Genres: Adolescence, Adoption, Contemporary, Dating & Relationships, Family, Young Adult Fiction
She’s the coach’s brilliant daughter, clueless about love. He’s the dethroned football star, ready to teach Romance 101. When dark secrets and sparks collide, there’s no playbook for what happens next.
The day Andrew Levin arrives at Washington High, Harper O’Malley knows he’ll make the perfect starter boyfriend. The school’s newest band geek is totally in Harper’s league, yet completely out of this late-bloomer’s reach. Between fitting in with a new family, scoring the first chair in band, and rescuing dogs for the local animal shelter, Harper’s never had the opportunity to hone her dating skills. But even though Harper’s love life is far from perfect, she’s got the perfect plan.
Harper knows she’s insane to agree to tutor Ridley Estes, a notorious heartbreaker and the star of her high school’s football team—but in exchange, he’s offered to school her in the game of love. Just when she sees promise with her crush, a football scandal rocks her family, her town, and Ridley’s entire future. Harper suddenly has everything to lose—her family, friends, and even her heart. When the dust of the scandal settles, nothing will be the same. Including the girl who asked the most popular jock to teach her about love.
Harper O’Malley is clueless when it comes to boys… you’d think as the daughter of the football coach she would know what to do and how to talk to them considering boys are always at her house. This year she’s ready to make the move and have her first boyfriend and Andrew Levin seems like the perfect candidate. He’s a band geek, just like her, but how can she make him hers when she can’t even figure out what to say to him?
Ridley Estes is the star of the high school football team and he’s set to go places, but only if he can get his grades up and get off the bench. He’s got his heart set on Harper’s dad’s team for reasons he can’t disclose. When he offers lessons in love in exchange for tutoring Harper just can’t decline… can she?
I totally picked this book up on a whim and I’m so glad that I did. Jenny B. Jones weaves quite a story here… This book tackles quite a few heavy issues, but she does it in a way that isn’t overwhelmingly heavy if that makes sense. Adultery, Abuse, an MIA parent … those are the big ones, and I thought each were portrayed within the story in a realistic way.
Very early on you find out Coach O’Malley isn’t exactly the guy everyone thought he was. He’s made some recent bad choices that have affected the family in a huge way and much of the story is Harper trying to come to terms with this. I thought Jones did an amazing job of portraying Harper’s struggle with learning the man she idealized is really just human like the rest of us. Additionally, Harper is a former foster child who was adopted into this family, but her insecurity as to where she fits in when the family isn’t as solid as it was, was really well done.
Ridley was also a wonderful character. I totally had a huge crush on him for all kinds of reasons… many of which I’m not really able to spill here. I will say that even though he’s portrayed as a huge heartbreaker, he’s not exactly the person everyone thinks he is. He’s got a lot more on his shoulders than any high school senior probably should, and I loved that he was able to spill his struggles to Harper.
I know I mentioned earlier the guy that Harper thinks is perfect for her, but I am happy to say that I never ever felt any kind of connection to Andrew… even when he was trying to be sweet, I wasn’t really buying it. Sure he was the catalyst to Ridley and Harper initially connecting, but he really was just a filler guy. So those of you worried about any kind of triangle, you truly have nothing to worry about here
One thing I would have liked to learn more about toward the end was the fate of Harper’s parents.
I will definitely be checking out Jones’s backlist as I felt her storytelling was just wonderful. I’m looking forward to seeing if I connect to her other stories as much as I did this one.
If you’re looking for a sweet story filled with heart and tons of emotion, look no further and grab this one now!