Book Review: Season’s Change


Cait Nary

Rating: 4 out of 5.

published: 1st February 2022
spoilers? no

Goodreads

A veteran hockey player and a rookie can’t get away from each other—or their own desires—in this sexy, heartfelt opposites-attract hockey romance.

Olly Järvinen has a long way to go. He’s got a fresh start playing for a new team, but getting his hockey career back on track is going to take more than a change of scenery. He’s got to shut his past out and focus. On the game, not on his rookie roommate and his annoyingly sunny disposition—and annoyingly distracting good looks.

All Benji Bryzinski ever wanted was to play in the big leagues, and he’s not going to waste one single second of his rookie season. Yoga, kale smoothies and guided meditation help keep his head in the game. But his roommate keeps knocking him off track. Maybe it’s just that Olly is a grumpy bastard. Or maybe it’s something else, something Benji doesn’t have a name for yet.

Olly and Benji spend all their time together—on the ice, in the locker room, in their apartment—and ignoring their unspoken feelings isn’t making them go away. Acting on attraction is one thing, but turning a season’s fling into forever would mean facing the past—and redefining the future.

Galley provided by publisher

CWs: internalised homophobia, implied past homophobic abuse

Season’s Change is the kind of romance novel you finish and all you want to do is start rereading it over again. In fact, that’s even pretty much what I went and did (not quite immediately, but it’s been on my mind for weeks and I am rereading it right now).

The story is a romance between two hockey players: Olly, a veteran (of 24, I hasten to add, for those of you, like me, who aren’t fans of age gaps) who joins the Washington Eagles after a bad time with his previous team, and Benji, a rookie in his first full NAHA season. They end up as flatmates, and the romance blossoms from there.

Firstly, probably my favourite thing about this book was the pacing. Specifically, in the progression of Olly and Benji’s relationship. Olly is, at first, understandably cautious and it takes a while for their friendship to fully develop. This, I think, illustrates exactly what I loved most about this book: everything that happens makes total sense in terms of how each individual has been previously characterised. Instead of the characters being made to fit a plot, they drive it. The friendship is slowburning because that’s how Olly is, the romance slower because Benji, loveable himbo that he is, takes a while to get up to speed. And you can see it in their individual responses at the climax too.

So really, it’s not only the pacing that I love here, but the character work too. I normally dislike third act break ups, unless they properly make sense based on how characterisations are established, and they did that here. I don’t know how to put into words how much I loved it here (not necessarily the break up itself, because that was pain, but the entire trajectory of the story. It was a properly good romance.

And, of course, I couldn’t write this review without mentioning just how much I loved Olly and Benji. There are some books where you have a favourite POV to read, there are some where you simply cannot choose which you love more because you love both equally. This book falls into the latter category. These are the kind of characters you stick with you well after you’ve put the book down (and picked it up again, and put it back down). And this is also helped by the background cast too. Not all of them are likeable, not all are always sympathetic, but they all leap off the page as much as the main two. (And make you very invested in seeing who next gets a book… I vote Coach.)

Finally, I also really appreciated the nuance with which Benji and his sister’s situation was dealt. On the one hand, Krista is clearly in a toxic relationship and Benji wants to support her getting out of it, on the other, she doesn’t think the same, leading to her relationship with Benji becoming quite toxic in itself. I think it was good to see the perspective that, although Benji may want to help, he can’t until she decides she wants it. Basically, I liked the complexity of the situation, and the way Benji learned to set himself boundaries when it came to it (although I would still love to see Krista getting out of that relationship in future books—but, again, it made sense in terms of her characterisation).

So, really, there wasn’t anything about this book I didn’t like. Perhaps the only issue here is that I read this so early that now I have to wait even longer for the second book. Oh well, I guess that’s what rereads are for.

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Season’s Change

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