I wasn't really impressed by this book, which is a shame because Cora Carmack is one of those authors that a lot of my friends hyped up to me. She was supposed to be better than the typical "new adult formula." To me, though, it just felt like more of the same. If you're a fan of Jen Frederick's Gridiron series, the concept is very much the same and to me, the characters felt just as interchangeable. The only difference is, Frederick dives into the sport a bit more thoroughly and there's more locker room talk.
I will give ALL BROKE DOWN points for trying to be slightly less problematic than its counterparts. Both these characters have troubled backstories but Carmack did make an effort to have them be realistic... something that isn't just out of a soap opera plot, but might actually happen and probably has happened to some of her readers. These shared experiences between the two characters are largely what cause them to bond, which was kind of nice.
I also like how consent is handled in this book on several occasions, with two very different characters. They could not be more different in terms of sexual history - but they are treated exactly the same. In a good way. It is so unequivocal - as it should be. I honestly don't get why "consent" is so controversial with people. Yes means yes - and drugs and/or alcohol immediately invalidate that "yes." Is that so hard to understand? Not in this book. I felt like that was really important, and it almost bumped this book's rating up to a 3 because contemporary romance needs more of that.
The reasons I didn't like this book are more complicated. There's a pretty serious case of insta-love, and the "bad boy"/"good girl" thing is touted a little too heavily, and that's not really a favorite trope of mine outside of historical fiction ("rake"/"bluestocking"? YES, YES, and YES). I didn't really like Silas. He was too angry - and I get why he was angry, but there's a difference between broody and Travis Maddox, and Silas frequently encroached upon Travis Maddox territory. The constant desire to punch people in the face and mark his territory all over the heroine was a little off-putting.
I didn't really like Dylan's character, either. The two characters meet in jail. Silas got in a fight, and Dylan was arrested at a protest. Her protest is the most uncontroversial demonstration ever: a protest against the demolition of a homeless shelter. And people act like that's so EDGY. I nearly died when she said what an activist she was. Girl. Girl, no. I've been to an Occupy protest, an anti-fascist protest, and a Women's March. Politics means passion. You can't just try on activism like it's a fancy hat that makes you look cool. I mean, you can. (It's called a p*ssy hat.) But if you're going to define yourself with "ACTIVISM" then by God, I want to see it, and not just when it's convenient to the plot. She just felt like a placeholder to me, and I just rolled my eyes every time she swooned.
You know whose story I'm really curious about? Stella's. Unfortunately, it hasn't been written, yet.
2 out of 5 stars