


This one came completely out of left field for me. Here I was, waiting for the superbowl and really yearning for a new football story, and suddenly there is this COVER all over my news feed. Athletes, football, difficult past? Hell yeah, sign me up! And this story didn't disappoint. 


Jason, star quarterback with his eyes set on the NFL, is slowely but surely crumbling under the pressure of playing, school and finding some peace. His dad with his high expectations isn't exactly helping the matter, and it isn't like Jason is really friends with any of his teammates. 


Enter Derek, the great walk-on with some hang-ups that prevent him from having a chance at a pro-ball future. Jason likes him, wants to help him and finds a good friend along the way. Except, it doesn't exactly stay that way and soon enough things start to get comlplicated. 


I enjoyed that story so much! It a well done friends-to lovers story, with a lot of coming-of-age and new adult mixed in. It wasn't your typical football/jocks gfy/ofy story and I liked that a lot. The little twists kept me interested and both MCs drew me right in. Some of the solutions might have been a little too easy in my opinion. If the very mixed reactions to the superbowl halftime show showed us one thing, then it's that the NFL (maybe even sports in general) are still one of the most homophobic areas in society. Sometimes it's blatantly obvious, sometimes it's a little more subtle, but all in all, the sports world hasn't come as far as some of us might've hoped after a few of the bravest men came out during their active career.

That said, I was very surprised and somewhat sceptical when Jason seemed to have no problem at all going public with his bisexuality and his relationship with Derek after so little time to think it through. Of course I wish it was that easy, and in that respect this story is a nice fantasy, but although I'm not into romance for the realism, I didn't quite buy this part. It was just a bit too easy. Same goes for Jason's dad. It was nice how he came around so fast, but again, I wasn't exactly convinced.

(show spoiler)


All in all, this was a good story and I see a lot of pontential here. I am definitely looking forward to reading more from this author! But this is also a self-pubbed debut novel. So it has it's issues. When "stakes" are grilled and "wright" is shifted from one foot to the another, I did get pulled out of the story a little. In the end though, I still enjoyed the book very much, so I'll give it 4 stars and a big thumbs up.