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Review of Off Sides

27 Aug 2013

Synopsis

“I'm not sure what possessed me to do it. Maybe it was the impossible expectations I faced, maybe it was my own self-loathing. But I just knew I needed something different to happen. I needed someone... something... to derail me from my current path. Otherwise, I would become lost... a hollowed out shell of a man. So I did it. I approached her, then I pursued her, then I made her mine. And my life was saved...”

Ryan Burnham is the privileged son of a U.S. Congressman and captain of his university’s hockey team. While he is on the verge of fulfilling his dreams to play in the NHL, his parents want him on a different course. One he is expected to accept for the sake of his family’s public image.

Forced her to abandon her music career after the heart breaking death of her parents, Danny Cross exists on the opposite side of the tracks from Ryan. She is struggling to make her own way, working two jobs, attending college part time and volunteering in a homeless shelter. She is on a mission to build her own success.

With a chance meeting, their vastly different worlds collide, causing each to evaluate whether they are truly on the correct path to self-fulfillment and happiness. Can their relationship survive? Particularly when others are against them every step of the way. A lot can happen in just ten short days...


Review (Katie)

What drew my interest in this book was that, while the heroine clearly represents someone from the "wrong side of the tracks", she is written as a violinist who had been admitted to Julliard.  So, I figured the hero's snooty family would look down on her until they discovered just how bad-ass of a violinist she is (I mean, wouldn't a snooty family revere a violinist who was admitted to the top performing arts school in the country?).  Yeah, well, I was a little off-base there...

Overall, I found the book to be well-written but it didn't linger in my mind once I finished it which is typical for a fun, beach read but I would not have expected this book to fall into that category.  There were plenty of serious issues such as the loss of parents, parents who appear to be incapable of love, and sexual violence but they seemed to blend in with the story overall.

I liked the heroine but, sadly, didn't quite buy into just how amazing she is.  I'm also a stickler for details in stories as, while I love a fairy tale romance, I don't like to get distracted by questioning little details.  Such as, how is she "paying off medical debt" and attending two college courses at a private university while working at a diner?  How did she go from living off of ramen soup to having the ingredients on hand for legitimate breakfasts and being able to feed a hockey player with an bottomless stomach?  Or, that she somehow ends up on track to finish school on time despite taking time off to care for her sick mother and then attending school only part-time for her "junior" year?  
 
While, I've spent all this time harping on the details, it's not fair to judge this book solely on that.  It really is rather well-written and has a natural flow to it.  I could truly empathize with the characters, completely understanding their viewpoints and motivations, and was really happy with the outcome of the book.  There was enough drama to keep things interesting but it managed to avoid being full of angst.  In fact, that sums up this book pretty well, it's a sweet story that manages to retain its light feel despite the serious circumstances and events.
 
Katie
 
 
Review (Amanda)

Sawyer Bennett beyond exceeded my expectations with this book. The characters pull at your heartstrings and make you root for them despite the hardships they have faced.

Danny is by all means unique. Whether it’s her life experiences or her physical features, she does not conform. Her appearance and strength are why Ryan is instantly attracted to her and why others judge her at first glance. Ultimately Danny is not what is expected and that is exactly what Ryan needs after a life completely planned out by his parents.

Danny is the dyed hair, eyebrow pierced waitress while Ryan is the captain of their college’s hockey team. They are from different worlds, but their story brings both worlds together.

The only downside to the book is that it is a quick read. The story progresses extremely quickly. If the book had been longer, it would have become easier to become heavily invested in Danny and Ryan’s love story.  The entire story takes place over the course of ten days as the duo quickly falls in love and work to conquer obstacles. They not only have to deal with their pasts, they also have to deal with the differences in class and the assumptions people make about others.

The biggest lesson learned from this book is simple. Don’t judge a book by its cover. If Ryan let what other people thought about Danny define their relationship he would have missed out on the greatest thing to happen to him.

Although Ryan is a hockey player, hockey does not play a major role in the story. Besides the fact that Danny attends a game and many of Ryan’s friends are hockey players, there is not nearly enough hockey for fans. Although realistically in ten days there is not much time for hockey to take place. For those who are not hockey or sports fans in general story, the story it’s self has so much more to it than the sport.

This NA book is definitely a fun and quick read. The writing is good, Danny is snarky and fun, and Ryan has his swoon worthy moments. The story is written in alternating POV, some quick changes, while others last full chapters. The POV alternates at the perfect moments to give readers plenty of insight into the minds of both Danny and Ryan.
 
Amanda 
 
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1 comment:

  1. I still haven't written a review on the first two books in this series, but I have really enjoyed it so far. The last two were both good. Thanks for your honest review.

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