Saturday, October 30, 2021

Book Review: "Sidelined" by Kara Bietz

Sidelined is a sweet YA book about rekindling old friendships, football, and life in a small town.

Sometimes a legacy is a tough thing to live up to—or live down. Julian Jackson has lived his whole life in the small town of Meridien, Texas. Now it’s his senior year of high school and he’s captain of the football team.

He feels a lot of pressure—he has to get a scholarship in order to leave town, attend a good college, and pursue his dreams, but he’s also expected to come up with a series of colossal pranks against his team's biggest rival. It’s a tradition the town lives for. But he’s worried the pranks could go awry and his whole future could be destroyed.

The last thing he expects is for Elijah Vance to return to town. Elijah was his best friend and teammate, and there was a brief minute where it looked like they could be more than friends. But then Elijah and his family left town suddenly and he didn’t say goodbye to Julian. It’s been three years since then.

Elijah is nervous about returning to Meridien after all this time, and he’s even more nervous about seeing Julian. Can they recapture their friendship—and is something more possible?

But first, both must confront the legacies their fathers left behind. Julian’s dad was the football hero, destined for great things, while Elijah’s was a pariah. But legacies aren’t always accurate.

I enjoyed this sweet story a lot. I loved that this was a small, working-class town in Texas, and no one cared that the captain of the football team was gay. There was A LOT of focus on the whole prank thing (a little too much, IMHO), but it was actually the catalyst of an interesting thread in the story.

Another example of why I love YA books so much!

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