What started out as a joke— seduce Coach Wilder—soon became a goal she had to score.
With Olympic tryouts on the horizon, the last thing nineteen-year-old Kinsley Bryant needs to add to her plate is Liam Wilder. He’s a professional soccer player, America’s favorite bad-boy, and has all the qualities of a skilled panty-dropper.
• A face that makes girls weep – check.
• Abs that can shred Parmesan cheese (the expensive kind) – check.
• Enough confidence to shift the earth’s gravitational pull – double check.
Not to mention Liam is strictly off limits . Forbidden. Her coaches have made that perfectly clear. (i.e. “Score with Coach Wilder anywhere other than the field and you’ll be cut from the team faster than you can count his tattoos.”) But that just makes him all the more enticing…Besides, Kinsley’s already counted the visible ones, and she is not one to leave a project unfinished.
Kinsley tries to play the game her way as they navigate through forbidden territory, but Liam is determined to teach her a whole new definition for the term “team bonding.”
As you can see by the naked guy on the cover above, I have once again ventured into the dark abyss of New Adult after devouring Elle Kennedy’s books last year. This time it snuck up on me. I recently read Catching Jordan and Coming Up for Air, both of which are excellently cute books about sports, friendship and romance. So naturally after finishing them, I was on the lookout for more books featuring female athletes (I’ve discovered I like reading about sports, I just don’t want to do them myself). I found Scoring Wilder on a goodreads list and it had a high rating, so I figured I’ll keep an open mind and try it. Unfortunately, this book lacked the hilarity of the Off-Campus series, and didn’t make up for it in other areas.
While I don’t require every romance to have an intricate plot, this one was particularly bad. The only real conflict the protagonist faces is that she’s hooking up with her coach, and even that issue is resolved by the middle of the book. The rest mostly reads like an enormously long epilogue featuring a lot of sex and – lo and behold – even a soccer game. There was no suspense or even a good old will-they-won’t-they. It was very clear that they will – on the sofa, the kitchen counter, after getting stitches… you name it.
What makes romances work for me are the characters, and these ones were very hit and miss. Kinsley is supposed to be a serious athlete, who cares about her soccer career and wants to make it to the Olympics, but she throws everything away the moment she sees a hot guy. Oh, but it was looooove, you could argue, but no. There was no gradual getting to know each other between her and Liam – their attraction was instant, and they couldn’t keep their hands off each other even though Kinsley knew she would be kicked off the team if they got caught and that would be pretty much it for her soccer career. It would make more sense if they had had a serious relationship other than just lusting after each other, but they really didn’t, so it made Kinsley’s ambitions a little unbelievable.
Additionally, I found Liam himself mostly annoying. He’s commanding and assuming, but Kinsley seemed into it, so whatever floats your boat, I guess? He just really wasn’t my kind of guy. When he runs into Kinsley and her friend he only says hello to Kinsley, and when he meets Kinsley’s mum he just comes off as a total jerk. There’s one scene where he hangs out with Kinsley and her heartbroken friend that is kind of cute, but otherwise I didn’t like him very much. The whole relationship is pretty instalove(lust)-y, so I wasn’t very invested.
There’s one more thing that I can’t criticize, but was wondering about. It seems that Liam gets a lot of attention from the press, and the media are interested in Kinsley even before she dates Liam. I’m from Germany and soccer is very much a national sport there, but I was always told it’s not really that relevant in the U.S., so is it realistic that soccer players mingle with celebrities and are harrassed by paparazzi? It kind of makes sense, I was just wondering about it, so maybe someone from the U.S. can let me know in the comments!
This book had its moments, and I did finish it, but at times I was wondering why I was still reading. I expected the characters to be more dedicated to their sport (even Kinsley’s teammates are mostly focused on guys or getting famous instead of their actual practice). Maybe my expectations were too high, because I sort of forgot this book was New Adult when I got it, but ffs there must be some good books in this genre. Either way, Scoring Wilder missed the goal for me. Two cupcakes!