*Spoiler Free Review*
I am not a sports fan, and it's not often I'll read a book in the m/m genre that involves sports. It takes a rare book, by an especially talented author to get my interest and keep it when sports and sex mix.
Sloan Johnson is one such writer, and I am left with one of the most enduring book hangovers I've had in a long time after having finished Wild Pitch.
Sean and Mason, the two MC's, are both professional players on different teams, and have been friends for a long time. Best friends, and the story benefits so much from the fact that Johnson creates their relationship foundation from long-term friendship. Secrets, family angst, work and distance all come to bear down on the lovers, and I think the book would have been far more stressful a read if Sean and Mason didn't have years of friendship and trust between them to make things work. Even when things get tough, and it looks bad for them, I don't lose faith that things will get better.
"What if dreams are meant to change?" is the book's tagline, and wow, it's the whole plot in seven words. Sloan Johnson pulls off a masterful plot evolution full of changing dreams and hopes, maturity and emotional growth. Our characters all see some kind of development, and secondary characters don't FEEL secondary at all with the insights she provides us. Johnson breathes life into the smallest part, and gives each scene the details necessary to bring me into the story completely, and forget the real world.
Speaking of the real world, I have to admire Johnson's approach to baseball as a sport, the way players live and interact off the field, and she does it without any fanfare. I don't feel like I'm reading a treatise on the game, which I'm very thankful for, and the terminology and games don't leave me floundering. Johnson has written a sports book that I can enjoy, and actually look forward to the times the game comes into play (sorry!), because she presents it in such an easily digestible manner.
Johnson's dialogue comes off the page as easy as breathing, and there isn't a sense she's wasted lines or contrived a scene just so a character can say something funny or snarky. The book abounds with one-liners, some so subtle I had to reread to make sure I got it right the first time, and Jason, one of the secondary characters, has more than enough to say. (Heard he's getting his own book, insert fangirl squeal here.)
Wild Pitch is a book full of anticipation and hope. Love and friendship and a true sense of 'team' make this book, for me, a pleasure and a joy to read, and it's going in my Favorites Collection.
PS- I think I fell in love with Mason. Pretty damn sure, actually. Well done Sloan!
*I received a copy of this book for an honest review.