4.5⭐️ – In the mood for adorable characters, angst, yearning and fuzzy feelings? This book has it all.
Becca swore she’d never date one of her teammates again after the debacle of her first year on the UNS Women’s Lacrosse team but she can’t get one of them out of her every thought. Hope is still reeling from the awful and very public way her boyfriend broke up with her a couple of months ago, yet for some reason, the harmless crush she’s had for two years on her team captain has recently morphed into a full-blown obsession. The timing may seem all wrong but is it, really?
This book is written in first-person present-tense from both MCs’ POV, in alternate chapters. I liked the two mains from the start but there’s something about Becca that touched me the most in the way she sees Hope. There’s so much yearning and angst in her chapters and I loved it all. Lacrosse is everything to her and, in her second to last year of university in Halifax (Canada), she’s not sure she knows who she is without it. Hence her insistence on the no-dating rule and the terror she experiences at the mere idea of jeopardising the team or its chances at finally winning the title they’ve been working so hard to win. Becca’s life is all about rules and routines, and any change to the plan is scary. That what Hope is, change.
There’s this very pretty paragraph when Becca is thinking about Hope: “I’ve always felt her like a change in seasons, like a shift of scents and colours, of sounds in the air and wind on my skin. Sometimes she’s the first crackle of dried leaves in the fall and sometimes she’s the mud and melting of spring, but she’s always a change. She’s always a collection of warning signs there to remind me I spend every day of my life pulled around the sun by a force I can’t feel or see.”
Like everyone else, I fell for the superficial image Hope gives off at first. She’s sweet and loud and, at first glance, appears to be the fun and enthusiastic player who makes the whole team comfortable. Yet there’s a side of her not many people know. She’s dyslexic and it makes it hard for her to balance classes and the team. There’s a hidden depth to her character that I really enjoyed seeing come to the surface. I love the way her housemates support her in a very natural manner. Dyslexia is also hard on Hope’s self-esteem (as someone who was diagnosed even later with dyspraxia, I can attest to that frustrating feeling of trying to keep up) and Becca’s struggle with her past and the responsibility she thinks she has to bear in a messy situation that put the team in danger sometimes leads her to pull away, causing Hope to wonder if she did anything wrong and all her insecurities to flare up.
Miscommunication is my least favourite trope (how many times have I written this?) but I can accept it a lot more easily from younger characters. As these two are in their early twenties, I don’t have a problem with it, especially the way Rose wrote it. It’s not contrived, it’s not far-fetched, it’s consistent with both characters and their hang-ups.
And seriously, this is how you write chemistry. With both characters and especially when the author was writing in Becca’s voice, I could see and almost feel what they saw in the other that made their knees go weak – I’m keeping this review PG but the book itself isn’t, it’s hot.
The secondary characters – especially Hope’s roommates and friends (Iz, who just came out as nonbinary, stars in Stop and Stare, a novella I’ll also be reviewing very soon), her brother and his girlfriend (whose story Katia Rose told in another book), Becca’s best friend, and the team coach – are well-fleshed and the kind of people you want around you when life isn’t as easy as you’d like it to be.
There’s enough sports talk to satisfy sports books fans but not so much that it will bore readers who don’t care about it. I didn’t even know what kind of sports lacrosse was before I read this book. I googled it and watch a couple of videos but Hope’s definition is my favourite: “chase a ball around and hit people with a stick”.
It may seem cliché for a New Adult book, but Catch and Cradle is a story of growth and finding who you are, even when you already thought you knew. It’s also a very sweet romance, with secondary characters who all feel like they deserve their own book.