Cleat Cute

St. Martin’s Griffin. Sept. 2023. 336p. ISBN 9781250873309. pap. $18. LGBTQIA+ ROMANCE
The New Orleans Krewe’s star player, Grace Henderson, is the soccer team’s veteran at just 26-years-old. She’s beginning to feel her age too, but she’s ignoring the twinge in her hip because she’s afraid of being sidelined and replaced. At 22, Phoebe Matthews is a team newbie. It’s her first season, and she couldn’t be more excited to play alongside her hero, Grace. When solitary, taciturn, serious Grace meets lively, gregarious, spirited Phoebe, the sparks fly on the field and off. Neither wants a relationship—or so they think—but “friends with benefits” sounds just fine. Until they start developing feelings, and the stakes are higher than ever as they are called up to the U.S. Women’s National Team and have to prepare for the World Cup. Both Phoebe and Grace are undiagnosed, untreated neurodivergent characters, and the strengths and weaknesses of their ADHD (Phoebe) and Autistic (Grace) brains are treated as matter-of-factly as their queerness. The sex scenes are fan-your-face hot, and the emotional confusion and wariness ring true.
VERDICT This steamy opposites-attract romance from Wilsner (Mistakes Were Made) is recommended for all collections.
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