What does it mean to get a second chance in a game that offers few?
Zach Glasser has put up with a lot for the sport he loves. Endless days on the road, playing half-decent baseball in front of half-full stadiums and endless nights alone, pretending this is the life he’s always wanted.
The thing is, it could have been everything he ever wanted—if only he’d had the guts to tell his family, tell the club, that he was in love with his teammate Eugenio Morales. Well, ex-teammate now. When Zach wouldn’t—couldn’t—come out, Eugenio made the devastating choice to move on, demanding a trade away from Oakland. Away from Zach.
Three years and countless regrets later, Zach still can’t get Eugenio out of his head. Or his heart. And when they both get selected to play in the league’s All-Star Classic, those feelings and that chemistry come roaring back.
Zach wants a second chance. Eugenio wants a relationship he doesn’t have to hide. Maybe it’s finally time they both get what they want.
I’m a huge fan of queer hockey romance, so I was very excited for the opportunity to read this queer baseball romance.
The hockey romances I’ve read include gameplay scenes as an integral part of the narrative, but the focus is on the camaraderie off the ice. Zach and Eugenio are both catchers, so there isn’t as much gameplay per se, but this book places an equal emphasis—if not a dominant one—on the mechanics of baseball versus romance. I thought I knew a lot about baseball from schoolyard games and rooting for hometown teams, but this book opened my eyes to so many things I didn’t know about this quintessential American sport.
I don’t mean to imply that this is a negative aspect of the book—on the contrary, I’m so impressed by Casey’s extensive knowledge of the sport, and I appreciate its inclusion in the romance.
Speaking of which, I’m always a sucker for second chance romance, and this book delivers a big heaping spoonful of second chance. The timeline skips around from the present day, in which Zach is going to see his ex-boyfriend Eugenio again for the first time in three years—and then three years ago when they first met.
So needless to say, this book is full of *feelings*, from Zach’s regret about the way they left things, to the realization that his attraction has not waned, to the hope that he can make amends to the man he hurt. The angst level remains fairly low, but it’s a constant presence.
This is a single-POV romance, with Zach serving as narrator. He’s a fascinating protagonist: he’s a professional athlete who uses a hearing aid, and he’s also Jewish. He’s mostly secular, but he respects the traditions his parents still observe. I should point out that Eugenio is Venezuelan-American. It’s always nice to see a diverse spectrum of representation in romance novel protagonists.
Baseball players—like most professional athletes, I’d imagine—sure do eat a lot, and this book made me so hungry with all the descriptions of food. AND, there’s cooking for people as a love language, and I could just swoon.
I would absolutely recommend Unwritten Rules. This was a great book, and I’m looking forward to reading more from Casey in the future.
I received a digital ARC of this book from Carina Press/NetGalley.