Note: This ARC was provided by Give Me Books Promotions in exchange for an honest review.
Rounding Third is bestselling author Michelle Lynn's Infield series starter and is a second chance new adult (NA) romance and my first Michelle Lynn read. When I started the book, I confess that I felt a tad lost, being thrown right in and having to figure out why the male main character was saying and thinking what he was saying and thinking. As the story unfolds, I realized that there's a painful past that more than one character is having to deal with, each one doing so in very different and often ineffective ways. We meet college third baseman Crosby Lynch, transferee from Millcreek Junior College to become a member of the Ridgemont Tigers in his junior year, and Ella Keaton, junior pre-med student and Crosby's ex-girlfriend, as well as a few other notable members of the Tigers and townsfolk from Crosby and Ella's hometown of Beltline. This was a story about tragedy and triumph, redemption and absolution, and how forgiving yourself and facing the past is necessary in order to not squander second chances at life and love.
It's been two years since the accident that changed Crosby's and Ella's lives as well as the town of Beltline. Crosby and Ella may have been very much in love but going their separate ways was the only shot they had at moving forward. Only they haven't really moved forward all that much, still held back by painful memories and feelings of guilt. Crosby knows that the transfer to Ridgemont is his chance to being part of Division One collegiate baseball and at being with Ella again, but the discovery that Ella has a boyfriend stymies him. However, he also sees just how much Ella still loves him. Convincing her to give him another chance won't be easy and Ella's already wary, having had to endure the loss of their best friends as well as the knowledge that Crosby walked away from what they had and their future together. She also knows just how much their hometown hates Crosby, labeling him a murderer. But Ella has never gotten over Crosby and her heart has always belonged to him. Can she risk being with him with so many hurdles around them?
This was a slow burn of a second chance romance, with numerous challenges and doubters when it comes to Crosby and Ella getting back together. The turning point that happened two years ago is told in flashbacks and it isn't difficult to figure out why they're as damaged as they are. There's a lot of two-steps-forward-one-step-back going on, even though it's obvious that the love they have for each other has never gone away even when they went their separate ways. I liked reading about the dynamics Crosby and Ella had with their group of friends, especially since they Crosby never forged any meaningful friendships while he was in Colorado and Ella was still keeping a part of herself locked away from even her best friend in school. Crosby and Ella's story doesn't get resolved neatly, with a sparkly bow to tie everything up, but it does end in what I consider to be the more honest and realistic manner, where you won't get everyone to change their minds about you but you ultimately recognize what matters. Rounding Third gets five stars. ♥
Release Date: 08 August 2016
Date Read: 08 August 2016
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