Seventeen-year-old Annie Lucas’s life is completely upended the moment her dad returns to the major leagues as the new pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals. Now she’s living in Missouri (too cold), attending an all-girls school (no boys), and navigating the strange world of professional sports. But Annie has dreams of her own—most of which involve placing first at every track meet…and one starring the Royals’ super-hot rookie pitcher.
But nineteen-year-old Jason Brody is completely, utterly, and totally off-limits. Besides, her dad would kill them both several times over. Not to mention Brody has something of a past, and his fan club is filled with C-cupped models, not smart-mouthed high school “brats” who can run the pants off every player on the team. Annie has enough on her plate without taking their friendship to the next level. The last thing she should be doing is falling in love.
But baseball isn’t just a game. It’s life. And sometimes, it can break your heart…
I live in Central Illinois with my husband and three children. I’m a former gymnast, longtime gymnastics fan, coach, and former Gymnastics Program Director with the YMCA. I’m a lover of books, devouring several novels a week, especially in the young adult and new adult genres. Outside of my reading and writing credibility, I’m a committed–but not talented–long distance runner, creator of imaginary beach vacations, Midwest bipolar weather survivor, expired CPR certification card holder, as well as a ponytail and gym shoe addict.
Without spoiling the novel, one of the scenes I envisioned shortly after coming up with the book’s concept happens at a club in downtown Kansas City and it involves fake IDs and stolen kisses. I won’t say too much more…
Did any of your characters surprise you by doing something you didn’t expect?
Annie does something at a race during the state finals that I hadn’t originally planned on her doing, but when I got there, I knew it was a leap she needed to take. Also, I had planned on Savannah’s character simply being an attractive kind assistant for Annie’s dad to look at every day, but her character changed not just in depth but in actual job description to the point where I had to go back, during editing and correct how she’s referred to. But I’m really happy with what Savannah does for the story. There just wasn’t enough room in my head originally to create those layers for her.
Any advice for aspiring writers?
What’s next for you? Are you working on anything right now that you can tell us about?
I’m working on a YA series for Simon & Schuster at the moment. The first book is called Lay it on the Line and it’s sent in a fictional small Minnesota town and it’s pitched as Friday Night Lights with hockey.
Whatever Life Throws at You by Julie Cross
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I think I can tell you that Whatever Life Throws At You may in fact make it on to my top reads of the year list. I feel confident in saying that even though it is only September.
To be honest, this book wasn’t even on my radar until I logged into Instagram one day and noticed a picture of the cover with a note saying how swoony Jason Brody is. You all know why this caught my attention right? I’m in the market for swoony boys ALL THE TIME.
I was not disappointed.
Annie Lucas is just a regular high school senior living with her grandmother who has alzheimers and her sort of single father. But suddenly her life is turned upside down when her father is offered a job to be a pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals… specifically the incredibly talented, nineteen year old, Jason Brody. Annie is excited to be in a new city away from the possibility of her mother showing up and she’s ready to pursue a few things for herself…
Jason Brody hasn’t had an easy life, and he isn’t willing to screw up the chance he’s been given. He’s prepared to work hard and do what the Kansas City Royals staff tell him to do… if that means dating all kinds of women and showing up at movie premieres then that’s what he’ll do. If it means non-stop workouts and practices then he’ll do that too. The one thing he isn’t sure he can do is stay away from Annie Lucas, even if it means upsetting one of the few people who trust and believe in him.
YOU GUYS!! Jason Brody is absolute perfection in fictional form. I adored him … there were times I just wanted hug and squeeze him, and there were definitely times where I could imagine doing other things! His past isn’t something he’s proud of, but it’s absolutely shaped who he is at the young age of 19. He’s trying to make amends and he’s determined to make something of himself and that’s admirable.
Annie is an amazing character too though… I don’t want her to get lost in the Jason Brody love fest here. I really loved her dedication and pride in her father. Their relationship was just wonderful to read about. (I despise her mother by the way… let’s start a club for that once you’ve read this.) While her relationship with Jason and the slow build from friendship to more was the main focus of this story, we also got to see a lot about her life outside of that. Her interest in running and her new found friendships were a great addition to the story here.
This is sort of on the cusp between the YA and NA categories… and that might be due to the characters ages, but I don’t know where I’d put this one officially if asked. There are definitely themes that anyone looking for stories in either category could appreciate.
I’m so glad I found this one, and once again I’m reminded of my love for baseball players… there’s just something about them!
If you’re looking for a wonderfully told romantic drama in the NA/YA genres, definitely grab this one as soon as you can. I’m positive you’ll love it as much as I did!
Thank you to Entangled Teen for the advance copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.