Review ♥ The Understatement of the Year

November 22, 2017 Angela LGBTQ, Reviews, Romance

Review ♥ The Understatement of the YearThe Understatement of the Year (The Ivy Years, #3) by Sarina Bowen
Series: The Ivy Years #3
Published by Rennie Road Books on September 29th 2014
Genres: LGBTQ, Romance
Pages: 308

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What happened in high school stayed in high school. Until now.

Five years ago, Michael Graham betrayed the only person who ever really knew him. Since then, he’s made an art of hiding his sexuality from everyone. Including himself.

So it’s a shock when his past strolls right into the Harkness College locker room, sporting a bag of hockey gear and the same slow smile that had always rendered Graham defenseless. For Graham, there is only one possible reaction: total, debilitating panic. With one loose word, the team’s new left wing could destroy Graham’s life as he knows it.

John Rikker is stuck being the new guy. Again. And it’s worse than usual, because the media has latched onto the story of the only “out” player in Division One hockey. As the satellite trucks line the sidewalk outside the rink, his new teammates are not amused.

And one player in particular looks sick every time he enters the room.

Rikker didn’t exactly expect a warm welcome from Graham. But the guy won’t even meet his eyes. From the looks of it, his former… best friend / boyfriend / whatever isn’t doing so well. He drinks too much and can’t focus during practice.

Either the two loneliest guys on the team will self destruct from all the new pressures in their lives, or they can navigate the pain to find a way back to one another. To say that it won’t be easy is the Understatement of the Year.

Warning: unlike the other books in this series, this heartbreaking love story is about two guys. Contains sexual situations, dance music, snarky t-shirts and a poker-playing grandmother.


Understatement of the Year banner

Go ahead and place another tick mark in Sarina Bowen’s “winner” column. If you’ve ever been curious about reading M/M romance, The Understatement of the Year makes an excellent introduction to the genre. It’s a college sports romance that focuses predominately on relationships and emotional intimacy rather than overly explicit sexual activity. It’s more like M/M light, if you will.

Rikker is an out and proud college hockey player who transfers to Graham’s college. Graham is decidedly less than happy to have Rikker as his new teammate. The two former best friends share a complicated past that Graham is determined to keep secret from the other players on the team.

Rikker is having a hard time fitting in, and Graham isn’t making the situation any easier. He is so deeply closeted, afraid, and in denial of his sexual orientation that he repeatedly hurts Rikker by shunning him. Basically, Graham is a selfish coward—something he himself admits. His treatment of Rikker was difficult to swallow.

I just wanted to hug Rikker throughout the book. His kindness, understanding, and strength in the face of bigotry and betrayal make him a model for other gay youths. Graham’s behavior and Rikker’s life experiences may be painful, but they are what make the story so real. Coming out to your friends and family as a teenager or young adult can be terrifying. Understanding the cost made me appreciate their journey even more

I really enjoyed this absorbing story as well as the diverse cast of characters. I’m looking forward to reading all the stories in the Ivy Years series.

Recommended for fans of:
M/M romance
College life


About Sarina Bowen

Sarina Bowen

Sarina Bowen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. She lives in Vermont’s Green Mountains with her family, six chickens and too much ski gear and hockey equipment.

In 2016, Sarina became a Rita Award winner! The Romance Writers of America honored HIM by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy with Best Contemporary Romance, Mid-Length.



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