Bloomington High School Lions’ star goalie Sebastian Hughes should be excited about his senior year: His teammates are amazing, and he’s got a coach who doesn’t ask anyone to hide their sexuality. But when his estranged childhood-best-friend Emir Shah shows up at summer training camp, Sebastian realizes the team’s success may end up in the hands of the one guy who hates him. Determined to reconnect with Emir for the sake of the Lions, he sets out to regain Emir’s trust. But to Sebastian’s surprise, sweaty days on the pitch, wandering the town’s streets, and bonding on the weekends spark more than just friendship between them.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I did have trouble getting into the story a bit because there were so many characters at first and I just wasn't connecting, but eventually I did. It was a sweet, adorable romance that left you feeling good and wanting more. I love soccer and I don't see many YA books that really incorporate the sport the way this did. We need more non-heteronormative love stories because there are all kinds of kids and they all deserve tos ee themselves represented positively in fiction.
3.5 I have mixed feelings about this book. The first 30% was sooo slow for me and I was really contemplating DNFing this one because I was not connecting with the characters or the voice. I don't know what won me over or made me connect but around the 45% mark I was hooked. I could really hear Bastian's voice then and I was very invested in the team and whether they were going to beat their rivals. I loved all the representations and attitudes in this book. There were parents who were actually supportive and could even be considered role models. The coach was a great adult figure in their lives too. I was excited to see how the team did not care about their fellow teammates sexualities and how they stood up for each other, especially in the locker room against their rivals. I liked the fact that Emir was Muslim but it wasn't made a big deal out of. We got to see a little bit about how prayer worked in his life but other than that it was just another facet of his life. I was also very excited to see a gay Muslim character. I am confused, however, on why he didn't observe Ramadan. It could potentially be occurring when they first go off to camp so I was wanting some sort of mention of that because it is such an important religious event for them. I was also really pleased with Lily's response to Bastian not knowing what to do with his life. It was refreshing to see a character so lost. Many people go into their senior year of high school having no clue where they want to go to school, if they do at all, or what their future holds. You don't have to know right then and it's okay if you have to take some time to figure it out. I really think that teens should get to see more examples of this so they don't feel so alone. The representation was superb and so were the very real problems that many, if not all, teenagers face. Towards the end, I was really getting Bastian's unique voice but I think it needed to be stronger in the first third. Overall, it was a really great read and I can't wait to recommend this to some friends.