I’ve rarely come across two people more perfect for each other than the heroes in this powerful debut novel. Though Blake Thompson and Alex Ayers play football for opposing high school teams, their instant attraction and mutual passion for the sport transcends any rivalry. And yet, the bond that connects them runs far deeper than their love for the game. From the moment their eyes meet on the field, they share a chemistry that is impossible to ignore, and which kept me entranced from start to finish.

His final year of high school is set to be an exciting one for Alex. Not only is he at the peak of his game, with his placekicking record beginning to attract the attention of college scouts, he meets Blake and is at once swept up in a whirlwind affair. Blake is in his junior year, desperate to prove himself as backup quarterback. If he sometimes envies Alex’s talent and the bright future it offers, for the most part he keeps these feelings from getting in the way of their romance. However, when Alex wins a scholarship to play for a renowned college, Blake’s jealousy clashes with Alex’s ambition, driving a wedge between them.

And suddenly Alex is gone. He and Blake are miles apart and no longer speaking. Though it’s obvious to everyone around them how much they miss one another, both are too proud to admit they might be in the wrong. They do their best to move on, attempting to find solace in other relationships and to ignore the gaping hole losing the other has left in their life. Months pass with no sign of a reconciliation, until it feels increasingly unlikely they will ever recapture the love that meant so much to them.

This is a poignant story about two young men falling in love, growing up, and discovering what’s truly important. I adored the blatant sensuality of Blake and Alex’s relationship, but also the fact that their compatibility is every bit as emotional as it is physical. It was one of those occasions where I cared so much for the characters that it became almost painful to read at times, and when everything falls apart, I was forced to stay up half the night in order to find out whether they got the happy ending they so deserved.

For anyone seeking a mature young adult romance that will alternately tug at your heart and break it into tiny pieces, I can highly recommend this book.

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Written for Rainbow Book Reviews and first published on Blogcritics

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