Monday, September 11, 2017

Review: After the Game - Abbi Glines

After the Game
Abbi Glines
Series: The Field Party, #3
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
The third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Field Party series—a southern soap opera with football, cute boys, and pick-up trucks—from USA TODAY bestselling author Abbi Glines.

Two years ago, Riley Young fled from Lawton, Alabama. After accusing the oldest Lawton son, Rhett, of rape, everyone called her a liar and she had no option but to leave. Now she’s back, but she’s not at Lawton High finishing up her senior year. She’s at home raising the little girl that no one believed was Rhett’s.

Rhett is off at college living the life he was afraid he’d lose with Riley’s accusation, so Riley agrees to move back to Lawton so she and her parents could take care of her grandmother, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. But the town still hasn’t forgotten their hate for her, and she hasn’t forgotten the way they turned on her when she needed them most.

When town golden boy Brady Higgens finds Riley and her daughter, Bryony, stranded on the side of the road in a storm, he pulls over and gives them a ride. Not because he cares about Riley, of course, but because of the kid.

But after the simple car ride, he begins to question everything he thought he knew. Could Brady believe Riley and risk losing everything?
When I started reading The Field Party series, I expected Friday Night Lights, and although the first two books had all the makings to create that experience, it never really happened. However, I would say this installment finally hit the FNL spot, as well as tugging hard on my heartstrings.

This book had a lot more football than the pervious two books. I don't know if it is because this was the QBs story or because their season was wrapping up, but I thought there was more of the game in this book. There also was a lot more of the town. I really got that small town feeling on more than one occasion during this book, and that was very FNL for me too.
"Bryony's birth had changed me a lot. Made me stronger and healed me in a way nothing else could."
I had been interested in Riley's story since her very brief initial appearance, and after the last book, I really wanted to know more. I found myself connecting with Riley so much. Although I was much older than Riley when I became a mom, I was in a similar situation with a disinterested dad, but I shared so many of her feelings. When she talked about the first time she held her daughter in her arms, and the way it wiped away all the bad that transpired prior to her birth, it brought me right back to my own daughter's birth. Riley was a dedicated mother and daughter, and she gave up a lot to be that way.
"I had a life to build. My teen years were over. They had been since the night I asked Rhett to give me a ride home. "
Brady was always billed as the nice, good guy of the group, but his actions often contradicted this label. He started amending his ways in the last book, and continued to grow and live up to his golden boy image. Deciding to befriend Riley was not going to help him win any popularity contests, but he knew it was the right thing to do.

This is the last book in this three-player arc, and I can now see how they all fit together. Each boy had something big to overcome, and Brady's world was up-ended in a way he never expected, and honestly, I never would have seen it coming. This was his test of character, the event that would separate his boyhood from his manhood, and I must say, he rose to the challenge.
"but tonight we had one last memory to make. There would never be another postgame field party for the three of us."
This was a great final-ish book as it revisited our prior two couples, and also incorporated them into the storyline. It was easy to find the connections between this story and the prior two, and I like that there was continuity. You do not need to read the other two books to enjoy this book, but it is something that is nice for us who did.

The moms in this book were so stellar! We already talked about Riley, but her mother and Brady's mom really shined as well. In fact, both Riley's parents were something special. Their love was so obvious and unconditional, and it was a joy to see each and every one of their interactions.

Another shining spot was Bryony. She was the cutest thing and just about stole every scene she was in. I could totally picture this little cherub, and she totally brought a smile to my face.

I keep seeing people saying the women in these books are weak. Each of the heroines had something big shake their world up: Maggie's mother was murdered, Willa's went to jail following her friend's suicide, and Riley was raped and run out of town. Each had to overcome something major, but I think each one showed some strong character. Maggie turned in a woman, who still didn't say much, but when she did, she said exactly what she meant. Willa began to trust herself again, to hold her head up, and she was deciding what was best for herself and doing it her way. Riley retuned to Lawton a social pariah, and would not let those people keep her from living her life. Maybe they had moments of weakness, but these young women were not weak to me.

I enjoyed this book and this series as a whole. Glines delivered her signature drama, but also gave me the HEAs I crave.

**I would like to thank the publisher for the advanced copy of this book. Quotes are from an ARC and may change upon publication.

Did you like the show/movie Friday Night Lights?
Let us know in the comments!


  1. I've tried multiple books by this author, but something about her writing just doesn't seem to click with me. I'm glad that this third book in the series worked well for you. I like reading stories about characters that have grown up too. And it's nice to see your take on the heroines who most people see as weak. Strength isn't as straightforward as some people would like to believe it is.
    Great review!

    1. I will borrow a term from my gal Tanya. Glines is my brain candy. Her books have that daytime soap opera feel, that I sometimes crave.

  2. I haven't heard of this series, but it sounds very interesting. I love that the last book in the series was great. I love when a series finished on a high note. Also, it looks like the author did a great job building the characters. Great review!

    1. Glines is one of my guilty pleasure authors. I always read her books when I am in the mood for some soapy fun.

  3. Friday Night Lights was one of my favorite shows when it was on the air. I still miss it actually. If this series ends with any kind of FNL vibe, I could easily see myself reading it when I'm in the mood for a contemporary book. Great review!

    1. This series was billed as a FNL type of series, but I finally really saw it fully realized in this book, and I was pretty excited.

  4. I still haven't gotten around to reading this series, despite having the first book in the series. It sounds like something I would absolutely love. I'm not really that big on football, though, so maybe that's why I'm reluctant to give it a try? Either way, great review!

    1. I feel like if you like Glines, you will like this. I liked her other YA series (The Vincent Boys), so I expected to be happy with this one too. Lots of the same stuff I liked in the Sea Breeze and Rosemary Beach books.

  5. I've read a few books by Glines, and while I don't think they're anything special...they are pretty fun! Riley sounds like a heroine with a pretty different life than the previous Glines MCs I've encountered, but I'm intrigued for sure. She sounds like a very empathetic character!

    1. I would say Glines is a steady 4 star read for me. I never get blown away, but I am always throughly entertained with a bunch of feels. Her heroines always appear to be a little needy, weak, but underneath, they are resilient and quite strong, and I like uncovering that side of them. Just as her heroes seem to be alpha, macho men, but they have this soft, sensitive side.

  6. I agree with so much of what you said here, Sam. (Note to self: get on the ball and get review for After the Game written!) I was surprised to see the comment about people saying the girls were all weak. No way! They had all experienced hardships and, IMO, showed a lot of strength in overcoming and carrying on. I loved Brady's mom through all three books. Such a sweet lady. I didn't see what happened there coming and was so sorry to see it. This was by far by favorite in the series.

    1. That storyline crushed my soul. I was shocked and so disappointed, even if I think it did push the story forward. Brady's mom was the best