Today I’m going to attempt to write a spoiler free review of The Play by Elle Kennedy. I say ‘attempt’ because I don’t think I’ve ever posted a review of some new adult smut before, let alone by the author of one my favourite series.
I first read the Off Campus books in 2017, and then again in 2018, so when Elle released the Briar U series which followed some characters from the first books, I just had to read it. The Play is the third book in Briar U and I finally decided to take the plunge and write about why I enjoyed it so much.
Hunter, renowned ladies man, team captain and hockey hero at Briar University, made a pact with himself following a pretty disastrous game that he will remain celibate for the rest of the school year, focussing on the game and the game alone.
Demi, determined and cool, gets paired up with Hunter for a year long class project. Over time the two become good friends and when Demi becomes single, the two start to grow even closer. But it can’t happen. Things just aren’t right! Or are they?
My Thoughts on the Characters
One thing I love about books Elle’s books, aside from the super hot love interests and smut, is how sure and unapologetic in their beliefs the female characters are. Demi was no exception – she knew what she wanted and was so secure in herself. Elle’s stories always portray healthy sexual relationships too which I enjoy. She shows that people can enjoy sleeping with one another without any slut shaming!
Along the same lines, the main male characters aren’t misogynistic or d*cks either, and that theme ran straight through this book too. Hunter is a cheeky, sarcastic and very attractive hockey player. At first glance he might appear somewhat shallow but as the story progressed I am almost certain that Hunter is a feminist. He speaks about periods in such a matter of fact way, with no embarrassment or stupid jokes. Such a breath of fresh air!
Something I really enjoyed about this book was the element of a friends to lovers romance. I wouldn’t really class this as a spoiler as I think it’s fairly obvious where this story goes. For the first 3/4 or so of the story we get to read about our main characters as friends. Sure there’s a lot of sexual tension and angst, but I liked seeing the two just enjoy each others company. Don’t worry though, the smut comes through in the last quarter…
My Thoughts on the Plot
Content warnings: suicide attempt
The Play is a new adult sports romance, and yes there are parts of the books set at hockey matches, but please don’t be deterred! This may come as a shock to some of you but… I don’t play hockey. I don’t play any sports in fact, but this never put me off the story. The scenes are easy to follow, with little to no sports jargon. Honestly there is just something about hocker players I never knew I needed??
By 14% of the way through this book I’d already laughed a lot. The scenes with Pablo Eggscabar just really got me; I’m amazed at how Elle can go from red hot steam to hilarity in just a few pages without making it seem like two different books.
Usually I love Elle’s books from beginning to end. I may not always give them 5/5 stars but I don’t often have any major problems. This time however, at the very end of the book we see one character consider committing suicide. To me this seemed to come out of nowhere and act as almost a plot device? I don’t recall seeing content warnings and even as someone who isn’t triggered by these situations it did come as a shock.
So, I knocked a star off my rating due to the above but I think that being prepared for it when going into the story would have helped. I must say that until that point this book had me gripped; I binge read it in just a day and couldn’t get through it fast enough!
The Play by Elle Kennedy was the sports college romance I really needed and I was so happy to be back in this world! Especially as we got to see some of our fave characters from previous books. The story had more depth than you may presume a new adult romance would include, and I really enjoyed reading about the character’s arcs. This really was a three dimensional read, not to mention HOT, and I cannot wait to read more of Elle’s work! 4/5 stars.
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