Friday, July 22, 2016

Sacked by Jen Frederick

I usually have an idea of what rating I'll give a book by the end of the first chapter. With SACKED, however, I waffled between a two-star and a three-star rating for most of the book, and didn't really come to a solid decision until the very end. This is because SACKED does some things extraordinarily well, and other things...not so well.

SACKED is a romance between a very talented football player and a girl who is a fan of football. Knox Masters knows he's probably going to end up as a first-draft pick, playing for a top NFL team. He's also a virgin, by choice, because he thinks that conserving his energy means that he'll be able to focus on the game more and play better as a result. Ellie Campbell is the sister of one of his teammates. She's been helping her brother cheat (without his knowledge) since eighth grade in order to hide his learning disability. She and Knox hit it off immediately, but she's reluctant to enter a relationship for many Important Reasons.

One of the things I liked about this book was the fact that it had a virgin hero. Usually in books like these, the male character is an overconfident man-whore, who sleeps around and treats women like dirt or objects (I guess dirt technically is an object) until he meets the heroine with the magical goody box who transforms his life completely through the magical powers of virgin!sex. Knox saved himself because he didn't see any point in having empty sex, and instead devoted his time to achieving what was really important to him - his career in football. That's pretty cool.

Another thing I liked about this book was Ellie's relationship with her brother. They cared about each other so much. I loved their interactions. I thought it was heartbreaking how Ellie kept hinting about all the opportunities their school offered for people with learning disabilities, and Jack never took her up on it. His defensiveness was really well done, and I liked how even when they had arguments, they could still forgive one another, and their love was never tested by stupid, pointless drama.

In fact, most of the secondary relationships in this book were really well done. The Warriors' relationship with their coach. Their relationships with one another (loved the guy banter and the football chatter). Ellie's friendship with her roommate. It gave the book a lively, congenial atmosphere that was pleasant and enjoyable.

So, what didn't I like about the book?

Ellie and Knox's relationship is founded on insta-love. Knox decides that she's the one from the very moment he meets her because she likes football and she has the magical ability to tell him apart from his twin, Ty. Believe it or not, this is actually a test Knox subjects all of his potential bed mates to - he introduces them to his identical twin, and then tricks them, to see if they can tell him apart. Smooth.

There's also a lot of explicit sex in this book, to the point where it started getting repetitive and empty. Plus, you get weird turns of phrases like, "long, ropy seed jets" and "I wonder if I can wear her. Whether there's some campus provision that would prevent me from walking around with her attached to my d***." That's not erotic...that's actually kind of creepy.

Knox also has this Edward Cullen vibe, where he pursues the heroine to the point where it seems a lot like stalking, and he doesn't always take "no" for an answer. Towards the end, he becomes even more invasive, which is probably why I didn't like the ending. I don't really like the idea of a guy walking in and taking total control over a girl's life. People who enjoy novels with overbearing heroes who want their women "kept" will probably not mind this as much, but it felt weird to me. Very 1950s.

SACKED is not a bad book by new adult standards. Frederick's writing is clear and fluid, and she captures college life pretty well, in my opinion. I always appreciate when new adult authors take the time to show students struggling with their coursework when it comes to balancing work and play. It was the execution that really killed this book for me. With a few tweaks, I think this is a book I could have loved. I still have the sequel, JOCK BLOCKED, which I plan to read soon, and I'm loving her co-authored series with Elle Kennedy. This book in particular just wasn't right for me.

2 to 2.5 out of 5 stars.

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