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Whatever Life Throws At You by Julie Cross

Whatever Life Throws At You by Julie Cross

5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
Life loves a good curveball…

Seventeen-year-old Annie Lucas is too young to remember her dad’s glory days as a pitcher for the Yankees. So when her father is offered a coaching position with the Kansas City Royals, Annie is intrigued to see the baseball side of her dad. Of course, knowing he’ll be a mentor to hot young rookie pitcher, Jason Brody, certainly makes it more enticing.

After an awkward first meeting with “Brody” involving very little clothing and a much-too-personal locker room interview, Annie’s convinced she knows Brody’s type: arrogant, self-involved, bossy. As her dad grows closer to the pitching phenom, the friction between Brody and Annie increases. But when opening day arrives and it looks like both her dad and Brody may lose their dream jobs, Annie steps up and offers support.

She and Brody call a truce that grows into friendship—and beyond. Falling for a rising star who’s quickly reaching a level that involves rabid female fans is not what Annie would call smart, except suddenly she’s getting hints that maybe this crush isn’t one-sided after all.

Could someone like Brody actually fall for a girl like her?

My Review
Whatever Life Throws At You is my favorite young adult read since the Pepper Jones series, and Julie Cross is my new favorite YA author. I was immediately hooked, rooting for Annie, her dad, and the sometimes arrogant rookie pitcher, Jason Brody. This was one of those books I had a difficult time putting down and was often reading until mere hours before I needed to get up in the morning. The author does an amazing job of creating authentic teen characters, angst-dripping conflict, and a sweet romance that borders on steamy without ever straying over the line.

Annie Lucas and her father, a former pitching phenom before cancer took his leg, relocate from Arizona to Kansas City where her father will coach young Jason Brody. At only 19, he’s the youngest player on the team, and Annie watches as the rest of the team shuns him. As much as she’d like to tell him and his attitude where to go, she sees the vulnerable Brody beneath the cocky exterior.

Annie starts to fall for Brody, but he’s she’s still in high school and he’s been told in no uncertain terms to stay away from high school girls. Plus he’s got a reputation for taking a different girl to his hotel room every night. When friendship blossoms between them, Annie realizes there is far more to Brody than his public persona. And just maybe some of that reputation wasn’t legitimately earned.

Plot
The main plot is the relationship between Annie and Brody, and Julie Cross has managed to create a page-turning young adult novel without needing to include  action or adventure components. While the main plot kept me reading, the subplots of Annie’s relationship with her flighty mother, Brody’s rookie season, and her dad’s pitching contract, all play beautifully into the main storyline. Everything is expertly balanced and all wind up with a perfectly satisfying conclusions.

Characters
Annie Lucas is infinitely likeable as is Jason Brody. Annie’s relationship with her father is believable and beautifully crafted. Annie’s new BFF, Lenny London, daughter of the team’s star first baseman, is a fantastic foil to straight-laced Annie. In fact, the overwhelming majority of trouble Annie gets into is due to Lenny. Savannah, publicity maven and all around assistant to the Kansas City Royals, is the perfect female role model for Annie who is sorely in need of one.

Bottom Line
Whatever Life Throws At You is one of the ten best young adult romance novels I’ve read this year. It has everything: a strong female protagonist, a swoon-worthy boy, a fun and spirited best friend, family dysfunction, and truckloads of angst.

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book
Title:
 Whatever Life Throws At You
Author: Julie Cross
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Pages: 320
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Powells Books | Amazon UK

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Author Julie Cross

Author Julie Cross

About the Author
Julie Cross lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three children. She’s a former gymnast and longtime gymnastics fan, coach, and former gymnastics program director with the YMCA.

She’s a lover of books, devouring several novels a week, especially in the young adult and new adult genres.

Outside of her reading and writing credentials, Julie is a committed—but not talented—long-distance runner, creator of imaginary beach vacations, Midwest bipolar-weather survivor, and expired CPR certification card holder, as well as a ponytail and gym-shoe addict.

Where to Find Julie Cross
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter