Blurb from Goodread
Pepper Jones is ready for an epic cross country season. She wants to qualify for Nationals, and she’s willing to do anything it takes to make it happen. She can handle long miles and hill sprints, but boys? That’s an entirely different challenge.
Pepper’s never considered revealing her deeper feelings for her longtime friend, Jace Wilder. After all, he’s got the personal magnetism and good looks to hook just about any girl in town — and he has. Their friendship stands apart from high school social circles, and they’re both just fine with that (or at least they pretend to be).
That is, until running star Ryan Harding moves to town.
When it comes to running, Pepper’s goals are clear. But when it comes to Jace and Ryan, it’s nowhere near as simple.
So what this book is all about? It’s about Pepper Jones, a junior in Brockton High School who loves to run and is in her way to compete in Nationals for the first time. She spent most of her life with Jace Wilder, a senior popular quarterback at their school and also her neighbor. She also has a crush on him for years but can’t do anything because at some point he always keeps her in a distance. And then there is a new junior student, Ryan Harding who happens is a cross country runner too and is in a way for National too.
“The ominous clouds look like they’ll break at any moment, and I love to run in the rain. Everything seems to be in my favor.”
I love Pepper’s voice here. I can feel like she is real. She tells her story clearly and without holding back. If something hurts her or makes her happy, she tells me just the way she feels it. I think that’s what I love about her. She’s honest, with everything and everyone, including with Jace.
“Running is my thing. And this season is going to be epic.”
Cross country running is a subplot in this book. But I really like that it has more than enough story as it is one of big parts in Pepper’s life. I just read a book with the main character being an athlete too but the sport doesn’t describe much in the book. And I dislike it. Somehow I’m afraid that I won’t read much about cross country here either, glad it doesn’t happen. And since I’m not familiar with cross country student competition in US, Pepper’s description helps me connect with her story easily. That, I really like!
I also like the paced. It doesn’t feel too slow or too fast. It’s perfect in its own. In some part Pepper doesn’t tell her story straight after she tells one thing, instead it jumps a couple days or weeks after that. However I don’t feel it’s too fast because at the same time it gives me time to connect with so many things in her life, for example with her running and her relationship with Ryan and her new friends.
Regarding with her relationship with Jace and Ryan, I thought it will be like Liza-Ryan-Tony in Play With Me by Piper Shelly which seems has similarity when I read the blurb. But somehow it’s way different but in a good way for both of the books. I like Pepper and Jace relationship. I always like best friend turn into boyfriend-girlfriend relationship, anyway. But here, don’t think I can say that I like Jace much. Unlike Pepper, he holds back most of everything. I know that he likes her more than friend but his holding back and keeps everything blur and quite a mystery to Pepper is kind of frustrating me. I just want to smack him and stop hurting Pepper. But the good thing with Pepper is she always knows what she wants and sticks for it. Jace might hurt her and break her heart but it doesn’t mean that she stops living her life, focuses on her goals and tries to pursuit her own happiness. I think she can balance it all and I’m admired her for it. On the other hand, I really like reading Pepper and Ryan relationship. He’s very kind and sweet to her. And I just love the way he takes their relationship slowly. It’s like he gives times for her to know him and when their relationship happens, I don’t feel like it’s an instalove or an instarelationship or whatever you call it. It just feels natural. Then the weird thing happens, at the end of the book. No matter how much I want to see Pepper end up with someone, I understand her decision. I think it’s the best for the three of them. But it just makes me want to read the sequel ASAP!