ROMANCE

Sidelined

Gallery: S. & S. Aug. 2019. 320p. ISBN 9781501188336. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9781501188343. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
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Charlie Gibb has been hired as the first female football coach at Douglass High School in Minneapolis. There’s bound to be pushback, but she’s been dealing with misogyny and sexism all her life and is ready to prove that she’s the best person to get the team to the playoffs. Connor McGuire, meanwhile, is convinced he should be leading the march to the postseason. An assistant coach for years, he’s convinced Charlie’s hiring is a publicity stunt for the school. From the first whistle, Charlie and Connor butt heads over every decision, yet it’s clear Charlie knows her stuff. When Charlie moves in with one of Connor’s friends, the two must navigate feelings of animosity in order to keep the peace. As their anger turns to attraction, Connor continues to have problems opening up even as Charlie is trying to assert herself as a coach. They may be drawn together, but it’s anybody’s guess if they’ll survive the season.
VERDICT Enthusiasts of Baltsar’s first novel, Trouble Brewing, will be excited to see many familiar characters here, but the chemistry between Charlie and Connor isn’t strong enough to make the transition from enemies to lovers a smooth one.

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