I’d had this on hold through Libby for quite awhile before it finally came through, and I’m honestly kind of disappointed. The cover is so adorable and the summary seems predictable yet fun, but I have some problems with the book that really stopped me from enjoying it as much as I wanted to.
After an injury ends Travis Ford’s major league baseball career, he returns home to start over. He just wants to hammer out his frustrations at his new construction gig and forget all about his glory days. But he can’t even walk through town without someone recapping his greatest hits. Or making a joke about his… bat. And then there’s Georgie, his buddy’s little sister, who is definitely not a kid anymore.
Georgette Castle has crushed on her older brother’s best friend for years. The grumpy, bear of a man working for her family’s house flipping business is a far cry from the charming sports star she used to know. But a moody scowl doesn’t scare her and Georgie’s determined to show Travis he’s more than a pretty face and a batting average, even if it means putting her feelings aside to be “just friends.”
Travis wants to brood in peace. But the girl he used to tease is now a funny, full-of-life woman who makes him feel whole again. And he wants her. So damn bad. Except Georgie’s off limits and he knows he can’t give her what she deserves. But she’s becoming the air he breathes and Travis can’t stay away, no matter how hard he tries…
Honestly, all 2.5 stars here are for Georgie. She was funny, smart, driven, and unabashedly herself. I loved her attitude and her character arc. Her development was admirable and I honestly just adored her character.
I also really liked Bethany and Rosie, Georgie’s fellow Just Us League members. Their bond was tight and I love the close relationships they formed. With the goal of empowering and helping one another, these characters made a great team and really helped each other grow.
That being said, as great as the female characters are, the male characters are equally horrible. I’m sorry, but what even was Stephen?? Grumpy, controlling, unchanging, and stubborn. He popped up at the most random times, literally just jumping into the scene for two sentences before disappearing for another few chapters and repeating the cycle. Travis was also a really weird character. I feel like he was mopey, indifferent, and possessive for so much of the book, then suddenly completely changed at the end for the storyline to be neatly tied up. No! Thank! You! Why does his growth have to be so weirdly paced?
Any other problems I have with this book really come back to me not liking the male characters or their motivations. That being said, I do appreciate how the author wrote more than just a romance novel. This book does emphasize the importance of creating a strong sense of self-worth, having a good support system, growing, and helping those around you grow. Although I think some of this could have come along more organically, I really like the intention and the way it worked for Georgie.
Ultimately, not my favorite book of 2020. True, it’s only the second book of 2020, but we aren’t off to a great start. If this book was just about Georgie and the Just Us League it’d be 5/5 stars! All other elements considered, my rating has to go down.