Mundie Moms

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Whatever Life Throws at You by Julie Cross, Book Review

By: Julie Cross
Published by: Entangled Teen
To Be Released on: October 7th, 2014
Source: ebook from publisher to review
Ages: 17 & older
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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…

An addicting and gritty story about family, friendships, falling in love, and choosing to follow your own path. Whatever Life Throws At You is a story that combined my love of sports, and YA romance in a way only one other YA author, Katie McGarry, has done. This is a realistic story that doesn't gloss over both the good and bad that life pitches to it's characters. It's a story about learning to listen to your own heart. It will make you laugh, cry, swoon, and  have you rooting for Annie & Jason. It's a book older young adult readers and new adult readers alike, will enjoy. 

I am a picky YA contemporary reader. I'm even pickier when it comes to what I like to call, "realistic YA contemporary" books. You know the books that don't sugar coat the good and the bad that teens deal with in real life. In fact, there's maybe three authors who's realistic contemporary books I'll read, Katie McGarry is one of them. Well, now Julie Cross has been added to that list. 

Whatever Life Throws At You is a book that surprised me. When I sat down to read it, I wasn't excepting to become addicted to the book. This is a book that to me, borderlines upper YA and NA reading. Cross does a fabulous job at tackling those feelings and emotions that come with being on the cusp of adulthood. You know that stage... where you're seventeen year's old, and have the world at your hands, and yet you're still not quite legal, and allowed to tackle the world no matter how bad you want to or think you can. Or maybe you'll understand what the nineteen year is going through. He didn't always make the best choices as a teen, while his past still haunts him, he's given a new chance to fulfill his dream. Even if he'll always have someone throwing his demons in his face.

Julie Cross doesn't make life the easiest for her characters. Being that this book is a realistic contemporary book, it mirrors real life to extent, and life is not easy. But like real life, even with all the heartache, and the damaged pasts, there's new beginnings, friendship, love, happiness and hope. Both Annie and Jason are characters who haven't had the easiest lives, but who does right? The brokenness each character has that slowly gets peeled away little by little as the story goes on, is masked behind a certain kind of strength I admired in both characters. 

Annie and Jason are strong characters, and yet they both have flaws, which made them feel human to me, vs being characters I was reading about in a book. I liked the way  Cross not only wrote them, but the way she developed them made them both relatable characters. Sure I may not have grown up having the same experiences they each had or are over coming, but emotionally, Cross tied me to them.  I felt for them. I cheered them on. I laughed, and cried with them. As a reader, I wanted both of the characters to succeed in their dreams, to over come their fears, learn from their past mistakes, and realize that even when everyone around them was against them, if they believed, they could over come their odds.

Jason Brody is a character I think a lot of fans are going to fall head over heels in love with. The more you get to know Jason, the harder he is to resist. There's so much more to him than meets the eye, and what is heard about in the press in this book. Annie for her part is a character I would have loved to have been friends one. She loves sports and she more than gets the game. She's also a character who says it how it is, and I admire her straight forwardness. I loved watching these two fall in love and the way they did so. They have an undeniable chemistry that definitely heated up the pages of this book. 

Aside from Annie and Jason, Cross introduced me to some pretty amazing characters who all played a huge role in the story. I love it when an author doesn't leave out characters who are family both literarily and figuratively speaking. I loved getting to know them. With meeting each of them, I slowly got to understand both Annie and Jason better. I also liked the ins and outs I learned about that happen behind the scenes of a baseball game. I'm not talking about the game that gets played on the field, but the game that is played that dictates star athletes lives. Wow, talk about adding to the drama. Kudos to Cross for tackling realistic topics, and situations that our characters get themselves into/find themselves in (whether they want to or not), that not only have an impact on them, but those they love. 

Whatever Life Throws at You is a book I think older YA readers and NA readers alike will love. It has a lot of NA cross over appeal. Being that it's a book for older readers, I liked that Cross didn't back down for tackling more mature situations, and how things were handled. There's something without giving anything away. This a book that does a great job at combining my love of YA romances and sports. You know you've read a good book, when you get to the end and not only feel satisfied with it, but you always don't want the story to end. That was the case with this book. *There are some scenes (well written sensual/sex scenes) in this book that are not suitable for younger readers.