(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)on July 15, 2016
Nico Medina’s world is eleven miles away from mine. During the day, it’s a place where doors are open—where homes are lived in, and neighbors love. But when the sun sets, it becomes a place where young boys are afraid, where eyes watch from idling cars that hide in the shadows and wicked smoke flows from pipes.
West End is the kind of place that people survive. It buries them—one at a time, one way or another. And when Nico was a little boy, his mom always told him to run.
I’m Reagan Prescott—coach’s daughter, sister to the prodigal son, daughter in the perfect family.
Life on top.
My world is the ugly one. Private school politics and one of the best high school football programs in the country can break even the toughest souls. Our darkness plays out in whispers and rumors, and money and status trump all. I would know—I’ve watched it kill my family slowly, strangling us for years.
In our twisted world, a boy from West End is the only shining light.
I hated him before I needed him.
I fell for him fast.
I loved him when it was almost too late.
When two ugly worlds collide, even the strongest fall. But my world…it hasn’t met the boy from West End.
I really love Ginger Scott’s stories, and I think that this one might actually be my favorite of hers so far!
Do you know what a hard count is? Well I’m not going to tell you, but you’ll find out if you read this book, and the title couldn’t be a better fit.
Reagan and Nico live two very different lives despite the fact that they live only 11 miles apart from each other. Reagan is the daughter of the local football coach at the prestigious private school where her brother is the revered quarterback, but school politics have brought rumors and whispers and her father’s job isn’t as secure as it used to be.
Nico lives in West End and the only reason he can attend this school is because of the scholarship he’s gotten. West End is the part of the city that you don’t enter after dark but Nico and his family make the best of what they’ve got.
Reagan and Nico know each other, though mostly through the intense debates they have with each other in class, but an injury to her brother that forces him to the sidelines for the season has the team looking for a new quarterback and Nico is an unexpected surprise to everyone. He’s got the skill, but does he have the patience for the politics of the team, and the prejudices of the people who don’t think he fits in?
Despite their apparent differences, Reagan and Nico have a connection and as they get to know each other, they can’t deny the feelings that are developing between them. I really loved the evolution of their relationship. I absolutely loved how secure in himself Nico was. He knows who he is and he knows what he wants out of life and he works hard to make it… football was an accident but he’s not going to let the opportunity pass him by, no matter who wants to push him out.
Everything isn’t smooth sailing though… absolutely not. Reagan is dealing with her brother at the same time she’s trying to figure out her plans for college and help Nico when she can. Nico struggles to fit in with a team that doesn’t have his back and worries at home about his brother and niece and the bad crowd he got mixed up with, and together they have to figure out how their paths intersect and how they work together.
If you’re a fan of sports romance then you’re really going to love this because Scott does an amazing job of bringing you into the game. You’ll feel like you’re standing on that field with Nico at times and sitting in the stands cheering with Raegan and you guys, Scott knows her football!
This books isn’t all football and romance though… Scott really delves into, and brings to the forefront peoples preconceived prejudices and there are a few times where it’s pretty no holds barred when Nico is confronting people for their behavior and I loved it!
”We feel it. You whisper about it, even when you don’t think you are. We must be getting favors. We must be here to make sure Cornwall isn’t too white. Why the hell couldn’t it be because …we’re good. Maybe were just…good.”
Nico himself is probably my favorite character that Scott has written. He’s smart and determined and pushes himself to succeed and be successful. You find very early that he has a love / hate relationship with the place he’s grown up. West End is hard and scary at times, but it’s where he grew up, it’s where his mom lives and it’s where his memories are from. At the same time, he recognizes that he is limited because of the color of his skin and where he lives. It was so wonderful to see his relationship with his mom and niece and even his best friend Sasha.
I really loved Nico and Reagan together. Nico is the best boyfriend ever! Admittedly, I would have loved a bit more romancey parts but that’s just me. The ones we did get here were sexy and steamy though definitely keeping in the genre of upper young adult. Honestly, if Scott wanted to write Nico: The College Years, I would totally read the crap out of that.
My one hiccup with this story comes towards the end with the use of a plot device that absolutely drives me insane. I can’t really say much about it without giving something away, but other authors have used this trick in the past and I hated it just as much then as I do now. It’s kind of a cheap trick to me and it irritates me beyond explanation. Scott also gave us some of Nico’s history via flashbacks throughout the story, and honestly I probably could have done without them. While it was nice to get a glimpse of some of his history with his brother (and don’t get me wrong, parts of it was necessary knowledge) at times I found myself skimming through those parts just to get back to the present time.
If you’re looking for an inspirational story about pushing aside prejudices, the brotherhood and tradition of football, surviving when you sometimes think you can’t, a story filled with complex characters, swoony romance and the power of friendship and family, then look no further.
Fans of Friday Night Lights this one is a must read for you!
Thank you to the author for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.