This is a new adult romance novel, so I would recommend it to readers who are either 17+ or are able to handle mature sexual content. Obviously I’m not going to try to tell you what you can and can’t read, but I thought a disclaimer was necessary!
What started out as a joke— seduce Coach Wilder—soon became a goal she had to score.
With Olympic tryouts on the horizon, the last thing nineteen-year-old Kinsley Bryant needs to add to her plate is Liam Wilder. He’s a professional soccer player, America’s favorite bad-boy, and has all the qualities of a skilled panty-dropper.
• A face that makes girls weep – check.
• Abs that can shred Parmesan cheese (the expensive kind) – check.
• Enough confidence to shift the earth’s gravitational pull – double check.
Not to mention Liam is strictly off limits . Forbidden. Her coaches have made that perfectly clear. (i.e. “Score with Coach Wilder anywhere other than the field and you’ll be cut from the team faster than you can count his tattoos.”) But that just makes him all the more enticing…Besides, Kinsley’s already counted the visible ones, and she is not one to leave a project unfinished.
Kinsley tries to play the game her way as they navigate through forbidden territory, but Liam is determined to teach her a whole new definition for the term “team bonding.”
A fun & sexy New Adult Romance (age 17+)
Rating: 5/5 Stars
I was recommended this book by Jessica Pennington (author of 2018’s YA “Love Songs and Other Lies” and 2019’s “When Summer Ends”) when I was looking for some good NA/college romances, and I wasn’t disappointed! Sometimes it feels impossible to find good college-aged books, so I was excited to start this one!
As you read in the synopsis, the book follows 19-year-old soccer star Kinsley Bryant in the few weeks/months leading up to her freshman year of college, as she joins the ULA team with the hopes of being invited to the Olympic tryouts. What she doesn’t expect is to have Liam Wilder, the famous 25-year-old star of the soccer world, as a substitute coach on her new team.
Scoring Wilder is a forbidden romance, which is always stressful for me, because even in the scenes where everything is going great and they’re being all cute as a couple, there’s still the threat of getting busted looming over their heads. On one hand, I want to reach through my screen and shake Kinsley (I read this on Kindle! More on that a little later) for risking her career, which she has worked for her whole life, for a boy. I’m all for love and cute romance, but I’m never here for risking your future for a relationship. Kinsley knows that it’s a huge risk, and she acknowledges that, but it takes awhile for her to come to her senses about it. As much as I love her soccer friends, Becca and Emily, they’re totally enabling her. (I can’t really blame them, though.)
I love Kinsley as a character. Does she drive me crazy when she jeopardizes her career to be with Liam? Yes. But nobody’s perfect. I loved reading the book through her point of view, because she’s a really witty character. So many times I found myself laughing out loud at her inner commentary, because she felt so relateable. By that, I mean not only was what she was thinking funny, it was something that I would imagine myself thinking if I were in her situation.
I liked her friend Emily, but I adored her best friend, Becca. While we do see a typical toxic mean girl in the book with Tara, the friendship that Kinsley has with Becca (and Emily) is very strong and supportive. I would love to have friends like them! Becca and Penn, Liam’s best friend, were also adorable, and I’d love to read a companion novel surrounding the two of them.
There are definitely conflicts in the book, although I think that most of the bigger, high stakes ones happen earlier in the book. This left me on the edge of my seat for the rest, because I could see that I was only about 58% of the way through the book, and everything was going great, so I kept waiting for the rug to get swept out from under me. I know that some readers would be disappointed and say that there isn’t enough conflict points in the book, but I disagree. Typically with forbidden romance, it seems like they spend the whole book sneaking around, so when they finally get together for “real,” the book is almost over. I like that we actually get to see Kinsley and Liam as a couple for awhile, because sometimes forbidden romance books sort of miss that at the end.
As you’ll see throughout this review, I love Liam Wilder. Although, he does exhibit some of the qualities that I’ve seen before in NA books–he can kind of be controlling at times, and while it’s not necessarily in a bad way, it still stood out. For example, (this isn’t really a spoiler since it feels like kind of a staple in the NA books I’ve read, but here we go) but he was really insistent that Kinsley move in with him, even after she didn’t really seem to want to at first. I understand why he did, but it felt like he was pressuring her a bit. Kinsley clearly gave consent the first time they had sex, but there were other times where it was more of a gray area. The book made it clear that she wanted to, but vocally, there wasn’t much said. Earlier in the book, Liam actually told Kinsley no, and while he was saying it because of the situation they were currently in, not because he actually didn’t want to, she didn’t listen to him, which I think sends the wrong message. It was just something I noticed and it bugged me, so I thought it was worthy of including in this review.
Liam and Kinsley work well together. For the most part, they both have equal footing in the relationship, and Liam isn’t toxic to her like I feel Hardin is to Tessa in Anna Todd’s “After.” (No disrespect to that book–you can read my review of it here! I just think Hardin can be a jerk to Tessa and it’s romanticized to a certain extent, which isn’t the case with Kinsley and Liam.)
I could go on and on about how much I love this book, but this review is already getting long, so I’ll stop here! If you’re looking for a sweet, sexy, college-aged romance with fun, well-written characters, then this is the book for you! I’ll definitely reread it in the future, and recommend it to all my friends.
It’s available on Amazon or Kindle (including KindleUnlimited!) Y’all know I prefer physical books, but it was only $3.99 and I had some credits when I bought it, so I definitely wanted to read it! It took me about 3 days or so to read it, but that was because I also had to deal with work, college, and homework within those days too! I didn’t want to put it down.
What’s your favorite new adult book or series?