Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Review: WHATEVER LIFE THROWS AT YOU by Julie Cross (YA)


by Julie Cross
Release date: October 7th, 2014
Published by: Entangled Teen
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback, eBook


SUMMARY

Life loves a good curveball…

Seventeen-year-old Annie Lucas's life is completely upended the moment her dad returns to the major leagues as the new pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals. Now she's living in Missouri (too cold), attending an all-girls school (no boys), and navigating the strange world of professional sports. But Annie has dreams of her own — most of which involve placing first at every track meet… and one starring the Royals' super-hot rookie pitcher.

But nineteen-year-old Jason Brody is completely, utterly, and totally off-limits. Besides, her dad would kill them both several times over. Not to mention Brody has something of a past, and his fan club is filled with C-cupped models, not smart-mouthed high school “brats” who can run the pants off every player on the team. Annie has enough on her plate without taking their friendship to the next level. The last thing she should be doing is falling in love.

But baseball isn't just a game. It's life. And sometimes, it can break your heart.



MY REVIEW

This is my first time reading a book by Julie Cross, and after hearing about how wonderful her and her books are, my expectations were pretty high. And she delivered beautifully!
First, can we just swoon over the beautiful black and white cover with a touch of yellow - I love this color combo! Next, it isn't easy to balance a story that covers so many important life changing moments - new love, "career" choices, family decisions and personal growth, all while doing it in the public eye. There is a lot to take in, and the author gives us all the details we need to watch it all unfold...

Annie is a 17-year-old that is doing well in school, loves to run and hopes to get a scholarship through track soon. She lives with her dad, a retired baseball player and cancer survivor, and helps take care of her maternal grandmother, who has Alzheimer's.
When her father is offered a position to coach in the major leagues, Annie knows that this is an opportunity for her father that he cannot say no to. Baseball was his life, he left due to his illness and didn't return because of it. And when he tried to make a comeback of sorts, Annie's mother left, and he decided to stay home with Annie to give her the most stable life that he could manage for her. Annie knows that this will be good for him, he deserves this and wants him to be happy. She convinces her dad that this is not only a good opportunity for him, but for the entire family.
Within a weeks time, Annie finds herself in a new city. They're now living in a bigger home, there's a nurse to help take care of grandma and Annie will be attending one of the best private schools that offers one of the highest ranking track teams in the state. Annie is a bit out of her element here, but is determined to not only make the best of it, but to take advantage of all the good things that are finally happening to her and her little family.

And then Brody happens.

How Annie and Brody meet is hilarious and memorable. From the moment these two say their first few words to each other, I knew that their story was going to be fun to follow. The initial love/hate relationship is right on target. Which then turns into a friendship that blossoms into something possibly more. The immaturity that they both display and learn from grounds them to their true personalities. The tug and pull that they both do to each other just makes them stronger. Everything that they go through, say and end up with was so realistic and relatable. The age difference and the fact that they're both in such different places in their lives really creates a lot of problems for their relationship. Trust is a huge factor. And acceptance is key. In the end, I really did not know where they were going to end up. Together or not, they're both really strong and determined characters, and I loved that even though they'd had their moments, in the end, they both thought of others before themselves.  

I have to admit - at first I was a bit disappointed that the author did not go into more details regarding Brody's past and family. We are told what he did, what happened and this is just it. Nothing really happens for him. It made me sad. But, I understand that in reality that this is the way things go for some people, unfortunately. And it made my heart ache for him just a bit more.

Another part that I have to point out is the amazing family dynamic that the author created - absolutely beautiful. The father-daughter relationship was so spot on and refreshing. It was so nice to see such a strong bond between them. With Annie's mother breezing in and out of their lives so much, her father did everything for her and supports her in everything that she does. And Annie's admiration for him was so sweet and heart melting. They had many moments that made me get all tear-eyed.

Contemporary fans, especially those who love baseball, will really enjoy Annie and Brody's story. I hope we get to see more of them - even if it is just a cameo appearance in another story. I'd love to see them in their future...   


*An eARC was sent to me for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.




PURCHASE LINKS




ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Julie Cross


Julie Cross lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three children. She’s a former gymnast and longtime gymnastics fan, coach, and former gymnastics program instructor with the YMCA. She’s a lover of books, devouring several novels a week, especially in the young adult and new adult genres. 
Outside of her reading and writing credentials, Julie is a committed— but not talented — long-distance runner, creator of imaginary beach vacations, Midwest bipolar-weather survivor, and expired CPR certification card holder, as well as a ponytail and gym-shoe addict.


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