Author: Rachel van Dyken
Thanks to NetGalley and Skyscape for letting me receive a digital copy of this book before its official release.
Emerson just made her dream come true as a professional cheerleader for her favorite pro football team. But even though the plus-size athlete is breaking down boundaries, she still has to contend with the massive rulebook. Carbs? Nope. Chocolate? Definitely not. Still, Emerson loves her curves, and she’ll rock the hell out of this job even if it kills her. Except for one mandate that is easier read than done…
No fraternizing with the players.
Problem one is Miller Quinton: Emerson’s first love, first sex, and the guy who still ignites her daydreams and R-rated fantasies. Thrown back together, Miller and Emerson feel the undeniable pull of passion again, even if the conflict that tore them apart seems insurmountable. Then there’s way-too-sexy Grant Sanchez. He has a serious reputation with the ladies, and when it comes to winning someone he wants, he doesn’t let anyone stand in his way.
Now Emerson is breaking every rule in the manual. But what she doesn’t know is that she’s part of a wicked little game—one that could steal both her dream and her heart.
There are so many five stars ratings for this one so far (it's not even out yet as I write this review) and I'm really glad about that. The thing about Rachel is that I love her. I love her humor, I love her writing style. She's one of my favorite storytellers, but... I usually never agree with her couples in books. And that's the case with Fraternize as well. I didn't like the endgame. Like, at all! Maybe I'm immature like that, because Em's "decision" makes sense, but I just didn't see it. No, no, no.
And so that's why I can't be very fair. That's what made me suffer so much while reading the book. It's great. I mean, the humor is fabulous and so like Rachel. You don't feel like you're reading a 300-something pages novel, but like you're reading about friends and funny dialogues, and it all flashes before your eyes like it's a TV show. It's not even annoying, because it's too good. That doesn't mean the author doesn't take her job serious, because she obviously does. She picks up heavy topics and includes them into her stories, she makes her characters suffer and she also makes the readers fall in love with them. That's real talent there!
I'm not a big fan of cheerleading, probably because it's not that popular in Germany, same as football. But thinking of other stories about cheerleaders, I liked this one much better. Maybe also because Emerson isn't the typical super model, but has got curves. I think we need more of those types of cheerleaders in real life, too. I also liked that Rachel van Dyken's focus wasn't set on rivality between the cheerleaders. There was a scene in which Emerson and Lily clearly hated each other, but we read much more about Emerson's friendship with Kinsey and then of course her love triangle. Miller and Sanchez. If you think one bad boy makes you swoon, then you'll most likely die reading about these two hotties.
Truth be told, during the book, I wasn't sure who to ship her with. Sometimes it was Miller, sometimes it was Grant (that's Sanchez' first name). It all came down to one person I won't name, because it'd give away spoilers, but yeah... As I said before, the endgame wasn't for me. And I hate that. Not because of Rachel, but because of me. It's obvious that guy is a better fit for her, but I still wouldn't accept it. That's why I saw a lack of chemistry, though there wasn't, that's why I saw a cheater, though he wasn't. That's why I saw so many things the way I wanted them to be, even though they were perfect. I don't know what's wrong with me. I remember reading the first two books in her Eagle Elite series and I was exactly the same. And I'm still mad over the endgame, yes. I still have yet to read the other books in that series, because I was too mad to continue. Which is probably why it'll take me years to start reading the second book. But I'm kind of excited about it too. And you know why? Because it's Rachel, damnit! She's a genius.
I absolutely loved the flashbacks. They were one of my favorite parts. Okay, yes, some of them were very short and rushed, but that's perfectly fine with me. I usually hate second chance romances, but the idea of Miller and Emerson while reading the flashbacks really grew on me.
Emerson's dad is suffering from Alzheimer's. Did your shoulders just slack? I saw it! Yes, it's a heavy topic, but I'm so glad Rachel managed to find a way that worked for her. A sad book wouldn't have been the right decision and too much humor isn't a good choice, either. But the mix was great! You still got the impression of the weight Emerson had to carry on her shoulders, but it was nice that there were these two boys who made it a little easier for her. Her life didn't revolve around her father's illness. I wouldn't have wanted that for her. And the scenes with her father really brought tears to my eyes. Especially the last one. I loved that.
I'm very aware that this review isn't as professional as some would like it do be. Is it even still a review? I have no idea. I could talk about Fraternize for hours, but there's a risk of telling spoiles, which is why I'll quit now (if you want to know who Emerson ended up with by the end of the book, just read the blurb for Infraction, the second book). One more thing: I want Jax' book now! Seriously... Even if I have no clue about book number two and my feelings toward the couple in there - I need more of Jax in my life. The hints about what his character might be like made me curious to find out more about him. If you love sports romances, funny dialogues, awesome friendships and Rachel van Dyken, go and pick this one up!