When post-grad Rachael Hamilton accidentally gate-crashes a pro-athlete party, she ends up face-to-face with Ryan Carter, the NFL's most beloved quarterback.
While most girls would be thrilled to meet the attractive young millionaire, Rachael would rather spend time with books than at sporting events, and she has more important things to worry about than romance. Like her parents pressuring her to leave her unpaid publishing internship for law school.
But when Ryan's rookie teammate attaches himself to Rachael, she ends up cohosting Friday-night dinners for half a dozen football players.
Over pancake brunches, charity galas and Alexander the Great, Rachael realizes all the judgments she'd made about Ryan are wrong. But how can a Midwestern Irish-Catholic jock with commitment problems and an artsy, gun-shy Jewish New Englander ever forge a partnership? Rachael must let down her barriers if she wants real love—even if that opens her up to pain that could send her back into her emotional shell forever.
This is one of those books that's hard to review because it left me feeling ambiguous. It had some good points, but there were also some things that turned me off and left me feeling cold. The good came in the form of the unlikely friendships Rachael stumbled into with the football players when she accidentally crashed their party. I really loved the way she somehow melded with them and became a part of their world despite her blinding ignorance of their sport. It was kind of cute and endearing how they took her in and made her one of their own. I also liked the relationships that Rachael had beyond the football players - her friends from childhood, friends from college and friends from work. They were nice, solid relationships, which was a refreshing change from the trend of toxic friendships in fiction these days.
Some things that bothered me: I was kind of turned off by the way Rachael met Ryan - she stumbled upon him being serviced by a groupie. Why she would be interested in him after that was kind of a mystery to me. I don't think I could've looked him in the face after that, I'd be so embarrassed. But somehow, Rachael overcame that and, after a lot of coy protestations mixed with flirtations, she finally gave in to the urge to be with him. Another thing that really bothered me was that sometimes, when he got angry, he was almost abusive towards her, the way he would push her up against walls and kiss her roughly - almost like he was tackling her in a game of romantic football. Only, it wasn't that romantic; it actually made me kind of squeamish. And there was one incident where he actually committed the act while in a state of anger that walked a very thin line between romance and rape as he more or less forced her until she said yes - and then he left her, naked on the floor, and it was obvious that he was still angry at her. That whole scene was a total turn off, as was her reaction to it. Why she would still want to be with him after that is beyond me, but she was "in love" so I guess that is explanation enough for some.
If you look beyond those two points (like, scrub them from your mind), this book makes sense as does Rachael's relationship with Ryan. And you can appreciate the conclusion of their story and how it all works out for them. If not for those two points, I would have really enjoyed this book and given it a higher recommendation. For me, this was an okay book.