Alex Dalton has spent her life playing basketball and bouncing from women to women. When a diagnosis prevents her from playing basketball anymore, she turns to coaching. The summer before she takes her first head-coaching job, she feels that maybe a relationship is exactly what she needs at this point in her life. She would like it to be with her new assistant head coach, Britain Dodge. But Brit doesn’t like players, and has no designs to be Alex’s next conquest. It’s a long school year, though, and as the two women work closely together to take the team to the next level, so do their feelings for each other. But outside pressures are always present in their careers and threaten to tear them apart before they can truly begin. In the end, it all comes down to trust, and will it be enough for Alex and Brit to keep their hearts in the game until the final buzzer.
The characters of Alex and Brit are very well written. I really love their dynamic, especially when you realize that Maddox put both women on the opposite sides of the spectrum. Alex is a self-proclaimed player, while Brit is a virgin who associates having sex with being in love. It’s a foundation that allows Maddox to really highlight the importance of trust and honesty that is at the heart of this story. Alex does her best to be honest with Brit about her feelings and wanting to pursue a relationship with her. And Brit is just as honest about not wanting to be involved with someone who could go to bed with someone so easily. This base that Maddox has created for these characters really allows them to grow and make them interesting to watch interact both on and off the court.
The highs school aspect is represented mainly through PJ and Kelsey. Both are good kids at heart, who unfortunately make bad decisions that get them into an almost periling situation. Kelsey’s connection is to Alex and Brit due to her position on the high school basketball team. PJ is then connected to Kelsey due to one of those bad decisions that Kelsey makes. Maddox does a good job of giving them both a sense of good-heartedness that has the reader hoping they get out of the jam they’re in without destroying their lives.
The Writing Style
Maddox takes the dual story approach with this one. Every other chapter addresses events that are happening simultaneously, until towards the middle the two worlds start to intersect, and then collide at the end. It’s a hard style to maintain, especially if one storyline is more developed that the other. But that is not the case in Bouncing. Maddox does an exceptional job of telling Alex and Brit’s story and then switching over to PJ’s storyline by giving the reader little clues on the way that tells them both stories are important and will connect at some point.
I loved the interaction between Alex and Brit and the way they are almost painfully honest with each other. It’s great to read a story where honesty is very important. And when the time comes a character must withhold information, even if it is for a noble reason, the impact of that dishonesty is made all the more powerful.
The build up of the mystery that takes place with PJ, Kelsey, Alex, and Brit is great to anticipate through the eyes of all four characters and one point or another in the story. Even with portions of the book showing obvious signs as to where this plot was heading, I was still surprised by the twist at the end and who the real bad guy was when he was revealed.
There were areas of the book that I wish Maddox had taken the time to develop a little more, especially around the basketball games themselves. Maddox does a great job of building the anxiety Alex feels before the first game and her insecurity of whether or not she’s good enough to be a coach. However, when we got to the actual game, it wasn’t given the focus and detail I was expecting after reading the buildup. It would’ve been awesome to see how that game progressed from beginning to end before pulling off that much needed win Alex wanted.
While I loved PJ, and I felt empathy for his plight, I would’ve loved to have seen him have some sort of connection to either Brit or even Alex in some way. Brit has a connection to Kelsey because of their playing at the park together outside of school. I think it would’ve made for an interesting dynamic to have PJ connected to either of the two protagonists is some way, whether through blood or other format.
This book has a little bit of everything: opposites attract, sports, and mystery. But it doesn’t feel overly crowded, rushed, or lagging in anyway. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed all aspects of this story, and I was rooting for all of the characters because Maddox did an amazing job by writing characters that you want to succeed, as well as characters you want to fail (the bad guys). And, I can’t say enough about it, the theme of honesty that is so important in this story, is written in such a great way. That alone is worth picking up this book.
Excerpt from Bouncing by Jaime Maddox
Alex sat for a long while after Brit left her, watching life happening around her. People walking, talking, laughing. Dogs prancing. Birds flying through tree branches and a brook burbling nearby. It was all so mundane and normal and perfect, and she would never be any of those things.
The stunning irony of the situation wasn’t lost on her, and if she wasn’t so looking forward to a good cry she might have laughed. How could she have met a woman who finally madder her consider changing her lascivious ways, and said woman would have nothing to do wit her because of her past?
It had been a foolish idea to reconsider her decision to remain single. Brit’s rejection had been a good thing. A relationship would have been wrong. Alex knew it. She just needed to figure out how to convince her heart.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781626393448
- Publisher: Bold Strokes Books