For The Win by Sara Rider
Description: What happens when you fall for your biggest competition? Sara Rider scores with this charming romance about soccer stars battling their tough opponents and playing the field of love.
Lainey Lukas has sacrificed everything—sleep, family, carbs, a life—to earn her spot as the top player and captain of the Seattle Falcons women’s soccer team. She’s determined to lead her team to a national championship and finally earn the sport the respect it deserves—and nothing will throw her off her game. When Lainey’s hero Gabe Havelak, star of the Seattle Surge, crashes her team’s first press conference—making the Falcons look like a joke to the local media and humiliating Lainey in the process—she’s hell-bent on revenge.
Charming, confident Gabe is practically a god to Seattle soccer fans, but he doesn’t mind a little friendly competition from tough-as-nails Lainey, with her top-notch athletic skills, her mile-long legs, and her girl-next-door freckles. But when he learns the Falcons are booting the Surge from their coveted practice space to the notoriously cursed Cricket Field, those warm feelings give way to crippling superstition. With his contract up for renewal and his thirty-fourth birthday just weeks away, Gabe will risk anything to protect his position with the Surge.
The rivals agree to settle their differences in a Battle of the Sexes competition—a test of skills, fitness, and willpower. At first the situation seems win-win: Gabe gets the chance to earn back the Surge’s practice space, and Lainey’s team will finally get some much-deserved media attention. But as the friction between them becomes hot enough to spark and smolder, Lainey and Gabe are entering new territory—and with both of their careers on the line, love might just be the toughest opponent of all.
Last summer, I spent almost every day glued to my TV, watching the Women’s World Cup. It helps that I’m from New Jersey, where basically everyone played soccer growing up. Some of the best American players, both female and male, come from the Garden State, i.e. Carli Lloyd, Tobin Heath, and Tim Howard. So when I saw a book about female soccer players, I immediately jumped to read it. This book was an extremely lively read. Both Gabe and Lainey were interesting, well-written characters. Lainey is the captain of her Seattle female soccer team. She scored the winning goal at the Women’s World Cup but in doing so, received a head injury and took a while to recuperate. She is a determined, devoted player whose whole life revolves around soccer. She is desperately trying to drum up support for the new female soccer league and her team. There are clear echoes of real life and as a fan of women’s soccer, the challenges they face are real and difficult. Currently some of the top USA women’s players are suing against wage discrimination. The difference between men’s and women’s soccer are seen clearly throughout the book. Lainey and her teammates are forced to take second jobs to supplement their salary while Gabe is able to drive an expensive sports car.
Gabe, the hero, is a famed male soccer player at the end of his career. He’s in his 30s and it is clear that his time playing professional soccer is running out. He is immediately attracted to Lainey, whose press conference he interrupts. Soon the main characters and their teammates are pulled into a Battle of the Sexes competition over playing field. In the midst of enjoyable banter and competitions, the relationship between Lainey and Gabe begins to bloom. There’s also great scenes with pranks and a soccer camp for kids which help round out the book. Can’t wait for the next book!
Rating: 4 out of 5!
Received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.