Review: Knowing the Score

knowing the scoreReviewed by Janell

Spencer plays rugby for England, and ever since an incident when he was 19, he’s been celibate during the season, only allowing himself to have fun during the summer. His grandfather, who raised him, just had a heart attack, and Spencer finds himself wanting a more meaningful fling during the two months he has off.

Caitlyn is a disaster aid worker, an American on a work visa in London, who happened to give Spencer’s grandfather CPR and save his life. She had a bad childhood that led to issues with men, so she finds herself a virgin at age 27, wishing she could do something about it.

You see where this is going, right? But you can’t appreciate how they get there, because it’s not a quick “let’s have a superficial hookup for a while, oh wait now we’re in love.” In a way it is, but because of Caitlyn’s issues they have to take things very slowly, and these crazy kids are falling for each other before they’ve barely managed to kiss.

The characters really tipped this book into the awesome category for me. Spencer is big and strong, but he is sweetly aware of Caitlyn’s boundaries. Caitlyn is fairly open about her problems, allowing Spencer to adapt to her. She’s also self-aware enough to realize that she needs to get over her issues, so she lets Spencer help her.

Then there’s the humor — “Ask an American if they’re Canadian and they’ll correct you. Ask a Canadian if they’re American and they’ll rip your lips off.” When Caitlyn’s nervous about a kiss, Spencer says, “You’ll take that kiss, bend it over and make it your bitch.” And the cultural differences were illuminating. “Fanny means bottom in America. Here it’s…a lady’s front bum.”

I loved the sense of London, the insider’s view that’s different from how Americans see it. Even the tidbits about rugby were like a foreign language explained. I felt immersed and educated.

Then, in the midst of all this fun and romance, the author throws in some global awareness because Caitlyn gets called away to help after an earthquake in Afghanistan. So Caitlyn is noble and she kicks ass at digging toilets and not getting killed by the Taliban. Spencer nearly falls apart waiting for her to come back alive, feeling worried and helpless while he gets back to his insignificant day job of playing rugby.

I loved reading this book. I loved the characters’s revelations that it’s nice to support someone else, that it feels good to take care of each other, to be important to one another.

I love that Spencer says this: “Everything I do now is about you. When I play, I’m smashing in the faces of everyone who’s hurt you. When I win it’s because I poured my heart into the game for you. When I lose, it’s more humbling than it was before I met you because I need you to be proud of me.”

My only problem was with this spoiler: ***Caitlyn gets pregnant***.

I felt that there was enough conflict in the plot without that. I was already curious about how Spencer and Caitlyn would work things out, I was already rooting for them even as I knew they’d find a way because they’re both pretty smart. That added bit felt contrived, and I would have liked to see them resolve their relationship without that extra bump in the road.

Grade: A-

*ARC Provided by Carina Press via NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon

Knowing the Score
by Kat Latham
Release Date: August 5, 2013
Publisher: Carina Press

Comments

  1. Gah! I totally forgot that I was reading this one 🙁 And I totally just read the spoiler…. Oh, well! You did give it an A, so I guess I should go finish it.

    • At least the spoiler wasn’t so out of the blue, like, “then aliens landed and formed their own rugby team,” right? And yes, you should finish it!

  2. No problem. Any questions ask away. The cars all belong to my father, who is having a lot of fun playing around with different cars with my inheritance. Good luck to him I say!

  3. There was some great christian music in the 90′s. Prayer Chain, Mortal, Black Eyed Sceva, Dime Store Prophets, Sixpence None the Richer, Soulfood 76, Supertones, Thores, Sometime Sunday, Starflyer 59, Joy Electric, the list goes on and on. Some of those are a tad obscure but worth a listen for sure. The band I was in during the 90′s was fortunate enough to open for several of those bands.

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