Okay, it’s going to sound like I didn’t like After the Game at all. I have a LOT of complaints, most of which are my usual complaints about Abbi Glines books. But I did enjoy reading the book, even if I rolled my eyes a few a whole lot of times. It’s entertaining, and teen girls will eat it up. But, like the other two in The Field Party series, it’s not without its problems.
AUTHOR: Abbi Glines
SERIES: Field Party, book 3
PUBLICATION DATE: August 22, 2017
GENRE: contemporary romance
SETTING: Lawton, Alabama; present-day
GIVE IT TO: HS
SUMMARY: Two years ago, 15-year old Riley Young fled her hometown of Lawton, Alabama after she accused the town golden boy, Rhett Lawton, of rape. Now, Riley has returned, with a 15-month old daughter in tow. Two years ago, Brady Higgens was shocked when Riley accused Rhett of rape. He turned his back on her, just like everyone else in town. But after a chance meeting with Riley, Brady starts to believe Riley’s story. Knowing how Riley has no friends at all and is still very much the scorn of the town, Brady decides to befriend Riley.
REVIEW: This is my 13th Abbi Glines novel. I’ve read all of the Field Party series (so far), almost all of the Sea Breeze and Rosemary Beach series, and the first in the Vincent Boys series. Ms. Glines’ novels are easy to get into, follow a similar story arc, and are a great way to escape real life for an afternoon.
While I have mildly enjoyed the Field Party series, it hasn’t dazzled me quite as much as her other series.
So did I like this book? Well, I read it in one day, so I guess that means I liked the story and wasn’t bored by it. I liked it better than its predecessor, Under the Lights. So what’s my problem?
Both Riley and Brady seemed too “golden” to be real people. Riley is so responsible and wise beyond her years, which I understand because sure, she’s a teen mom. She’s had a ton of growing up to do, very quickly. But Brady is also really perfect (I’ve complained about Brady before). He’s a perfect physical male specimen. He is the “best quarterback in the state,” something we are reminded of repeatedly. He’s got impeccable manners, also something we are repeatedly reminded of. He never drinks at the field parties and is such a great son to his doting, perfect, always-wearing-an-apron mother. Oh, and don’t even get me started on Brady’s Stepford Wife mother, always baking cookies and smiling all perfectly. All waaaayyy too perfect. Give me some flaws!
I will say that I loved that there was no possessive behavior from the male love interest (Brady) this time, which is really refreshing after all the “mine, mine, mine” of the first two books in this series. Also, I appreciated the more tame sex scenes in this one. Librarians won’t need to blush when checking this book out to a 9th grader. There’s some kissing and hand-holding, but only one short scene that goes a little beyond the kissing. No sex this time.
What bothers me the most is that no one pursued pressing charges against Rhett for rape. There was a brief mention of a police interview two years ago, then nothing else. Why should he get off scot free? It may be a sad reality in our current world that many rapists walk away without punishment, but it’s not a great message for female rape victims. Where were Riley’s parents at that time? I would be ready to hunt that boy down and kill him with my own bare hands if he violated my 15-year old daughter that way. Where was their fight? Riley says she tried to fight him off; surely there was evidence of a struggle. And there was definitely evidence of sex. It’s like they just gave up and ran away, and I really don’t like that message for young rape victims. Do they not care that Rhett might rape someone else? And what happens if Rhett decides he wants shared custody of Bryony? Is Riley just going to hand her over? She won’t have a leg to stand on if Rhett wasn’t ever charged with rape.
Oh, lord, the football! The high school championship game is the most important thing going on in the whole town? Brady’s whole future rides on the outcome of two football games? Does Brady have any other plan for himself if the NFL doesn’t work out? He’s going off to college within two months of the end of the novel, but there is no mention of what his major might be. One cannot major in football, y’all. Sheesh, football in America is truly over the top.
THEMES: football, rape, teen motherhood, friendship, infidelity
THE BOTTOM LINE: All in all, not a perfect book, but it was still entertaining enough to finish in a day. Teen girls will eat it up, even though it sends all the wrong messages about reporting rape and fighting to be heard.
STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: I don’t have this series and do not plan to get it for my library. We have a large romance section already.
- Overall: 3/5
- Creativity: 3/5
- Characters: 2/5
- Engrossing: 4/5
- Writing: 3/5
- Appeal to teens: 4/5
- Appropriate length to tell the story: 4/5
- Language: medium–includes F-bombs and sh**, but it doesn’t overwhelm the dialogue
- Sexuality: medium; kissing, hand-holding, one up-the-shirt touching scene (mild and not descriptive); one marital infidelity scene (witnessed from across the room); the rape scene from two years ago is never described in detail
- Violence: none
- Drugs/Alcohol: mild-medium; Brady gets drunk after a shocking discovery; teens drink at field party; two main characters abstain