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Review: Under the Lights (Glines)

I really do love author Abbi Glines, but book two of The Field Party series just wasn’t as good as the first one. Pacing is slow. One of the three character points-of-view is completely unnecessary. Consequences for a teen’s past and present actions are unrealistic and unhelpful for an accidental first-offender who needs counseling, not jail time. Yes, I have many complaints on this one.

AUTHOR: Abbi Glines
SERIES: The Field Party series, book 2
PUBLISHER: Simon Pulse
PUBLICATION DATE: August 23, 2016
ISBN: 9781481438896
PAGES: 336
SOURCE: NetGalley
GENRE: contemporary romance
SETTING: Lawton, Alabama

SUMMARY: Six years ago, 11-year old Willa Ames left Lawton, Alabama with her mother. Now, after two tragedies changed her life, Willa has returned to Lawton to live with her grandmother. Willa plans to keep her head down and stay out of trouble, but her two former best friends, Brady and Gunner, have missed Willa. Worried about her, both boys try to help Willa, even as both have fallen for her.

WHAT I LIKED: Hmmm…not too much, really. The parents were horrible, most of the girls were skanks, Brady was ridiculous. I did finish the book, but I put it down several times. That’s not been my norm with Abbi Glines books. This is my 12th book by Abbi Glines, and I usually read them voraciously.


A slow-mover. There was far too much inner dialogue, and I found myself skimming some of it toward the end. Hardly anything actually happened.

Brady’s point of view wasn’t necessary, and I actually got annoyed with his chapters. And he was such a weenie with Ivy; he’s supposed to be a good guy, but dragging Ivy along because he “doesn’t want to hurt her” is a weak cop-out. Not cool, dude.

The grandmother’s actions near the end. —-SPOILER ALERT—-highlight to see–> If she cares so much about Willa, why would she want to completely isolate her? That’s not at all healthy for any 17-year old girl, much less a sad girl dealing with considerable grief and family drama. Does no one think she needs to talk about all this stuff? Willa needs professional counseling and some semblance of a normal environment. A teen girl does not need to be on grandmother-assigned house arrest for months just because she talked to a troubled boy, her best friend from childhood, only one time, at 2am. Major overreaction there.

Why was Willa in a correctional center? The fact that she’s on probation suggests that she committed a crime. —–SPOILER ALERT—-highlight to see–> I highly doubt a tragic accident would land a teenage first-offender in six months of juvie, even if alcohol and marijuana were involved. More likely, it might get her six months of counseling or a few weeks in a drug rehab facility for teens. Willa keeps saying that “no one believed her.” What did they not believe, that she didn’t know the little girl was there? Why would that be so difficult to believe? Did they think she went and drowned the girl herself? I didn’t get any of that at all.

On a side note, after living outside the USA for the past two years, I’ve really seen how the American obsession with football, particularly in the deep south, is completely over the top. I’ve never understood the football craze, but I accepted it as a part of life in Texas. When I read books featuring American high school football players now, I can’t help but roll my eyes. The football players pretty much own the school. They are cool and popular and hot and date all the easy girls. They are super-physical and horny and all chummy with each other and high-fiving in the halls. Gunner gets mad and goes to football practice “because he needs to hit something.” It’s all quite macho and annoying.

THEMES: grief, guilt, friendship, loneliness, dysfunctional families

THE BOTTOM LINE: A disappointing slow-mover.

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: I don’t plan to get it.


  • Overall: 2/5–I did at least finish it without too much struggle.
  • Creativity: 2/5
  • Characters: 2/5–There was no one that I really rooted for.
  • Engrossing: 2/5
  • Writing: 2/5
  • Appeal to teens: 4/5
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 3/5


  • Language: high–lots of F-bombs
  • Sexuality: mild-medium–Sexual content is surprisingly tame compared to the previous book–kissing, past rape accusations, parents’ sexual history is really messed up, slut-shaming (“she looks like a stripper,” “she should be on a pole,” etc.)
  • Violence: mild-medium–verbally abusive parents, past rape allegations
  • Drugs/Alcohol: medium–teens drink/get drunk at post-football game field parties; past marijuana and alcohol use
  • Other: —-SPOILERS—-Highlight to see–> remembered drowning death of a toddler, suicide, teen pregnancy


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  • A someone who knows, an an accident by a young first time 'offender' would almost NEVER get jail time. Probation and drug counseling would be the most likely consequence.

    you wouldn't believe how many repeat offenders don't even get jail time, especially if they play the I'm going to rehab card.

    • Thanks for backing me up on that one. My husband is a former police officer (now middle school teacher!), and he also agreed.


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