Throw Like a Girl by Sarah Henning
Romance, Contemporary Romance, YA
Liv Rodinsky, a softball star, and Grey, the injured star quarterback, find a mutual solution to their problems: Liv Rodinsky, the temporary starting quarterback in Grey’s absence. Liz gets herself a new sport while she’s banned from playing softball, and Grey gets some help on the field.
I was underwhelmed by the romance. I got to 50% and it was already a “happily ever after”. I knew that it wouldn’t last, but it felt like such a natural conclusion to their romance. There hadn’t been a huge conflict introduced yet and it felt like all of the tension had broken. I get that this moment was meant to give the reader a sense of unease so that the third act would catch them off guard, but I don’t think it succeeded – at least with me. (Everyone reads books differently, and you’ll notice that this book was still a four-star read for me.) The conflict that followed felt explosive in comparison, though I suppose that was the point.
I think what we were missing was Grey’s POV. Most romances I’ve read have both sides of the story and that allows the reader to see the full picture. We also get to see that both characters are attracted to each other. There might be many questions in the mind of the characters, but no questions in the reader’s mind. With Grey’s POV, we would have known about the conflict at the 50% mark and been anticipating it so much more clearly (and therefore feeling the tension!).
I’ll put my final con here and say that this didn’t affect my rating of this novel. I couldn’t let it, because it really wasn’t the fault of Liv or Grey or the actual plot. Here it is: I hated Liv’s parents for most of the book. They didn’t listen, railroaded her repeatedly, and they didn’t have good reasons against any of her points (even though good reasons existed in some instances, they didn’t bring them up and used other arguments instead, which made it feel like they were putting much effort into parenting). They also believed everyone else over her instantly, no matter what. NO TRUST despite her being an actually great kid. I do feel inclined to point out that this was mostly her dad, though her mom didn’t stop him from doing these things despite being very fair when her dad wasn’t around.
The true plot of the novel – and the reason this is a four-star read for me – is Liv’s journey to understanding her value beyond softball (or any sport). Her entire identity is built around being a sports star and when that’s removed from her life, she’s forced to figure out who she is. The second book in this “series”, It’s All in How You Fall, deals with a similar plot line. It’s refreshing to see these high school-aged girls figuring out such important life things so early on. It took me a long time to separate myself from my interests and force myself to build my identity outwards and upwards. It’s such a long process and one that I’m sure I won’t be finished with for another decade. I makes me so proud, in a way, to see them starting it so early. I had a conversation with my friends recently where we talked about wasted 20s and wasted time. There were so many things we wanted to have already experienced by now, but things didn’t work out. There’s nothing we can do to go back now, but we still have time. Realizing it has allowed us to make plans to do those things and create those memories in the future.
Back to Liv! She does exactly that, though on a smaller scale. She finds a healthier relationship with sports going forwards and is able to hold her own with her parents, gaining their trust back. Liv makes friends outside of softball, too, which helps her to broaden her perspective. It was a pleasure to see her grow and change.
This review was longer than normal, but I’m so glad I was able to get all of my thoughts onto the page, so to speak. I did love this book and I can’t wait to read more from Sarah Henning in the future.
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