Romance Lite in a new series from the author of Perfect Chemistry (2009).
When Derek gets kicked out of prep school in California for playing a prank, he has no choice but to move to suburban Chicago with his young stepmother, Brandi. There, he meets Brandi’s sister, Ashtyn, who’s just been voted captain of the football team, to the chagrin of the star quarterback, her boyfriend, Landon. Ashtyn takes an immediate dislike to Derek, although she’s charmed by his Southern drawl. Derek, a former quarterback himself, is impressed by Ashtyn’s unlikely combination of hot femininity and prowess on the gridiron. A thin plot, weak characterizations and poorly realized setting are beside the point in this fast-moving story. There’s plenty of sexually charged tension between Derek and Ashtyn as they go from beach parties and breakups to road trips and football camp. Alternating first-person chapters reveal the personal struggles of each as they fight the inevitability of falling in love. Unfortunately, the feminism implicit in Ashtyn’s being a football player is undermined by her apparently unironic conclusion that real power comes from squeezing into a cocktail dress and stilettos and imagining herself a princess.
Still, Elkeles’ ability to write deliciously steamy love scenes for those in the early stages of their own sexual journeys will keep her fans coming back for more. (Fiction. 14 & up)