Friday, November 28, 2014

REVIEW: "The Understatement of the Year" by Sarina Bowen

The Understatement of the Year (The Ivy Years, #3)
The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen
(The Ivy Years #3)

Goodreads -- Amazon
Author Website

For Ages 17+ (Language, Sensuality)
New Adult/Male-Male -- Contemporary

Rennie Road Books -- Published in October 2014
Ebook, 300 pages
Read in November 2014
Purchased from Amazon

Dual Points of View, Sports

What happened in high school stayed in high school. Until now.

Five years ago, Michael Graham betrayed the only person who ever really knew him. Since then, he’s made an art of hiding his sexuality from everyone. Including himself.

So it’s a shock when his past strolls right into the Harkness College locker room, sporting a bag of hockey gear and the same slow smile that had always rendered Graham defenseless. For Graham, there is only one possible reaction: total, debilitating panic. With one loose word, the team’s new left wing could destroy Graham’s life as he knows it.

John Rikker is stuck being the new guy. Again. And it’s worse than usual, because the media has latched onto the story of the only “out” player in Division One hockey. As the satellite trucks line the sidewalk outside the rink, his new teammates are not amused.

And one player in particular looks sick every time he enters the room.

Rikker didn’t exactly expect a warm welcome from Graham. But the guy won’t even meet his eyes. From the looks of it, his former… best friend / boyfriend / whatever isn’t doing so well. He drinks too much and can’t focus during practice.

Either the two loneliest guys on the team will self destruct from all the new pressures in their lives, or they can navigate the pain to find a way back to one another. To say that it won’t be easy is the Understatement of the Year.

"In all my favorite movies, when something bad was going to happen, the protagonist usually sensed it."

Sarina Bowen is definitely one of my favorite finds this year.  I have fallen in love with her NA romances and she really seals the deal with this emotional male/male love story.  The Understatement of the Year continues the series story line of focusing on the Harkness College ice hockey team.

Michael Graham's life takes a drastic turn when his high school best friend (and former boyfriend) transfers to Harkness.  Graham has kept his sexuality a secret from everyone except for John Rikker and he fears that everything will be revealed since Rikker is known for being an out gay athlete.  These two guys have some major chemistry as well as baggage to deal with before they can get their happily ever after.

I really liked the way that Sarina Bowen approached this story.  She allows readers to really understand both Rikker and Graham and their alternate reactions to the attack that shattered their friendship so long ago.  I admired Rikker for his strength in being known as a trailblazer even though he got outed accidentally.  And I really felt for Graham whose entire being is focused on making sure no one knows that he is gay.  

Graham and Rikker were a great couple, but they had to work for their happy ending.  I liked how they began their friendship again and just learned more about each other.  There were definitely moments when I became frustrated with Graham's inability to really go for it with Rikker, but those instances showed how deeply he hid his true feelings.  While it was a long, hard road, the resolution was amazingly sweet and emotional.

The Understatement of the Year was another very successful installment in this series.  I love Sarina Bowen's approach to the New Adult genre and admire that she isn't afraid to take risks in her writing.  I definitely am excited to read more of her books especially if Graham and Rikker's student manager, Bella, gets her own story.


Flush -- Detailed descriptions of lovemaking though nothing overly graphic.

"Getting along together was never the problem with you and me," he said. "We’re both easy. It’s just the rest of the world that’s hard."

1. The Year We Fell Down
2. The Year We Hid Away
2.5. Blonde Date
3. The Understatement of the Year
4.  The Shameless Hour (Coming 2015)

The Fiction Vixen (A)
Dear Author (B+)


  1. I haven't read a M/M romance before, well apart from the manga I read back in high school and I'm really looking forward to reading this one. Gotta to start this series soon. Thanks for the review, Jennifer.

    1. What manga did you read? I don't read a ton of that genre, but what I have tried I really liked. I think you would really enjoy this series.


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