An emotional YA romance about small town secrets, high school football, and broken hearts. Julian Jackson has a short to-do list for his senior year at Crenshaw County High School in Meridien, Texas: football, football, and more football. He knows he's only got one chance to earn a college scholarship and make it out of his small town, and keeping his head down, his grades up, and his cleats on the field is that one chance. And then Elijah Vance walks back into his life, throwing all of his carefully-laid plans into a tailspin. Elijah and Julian used to be best friends, maybe even on their way to something more than just friends. But three years ago, Elijah broke into the school to steal money from the coach's office, and Julian was the one who turned him in. After that, Elijah and his family disappeared without a trace. And now he's back, sitting at Julian's grandmother's kitchen table. But time and distance haven't erased all of their feelings, and Elijah knows that he finally has a chance to prove to Julian that he's not the same person he was three years ago. But with secrets still growing between them and an uncertain future barreling towards them, it may be harder to lean on each other than they thought.
We are finally seeing books with gay characters who aren't coming out, but who instead are trying to figure out their relationships. This seems to be an accurate portrayal, and the difficulties caused by past history certainly inform their current actions and lead to some tension. It's refreshing that the ending is fairly happy.
My only complaint about the book is that there is not quite enough football! This is more along the lines of Schmidt's Bookish Boyfriends: Get a Clue, instead of Herbach's Stupid Fast or Cracking the Bell, which are both young adult books with lots of good football details. If you're looking for more romance and small town drama than football, this is perfect.