“More Than The Game” by Jenni Bara

Rating: 5 out of 5.

More Than The Game is the first installment of the Becoming an Evans series, and, coincidentally, my first book my Jenni Bara. 

I was really excited to dive into a sports romance. I’ve seen plenty of books in the genre, but have never found the time to get into one. If the rest of the genre is like this, then consider me a fan!

Let’s get to the meat and potatoes of this, shall we? 

We follow Beth Evans, a scandalized former Olympian, and daughter of a rising politician, and Marc Demoda, a baseball bad boy whose career was ended prematurely by a nasty car accident. The humdrum life Beth has built where she is surrounded by her late husband’s family, and her child suits her just fine. Marc, on the other hand, isn’t taking too well to his early retirement. There doesn’t seem to be enough alcohol and women to keep him satisfied. Especially not with him having to take up a job as mundane as fixing dishwashers. While the circumstance that introduces the two is wholly unremarkable, the impression they are left with is far from. Their chance encounter leads them into the murky waters of the paparazzi and Twitter gossip. Due to her father’s blossoming career and ever-present worry about scandals, their lack of a relationship turns into a real one. At least, as far as the public is concerned. It is a relationship rife with complications and unresolved trauma. Complications that only deepen when their fabricated feelings become real.

Now that the plot synopsis is out of the way, let me explain how I felt about this book: I loved it. 

Beth, on the surface, seems like the one person we all have in our lives who seems to be heaven-sent. She is good but in an approachable way. The sort of person who would pull the shirt off her back to help those in need. Often to her own detriment. She made herself the backbone of her late husband’s family. I found her incredibly relatable and beautifully written. She felt real. Given the extremeness of her situation, I would call this a win for Bara. It’s hard to make a character feel like they could be a real person, especially in the more “out there” scenarios. 

You know who else I loved? Marc. Marc was a character I loved to hate. He often knew what the right thing to say was, but instead, he elected to say the exact opposite. I appreciated that he wasn’t a cookie-cutter character. He wasn’t perfect, he wasn’t without flaws. He was insufferable at points. Unbearably manly at others (not the hot kind, I mean, the ‘why did you put your socks in the cutlery drawer again?’ kind of manly). But I appreciated that. I appreciated how authentic he felt to the character she constructed. It made their love story all the more breathtaking. 

I don’t have any real criticisms to level at this book. I thought it was beautifully written, and sincerely entertaining! I am greatly looking forward to its sequel, More Than Fine

You can find Jenni Bara: her website, BookBub, Instagram, Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter.


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