Series: Rusk University #1
Genres: New Adult, Romance
Published by Harper Collins on May 13th 2014
Also by this author: All Broke Down, Losing It, All Played Out, Faking It, Roar
Format: eBook (320 pages) • Source: Purchased
Goodreads • Amazon • Barnes & Noble
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cora Carmack follows up her trio of hits—Losing It, Faking It, and Finding It—with this thrilling first novel in an explosive series bursting with the Texas flavor, edge, and steamy romance of Friday Night Lights.
In Texas, two things are cherished above all else—football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both. Dallas Cole loathes football. That's what happens when you spend your whole childhood coming in second to a sport. College is her time to step out of the bleachers, and put the playing field (and the players) in her past. But life doesn't always go as planned. As if going to the same college as her football star ex wasn’t bad enough, her father, a Texas high school coaching phenom, has decided to make the jump to college ball… as the new head coach at Rusk University. Dallas finds herself in the shadows of her father and football all over again. Carson McClain is determined to go from second-string quarterback to the starting line-up. He needs the scholarship and the future that football provides. But when a beautiful redhead literally falls into his life, his focus is more than tested. It's obliterated. Dallas doesn't know Carson is on the team. Carson doesn't know that Dallas is his new coach's daughter. And neither of them know how to walk away from the attraction they feel.
Honestly this one wasn’t what I expected. I should have known it wasn’t going to be the LOL-funny New Adult books I’ve recently come to know and love. It was a bit more angsty than that. There were definitely some funny moments that I enjoyed, and definitely a bit of steaminess, but a lot of the “emotional” parts had me rolling my eyes like nobody’s business. Dallas was a bit melodramatic a lot of the time. I get where she’s coming from: her dad doesn’t pay her a lot of attention, her mom isn’t around, and she doesn’t know who she is (apparently). I do enjoy some flawed characters – but only to a certain extent. They have to realize when they’re being weird and insecure in order for me to be semi-okay with it. Luckily Dallas does seem to realize it a few times… “I recognize the self-loathing because I’m a master at it.” – yeah, no kidding girl. A lot of the drama in this book was built on misunderstandings, which always annoys me. Dallas hung around being a whiny baby all the time and Carson remained perfect. (I love him, by the way.) The CHEMISTRY between those two… JESUS.
Besides all of that self-pity, a lot of the dialogue (both inside her head and with her friends) just bugged me. People complain that The Fault in Our Stars has two teenagers with vocabularies that are “unrealistic” or too fancy for their ages? Well, I thought that the dialogue in this one was much more unrealistic. Some of the things she thought or discussed with her friend were just…weird. “The only thing we can do is try to find people whose scars compliment our own.” That’s a nice sentiment but I couldn’t imagine my friend coming up with something THAT touching off the top of their head while I’m in the middle of crying about a boy. It just doesn’t happen. I definitely highlighted a number of paragraphs in this book, but IDK maybe I just felt like that kind of philosophical BS didn’t belong in a New Adult book? At least not one I would like.
“Do you ever think that maybe that’s all people do? Fix some things and break others? And we all just live in this giant cycle where we screw things up and hurt people we love, and then we turn around and try to atone for that by fixing others things. And maybe we’re all just waiting on our turn for a broken heart and the person who will fix it.”
OTHERWISE, the father-daughter relationship development in this one was my jam. Dallas always felt like her dad put football above her and they slowly work through the issues they have. It was really nice to see that come together because it was a big part of Dallas being irritating and feeling sorry for herself. Stella, Dallas’s best friend, was another one of my favorite parts. She was funny and always tried to pull Dallas out of her comfort zone to have fun. (Can you tell how much I preferred the secondary characters to the main character?)
I’m all for the swoons and the steamy scenes, but it did kinddd of feel a bit insta-lovey. She literally says “I feel a little bit like I might die if you don’t kiss me.” And that’s just the beginning of THAT conversation that ended up being A LOT insta-lovey. I didn’t find it cute or sexy; I found it weird and overdramatic. As usual. I cannot get over some of the cheesy things these two said to each other! Stop talking and get kissing, dammit!!
Soooo overall I think this came across a bit ranty, but this was a pretty solid read overall. Putting aside some of the thoughts above, I enjoyed reading it and will definitely get to the next book in the series sometime soon. I really liked the first half of the book and then the angsty stuff really started to bug me in the middle. Everything definitely picked up again at the end. Also I loooove me an epilogue. For some reason they always make me so happy. (No spoilers, don’t worry.) Would I recommend this book? Yeah probably. If you’re into more traditional New Adult books that have a bit of angst mixed with a bit of humor, you’ll enjoy this one.