Book Review – The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen

The Understatement of the Year (The Ivy Years #3)

Author: Sarina Bowen

Publication: September 29th, 2014

Publisher: Rennie Road Books

Format: Kindle Edition, 308 pages

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Read: June 2017

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Synopsis
What happened in high school stayed in high school. Until now.
Five years ago, Michael Graham betrayed the only person who ever really knew him. Since then, he’s made an art of hiding his sexuality from everyone. Including himself.
So it’s a shock when his past strolls right into the Harkness College locker room, sporting a bag of hockey gear and the same slow smile that had always rendered Graham defenseless. For Graham, there is only one possible reaction: total, debilitating panic. With one loose word, the team’s new left wing could destroy Graham’s life as he knows it.
John Rikker is stuck being the new guy. Again. And it’s worse than usual, because the media has latched onto the story of the only “out” player in Division One hockey. As the satellite trucks line the sidewalk outside the rink, his new teammates are not amused.
And one player in particular looks sick every time he enters the room.
Rikker didn’t exactly expect a warm welcome from Graham. But the guy won’t even meet his eyes. From the looks of it, his former… best friend / boyfriend / whatever isn’t doing so well. He drinks too much and can’t focus during practice.
Either the two loneliest guys on the team will self destruct from all the new pressures in their lives, or they can navigate the pain to find a way back to one another. To say that it won’t be easy is the Understatement of the Year.

Critically

Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
This story was a lot more emotional than I was expecting going into it. There’s a lot of drama, there’s a lot of angst as well as violence, and some scenes that include bigotry. I liked that sports were still included as well as the themes of acceptance and honestly. The ending was abrupt but overall I liked the book.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
I like the author’s writing style. It’s very simple, very easy to read and fast paced, just how I like my New Adult books. There are multiple POVs and each one has it’s own distinct voice. The writing is intense, emotional, dramatic and entertaining.

Characters – 3 out of 5 stars
This is probably my least favorite part of this book in particular. I struggled with connection with one of the two main characters which made his parts of the narrative harder to read.
John Rikker was definitely my favorite of the two. He’s the one who’s more confident in himself and open with people. He’s charming, honest and kind. He has a lot of pressures as he’s going into a new college, a new hockey team and there’s a lot about this change that he wants to keep quiet. But that doesn’t stop him from confronting challenges and from being honest with people which I loved.
Michael Graham, on the other hand, frustrated me a lot. He has a lot of insecurities and is downright scared of a lot of things. He’s very vulnerable emotionally and he’s harming himself emotionally as well. I found his point of view to be frustrating and intense but I loved how much he grew throughout the story.
I loveddd seeing all the old characters from the first two books in the series. They’re not all around as much as I wanted but they definitely played a bigger part in this book than they did in the second one so I love it! I liked the new side characters a lot and I know the next book focuses on one of my faves from this book and I’m excited.

Emotionally

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