Thursday, June 11, 2015

Review: Whatever Life Throws at You by Julie Cross

Whatever Life Throws at You
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Paperback, 373 pages, Entangled Teen
Genres: YA/NA, Contemporary

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

Baseball and Missouri go together like peanut butter and jelly. You just can’t have one without the other. Unfortunately, Annie Lucas kind of finds this out the hard way. She wanted to move away from her problems and head to Kansas City, Missouri, but will it all be worth it once she gets there? Maybe if she can hang out with Jason Brody, the hot new rookie pitcher, it will be.

One on first: I just have to start with the setting of this book. It. Was. Perfect. I love how Cross managed to make fun of Missouri in all of the ways Missourians make fun of Missouri. Yes, the weather is seriously bipolar, even now, when it’s close to being summer, there’s more showers in May than there were in April, and one morning it’s sunny and cheerful and that night it’s cold and misting. There is no consistency and Annie managed to capture that Missouri newcomer attitude beautifully. And then there was the “Kansas City is not in Kansas?” issue. All non-Missourians make this mistake, and it never fails to make me laugh. But now, I’ll get to my actual review and stop babbling about Missouri because I’m sure nobody wants to hear about it.

One on second: Annie Lucas is a fun character. She’s not one-dimensional. She’s got dreams and goals and she knows who she does—and doesn’t—want in her life. Her character was as relatable as they come. Even her family drama, while probably not 100% similar, can relate to a lot of readers’ problems with certain members of their own families. You love them, but sometimes you just have to stop. And I’m glad Annie was strong enough to realize this. Now Jason Brody on the other hand is a character that doesn’t really have anything on his mind but baseball. We’re given his backstory a little bit (not enough), but I wanted sooooo much more. He’s a character that could have made me really see baseball players in a new light—you know, less typical overpaid jock, more human being—and while I still really enjoyed his character, he could have been fantastically awesome instead of just amazing. But, Annie and Brody are cute together. They’ll make you smile and have you wishing for a baseball player of your very own.

One on third: The plot of the book follows the timeline of the season. I really enjoyed this aspect. (I also liked how the book was designed to reflect this). Now, while I may know some about baseball, I know nothing in comparison to other members of my family and some of my friends. When someone says postseason, I’m like, “When’s that?” So the story arc following this timeline was a very well-thought out decision. And of course there’s not a whole lot more to tell, because like all cute contemporary stories, there’s a romance formula that must be followed. I just think the baseball aspect of Whatever Life Throws at You really amped up the plot to a level beyond the cute contemporary.

One out: One aspect of the book that I was very hesitant about was the paparazzi element. Missouri isn’t Hollywood. And while I’m not absolutely certain this is true, I know that I have never heard of it—the “it” being newspapers and tabloids dishing about players’ and their kids’ lives. Baseball fans don’t really give a rip about players’ families. And especially coaches’ families. Sure there might be a short article about it, but there wouldn’t be a whole article about a coach’s underage daughter going to a club. If anything like this did happen, it would probably be more likely to happen with the Cardinals anyway, not the Royals.

And it’s a home run: All in all, Whatever Life Throws at You is worth the read. It’s fun, it’s entertaining, it’s more than just a fluffy love story, and it’s bound to knock you out of the park.

*Note: I purchased a copy of this book for myself.

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