Marie’s latest release is an utter win. You Don’t Have a Shot is emotionally row, swoony, and action packed. For fans “Bend it like Beckham” and queer contemporary stories, this is #1! Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
Valentina “Vale” Castillo-Green’s life revolves around soccer. Her friends, her future, and her father’s intense expectations are all wrapped up in the beautiful game. But after she incites a fight during playoffs with her long-time rival, Leticia Ortiz, everything she’s been working toward seems to disappear.
Embarrassed and desperate to be anywhere but home, Vale escapes to her beloved childhood soccer camp for a summer of relaxation and redemption…only to find out that she and the endlessly aggravating Leticia will be co-captaining a team that could play in front of college scouts. But the competition might be stiffer than expected, so unless they can get their rookie team’s act together, this second chance―and any hope of playing college soccer―will slip through Vale’s fingers. When the growing pressure, friendship friction, and her overbearing father push Vale to turn to Leticia for help, what starts off as a shaky alliance of necessity begins to blossom into something more through a shared love of soccer. . . and maybe each other.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
You Don’t Have a Shot made me cry. I never expected to from a soccer rivals book, but there you go. What makes this book so special is how Marie infuses vulnerability into each page. I may be more alike to Valentina than I’d like to admit – quick to react, slow to apologize, easy to blame others – so You Don’t Have a Shot was like looking into the mirror. One of the major themes is the idea of winning at any cost. Even if it’s the ones we love. Or ourselves.
That we can become so focused on the end goal, we lose track of the experience. The joys of our hobbies and loves. As someone who is currently swimming amidst these feelings, it’s no surprise You Don’t Have a Shot emotionally resonated with me. Marie’s sophomore release is solely focused on Valentina’s character journey. Of her difficulty trusting and letting her guard down. She thinks she has to always be the one and while she has a team, isn’t experiencing the camaraderie of one.
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There’s a time for work, for rest, and for play. When we become single mindedly focused on a goal, we can lose everything around us. You Don’t Have a Shot is also about making amends because it’s the right thing to do. Not because you want to be forgiven. Only when we show people our guilt and our growth, will we begin to understand how to apologize. It’s okay to be soft. To let others in. The risk of pain is worth it.
You Don’t Have a Shot is a gem. It straddles this line between swoony romance and an emotional heart wrecking book about what success means to us. Find You Don’t Have a Shot on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon, Bookshop.org, & Blackwells.