Author: Julianna Keyes
Publication Date: March 28, 2019
Publisher: Julianna Keyes
Genre: Contemporary, Sports, Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Don’t hate the player…
Gwen Scott wants to love her job with the Charleston Thrashers, the MLB team she’s worshiped since she was a kid, but she can’t. Hateful colleagues and mind-numbing work make her days unbearable—until her head for baseball gets her exclusive access to the Thrashers’ clubhouse and she comes face-to-face with Tyler Ashe, the team’s sexy shortstop and baseball’s most ineligible bachelor.
Ty has sworn off relationships in order to focus on his all-star career, but with his best friend gone, his team struggling, and the press blaming him for every loss, the most recognizable man in the majors is in a slump. Until he starts spending his time off the field with a stern blonde who recites baseball stats for kicks and sees through his arrogant façade.
As the Thrashers’ season gets into full swing and Gwen adjusts to her new job, their fun banter and friendly teasing turns into stolen kisses and countless steamy nights. The team’s strict policy against player-staff relationships throws a curve ball into the mix, but they can’t hide from their feelings any more than the most famous man in baseball can hide from the spotlight…
Team Player is a classic contemporary sports romance. It’s written in third person dual point of view. While that’s not my favorite type of narration, it was well done. I almost didn’t notice it was third instead. I loved how each chapter started off with a fun Tweet that applied to what was coming up.
There was a lot of stuff going on in this book. Gwen was dealing with her aunt’s death and trying to hold onto her job with the Thrashers. Her attraction to Ty wasn’t something she was ready to face. Ty wasn’t quite ready for Gwen either. His baseball career hasn’t been the same since his best friend abandoned him. Despite all of this, they don’t want to fight their attraction and start to secretly see each other. The secrecy of their relationship adds a bunch of other things for Gwen and Ty to deal with.
Gwen and Tyler were both similar and completely opposite people. Gwen was quiet and spent a lot of time trying to fly under the radar. Tyler was a cocky athlete who was always in the spotlight. Surprisingly, both of them were loners. Neither had a good support system or friends. I thought that was weird and a little too convenient, but it was one of the things that helped them connect to each other. They had great chemistry. I loved their quiet moments together — especially how they watched a baking show together.
I think what shocked me most about Team Player was that it wasn’t the couple or the romance that was my favorite thing about the book. I loved other stuff more. I thought Gwen and Ty’s backstories were really good and important. I wish they had gotten a little more focus. I loved reading about Gwen’s relationship with Marge and how it shaped her life — especially when it came to her job with the Thrashers. The dynamic in Gwen’s office was fun and fresh. I loved how smart she was when it came to her job. I adored all of the Thrashers’ players. Ty’s teammates were hilarious. They made his character feel more “real”. I would love books about a couple of them. (Preferably in first person…) Overall, Team Player was a fun contemporary sports romance.