“Just don’t ever stop looking at me… Look at me like you expect more. Look at me like it isn’t going to be easy.” He breathes the words against my lips… “Make me earn it… I’ll earn it. I’ll never stop trying to earn it… to earn you.”
Holy wow, this story had SO. MUCH. HEART!! It was a YA sports romance that drew me in from the first few pages. The author perfectly captured the intense passion of the game in a way that brought tears to my eyes and made me want to cheer out loud, and in the midst of it all was a beautiful forbidden romance between the coach’s daughter and the new star quarterback from the wrong side of the tracks, falling in love against the odds, believing in their love enough to withstand criticism, racism, and jealousy, and playing hard enough to win. My heart raced and the story came alive as I read. It was different. It was inspiring. It was beautiful. I highly recommend it!
Nico Medina’s world is eleven miles away from mine. During the day, it’s a place where doors are open—where homes are lived in, and neighbors love. But when the sun sets, it becomes a place where young boys are afraid, where eyes watch from idling cars that hide in the shadows and wicked smoke flows from pipes.
West End is the kind of place that people survive. It buries them—one at a time, one way or another. And when Nico was a little boy, his mom always told him to run.
I’m Reagan Prescott—coach’s daughter, sister to the prodigal son, daughter in the perfect family. Life on top. Lies. My world is the ugly one. Private school politics and one of the best high school football programs in the country can break even the toughest souls. Our darkness plays out in whispers and rumors, and money and status trump all. I would know—I’ve watched it kill my family slowly, strangling us for years.
In our twisted world, a boy from West End is the only shining light.
I hated him before I needed him.
I fell for him fast.
I loved him when it was almost too late.
When two ugly worlds collide, even the strongest fall.
But my world…it hasn’t met the boy from West End.
Right from the start of the book, I was blown away by the writing and utterly consumed by the story. It felt like I was right there seeing everything unfold before my eyes. This was the first book I’d read by this author and several times within the first few chapters, I literally stopped reading, sat back, and just went “WOW!” .
This story takes place during the senior year of high school. Raegan came from a world of privilege, power, and opportunity. From the outside, her world seemed perfect, but that was only a facade hiding the corruption and ugliness inside. Nico came from the other side of town, the ‘wrong side’, West End… only eleven miles away but a world of poverty ruled by gangs. What West End had that her world could never comprehend was a sense of family — loyalty, devotion, caring, love. The closest thing her world had was their football team, where brotherhood and teamwork were at its heart. But even though Nico was a star student and a better player than anyone they’d ever had on the team, there were people willing to do everything in their power to bring him down. Racism, jealously, and outright bullying followed his every step but in the face of adversity, their love, talent, and determination prevailed.
I’m a part of Nico’s story. And he’s a part of mine. I believe in him. More than I’ve believed in anything.
This is a standalone YA sports romance and in this case it is literally both a sports story and a romance, and I was equally absorbed by both sides. It’s not a steamy read, but you definitely feel the pull between them. I believed in their love and I cheered for their games. I should say that I’m not a sporty person in any way, but I was completely captivated by the games in this book. Usually I’m only really “into” the romance side of stories but during all the sport-focused parts of this book, I wanted to cheer out loud. My heart raced. I felt the thrill of it as though it were happening right before my eyes. It was exciting and I couldn’t help but get caught up in its intensity and momentum.
This truly was an all-consuming read. From the moment I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. It’s a story of unexpected heroes, of overcoming the odds, the determination to win, and the power of love. The writing was addictive, the characters felt real, and the story swept me away. I loved every word and highly recommend it!
Rating: 4.5 stars! Standalone YA sports romance.