This is from an advance review copy for which I thank the publisher.
This is the second in a kind of series or collection aimed at telling a buoyant, life-affirming story and I'm afraid I was no more impressed with this than I was the first one. This story is about a relationship which develops between an established major hockey star and a college hockey player.
One major problem reported by other reviewers is that the college player, Tom Leonard, looks more like a girl than a guy for some reason, and while I agree with this perception, I don't see how it would be a problem, except in that Tom looks way too young to be a 21-year-old college student, so while it's entirely conceivable that a very young-looking, feminine-looking person could well play hockey in college, it's a bit distracting from the story.
A second, similar complaint was about the Jesus-clone of a hockey player who some people complained appeared to be too old for the character he was supposed to be. I disagree with that. While the long hair did seem a bit much, I didn't have any other problem with his appearance. It was his behavior and attitude which bothered me. He lived a hugely secret life and this would have been fine, except that no reason was offered for it except some half-hearted and rather mealy-mouthed comments the guy makes about being misunderstood. It seemed inauthentic and irrelevant to the story. One of the secrets was that he was married to the woman he was, in public, passing off as his cousin! That was just weird.
According to the blurb, Tom is supposed to be sorting through issues that are "both very real and seemingly insurmountable," but I saw no such issues on his plate. He did cause problems for himself, such as being trusted with the responsible position of assistant captain of his team, and promising the coach he won't let him down, and then blowing off the first chance he has to keep his word. This made me view him as a dick and a slacker, and that perception never improved.
One of the things the blurb mentions is that Tom's perception of his hockey hero is a bit too golden, but after all the sports and celebrity scandals we've had, Tom would have to be a blind and deaf choir-boy to imagine someone was flawless or some sort of paragon, which would make him a complete idiot.
I did not like anything about this story, and it made little sense to me. It was far from being inspiring as I'm sure was intended. I cannot recommend it.