Hi Y’all! Happy October. Today I’m reviewing Elle Kennedy’s newest release, The Play. It is the third and final book in the Briar U series. To read more of my thoughts on the series, check out my author highlight on Elle Kennedy here. While The Play can be read as a standalone, it does follow a group of characters. I’d suggest starting with the first book, The Chase.
“Because I’ve done nothing but love that girl with all my heart.
And because I love her, I have faith in her.”
Synopsis and Content Warnings
Determined to solely focus on hockey after last season’s disastrous ending, team captain Hunter makes a celibacy vow. After last season, he’s through with distractions. Although, as soon as Hunter gets paired up with Demi for a yearlong project, he realizes this vow may be harder to keep than he thought. Demi is intelligent, driven, sarcastic, and right up Hunter’s alley. So when she makes a play for him, his resolve is tested in more ways than one.
CW: attempted suicide
The Play is for fans of:
- sports romances, hockey in particular
- characters who are college-aged/collegiate settings
- romance with comedic elements
What I liked:
I just love living in the universe that Elle Kennedy has created. The collegiate atmosphere, college campus, hockey teams, and cast of characters are what make this series (and this book) great. I love her writing style and think she has such a talent for creating unique character voices.
Hunter was one of my favorite characters to read about in her series. He felt like such a different take on an alpha-type hero. There weren’t silly miscommunication issues that drove the plot. He was honest and upfront about what he wanted and his intentions. It was so (!!) refreshing. The miscommunication-style plots usually have me yelling at the book in pure frustration. There was none of that here. Also, it’s worth noting that a celibate hero is certainly a divergence from the norm in romance.
What I didn’t like: (warning: very, very MINOR potential spoilers)
I normally wouldn’t categorize this as a spoiler because you find this out at the very beginning, but I know everyone has different definitions on what a spoiler is. Demi is in a relationship (not with the main hero) at the beginning of the book. This lasts until about the 40% mark. I did not like this. I just personally don’t enjoy OW/OM plot points in my romances. I know for some this is no big deal, but for me I kept wanting to rush through it so we could see more interactions between the couple. This always brings a romance down a bit for me. (Again, personal preference! You may not mind this at all.)
I also didn’t love that Demi peer pressured Hunter into breaking his celibacy vow. While Hunter did give his consent and the official ok, I still thought it was super lame that Demi basically continuously asked him after he said no and didn’t support him in this. He only wanted to wait a few months so I really didn’t understand the rush here. It just made it feel super juvenile.
Something that also bothered me is the tag line for this book, “She’s the Player He Didn’t See Coming.” It is inaccurate. Demi has only had one boyfriend in her life before she meets the hero and they had been dating for eight years. I truly don’t understand where the tagline came from, and I believe it’s very misleading. This really isn’t an issue with the book itself and it didn’t affect my rating. I just wanted to throw this out there just in case you read the tagline and get intrigued because it’s just not true.
I also included a content warning of attempted suicide. I didn’t love this plot point and it felt like it just missed the mark for me. It felt like it came out of left field and it was hard to connect to this character because they are barely mentioned and the interactions with them are so, so minimal. It felt more like a plot point for Demi to solidify her career options than to examine the effects of mental illness.
Overall, I still enjoyed the book. I think one of the reasons I felt more critical in my review is because I love Elle Kennedy and nearly all of her books are 4 or 5 stars for me. I have read eleven of her books, so I know I have high expectations when it comes to her writing. This is easily my least favorite Elle Kennedy book. However, I still love her writing and if you’d like to check out the other eleven books I love from her, check out my author highlight post. The Play gets a 3/5 from me.
My overall: 3/5
Get More Information:
The Play is new adult contemporary, and it was published on October 7, 2019. It’s available to purchase here.
About Elle Kennedy:
A New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Elle Kennedy grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a B.A. in English from York University. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a writer, and actively began pursuing that dream when she was a teenager.
Elle writes romantic suspense and erotic contemporary romance for various publishers. She loves strong heroines and sexy alpha heroes, and just enough heat and danger to keep things interesting!
This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. All links provided are for your convenience only – none are affiliate links.