Title: After the Game
Author: Abbi Glines
My Rating: 2.5 stars
Goodreads. Book Depository.
This book was a light hearted read touching on elements of rape, family and friendship. It didn’t address some issues well enough, and was in need of more of an edit but it was a good enough book.
Two years ago, Riley Young fled from Lawton, Alabama. After accusing the oldest Lawton son, Rhett, of rape, everyone called her a liar and she had no option but to leave. Now she’s back, but she’s not at Lawton High finishing up her senior year. She’s at home raising the little girl that no one believed was Rhett’s.
Rhett is off at college living the life he was afraid he’d lose with Riley’s accusation, so Riley agrees to move back to Lawton so she and her parents could take care of her grandmother, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. But the town still hasn’t forgotten their hate for her, and she hasn’t forgotten the way they turned on her when she needed them most.
When town golden boy Brady Higgens finds Riley and her daughter, Bryony, stranded on the side of the road in a storm, he pulls over and gives them a ride. Not because he cares about Riley, of course, but because of the kid.
But after the simple car ride, he begins to question everything he thought he knew. Could Brady believe Riley and risk losing everything?
I really wanted to like this book. I feel like I write that disclaimer at the beginning of every review I write at the moment, but I feel like it’s been such a long time since I read a book I really really loved.
I expected this book to be a cute contemporary read, one that I would roll my eyes at, but enjoy nonetheless. While it was cute in some parts and definitely easy to read, I had quite a few issues with the way rape was addressed and the characters in it. I feel like this happens when an author decides to use a new pair as the main characters in each book, as you rush and start to repeat the previous storylines.
I’ve read “Until Friday Night” the first in this series, but have not read “Under the Lights” so I think I may have done myself a disservice in that I didn’t know some of the backstory to Brady and Rhett, which may have addressed some of the issues I had in this book.
One of the key parts of the book is the fact that Riley has a baby, the result of her being raped by the brother of one of the characters in this book. While Riley is one who is meant to be moving past this and not holding on to the past, I found it really bothersome that they didn’t address the fact that well . . . she was raped! Her parents pretty much told her to get over it, even Brady when he believed her didn’t make a big deal of it. I don’t think it was addressed well enough, and was pushed aside to make room for a romance.
I also hate the ‘small-town’ mindset that everyone believes the worst of someone and turns against the girl, until one of the boys decides she’s alright. I think this is an overdone storyline and shouldn’t be the way a story progresses. I would have liked for there to be repercussions, e.g. Rhett comes back and Riley presses charges or something. I know it’s probably more realistic, but I feel like there should have been more emotion around this big impact in her life.
That being said, it was a quick read and there was some enjoyable parts with Riley and Brady. The writing is decent, it isn’t too taxing to read and is good for a rainy day. If you like really cute books, and don’t care too much for a deep plot, then I think you would like this book.
Recommended for: cute, contemporary lovers who don’t mind a book with a bit of stupidity.
Quotes (Spoiler Free):
“I’ve found that the things that rattle us the most are the ones worth making sacrifices for.”
“This was where I wanted to be. Nowhere else had ever felt this right. No one else would make me feel like Riley Young did.”
Have you read any cute contemporaries recently? Any recommendations?
Until next time, bibliophiles!