Reluctant cheerleader Dallas Bryan has a problem on her hands—and his name is Drayton Lahey.
Ever since the hot star quarterback of the high school football team hit her car with his motorcycle, he has the annoying ability to get under her skin, making Dallas think about Drayton way more than she should . . . in all the ways that she shouldn’t.
But Dallas has one goal—to pursue her dance-school dreams in California—and no one, not even a hard-bodied, green-eyed football god, will stop her. As the tension between Drayton and Dallas grows thicker, the lines are getting blurred, and all she wants is to come undone under his touch.
But this thing between Dallas and Drayton could cost her her dreams . . . if he doesn’t break her heart first.
Rating: 4/5 Stars
I remember when I first heard about this book. I was at the hair salon, getting my hair dyed, and scrolling through Twitter. As soon as I read the description, I knew I had to have it. I went home, bought it, and it was delivered a few days later. I read a decent chunk of it, and then stopped because school started up again and I was swamped with homework, extracurriculars, and ARCs I had already agreed to read. That was in August, and it took me just over 4 months to actually finish the book — even though the actual reading time was only a few days. (The page count clocks in at just over 400!)
The point of that long, drawn-out paragraph, was my way of saying that I read most of this book in two days, but it had been four months since I started it. I have to admit that I forgot some of the details from the beginning, so I had to be reminding myself as I read. I got used to Tay’s writing style as the book went on, but at the beginning, it was apparent that it read like a Wattpad book. Extra descriptions, all that. This isn’t a bad thing, it was just a shift from the last book that I had read, so it took some getting used it.
Just as an FYI, the book is young adult, and takes place during senior year. I do think that the storylines would have felt more realistic if they took place during college, but I just accepted that in the book, that was the way it was.
One of my favorite things about this book was the main character, Dallas. With the exception of the epilogue, which is from Drayton’s POV, the book is written from her point of view. Dallas is a strong and independent character throughout the whole book. She doesn’t need Drayton to figure out who she is, and she certainly doesn’t need him to validate her or make her know her worth. Dallas has always known what she wants, which includes going to CalArts in California, and won’t let a boy get in the way of her dreams. I loved her refusal to even consider changing her college plans for him (not that he ever asked, but still). One of my friends picked her college because of her boyfriend and the time, and it ended up not being the best decision, to put it lightly. Picking a college (basically solely) based on your significant other has always been a frustrating trope for me, so I’m glad that Dallas didn’t fall into that.
As I said, I started the book four months before I ended up actually finishing it, so there were some connections between events that took me longer to make because of that. For example, a scene towards the start of the book where Drayton makes sure that Dallas gets home safely in revisited much later in the book, and the reasoning behind his actions become clear.
Dallas always has a quick comeback ready to shoot back at Drayton, and they match each other well. Although his crude commentary would have been a bit much for me if I were in her position, Dallas took it all in stride. All in all, I enjoyed him as a love interest, and both characters were great and multifaceted.
The relationship between Dallas and her older brother Nathan was also well fleshed out throughout the book. Their parents passed away when Dallas was about eight and Nathan was seventeen, and Nathan has been taking care of her ever since. I enjoyed the dynamic between the two of them, and they both experience significant growth in their relationship with each other by the end of the book. The same goes for Dallas and her best friend, Gabby. They were nothing but supportive of each other throughout the whole book, and were overall a great example of positive female friendship. One character that Dallas is at odds with throughout the book is Emily, the captain of the cheer both girls are on at their high school. As Emily’s situation comes to light, her actions are better understood. Although this doesn’t excuse her behavior, it does a decent job of giving reasoning to it.
Without giving too much away, a boy that Dallas meets while visiting CalArts surprise her one day, and it’s definitely a creepy move. Not how it’s portrayed or anything, it seems like a sweet gesture, but if a guy ever did that for me, I’d definitely be freaked out.
Drayton was super cute and romantic towards Dallas, and I loved it. Boys, y’all better step up your game.
Despite Drayton being the star quarterback, I wouldn’t necessarily say that this is a football story. Football is deeply intertwined into the lives of the characters, but the story is more focused on Dallas and her relationship with Drayton than it is about Drayton’s football career. That being said, I would still recommend the book to anyone that loves books involving sports! Just be aware that it’s not what the plot revolves around, like how baseball is with “Out of Left Field” and “The Game Can’t Love You Back.” Overall, this was a fun read, and I’m excited to read more by Tay Marley!
Stay tuned for my interview with Tay, and check out the playlist I made for the book here!