Did not expect The Play by Elle Kennedy to pop into my Kindle library yesterday morning (totally forgot I preordered that months ago), but 24 hours later, it’s finished and I’m here with my review. I’m gonna try really hard not to spoil anything major but just in case I slip, you’ve been warned!
I wish Briar University was a real place because damn there are so many hot hockey players to choose from. I want all of their stories. I’m fairly certain I read somewhere that The Play, which is Hunter Davenport’s story would be the last in the series, but all my fingers are crossed that Elle Kennedy will consider returning to those boys in the future.
After two books of questionable Hunter Davenport behavior, he’s finally learned his lesson after breaking his wrist and costing a super important game last season. Now he’s the team captain and is determined to be the best damn captain to his boys – which in his head means no sex for the whole season. I admire his initiative, truly, but oh Hunter, there are better ways to make sure a girl doesn’t distract you from your playing. C’est la vie.
We’re also introduced to Demi Davis. I love Demi. She admittedly doesn’t have many girl friends, but I would be one of them. All of the Cheerleaders, Surgeons, Children, Magicians Who Kill episodes that pop up in this book? Yes. Drinks a Bud Light, then some super special craft beer. “It tastes exactly like the other one.” Amen sister. I want to be this girl’s best friend. She’s feisty and has a sense of humor that matches Hunter’s and these two together are super cute. Even just their friendship was awesome to read about. Demi starts out this book with a long time boyfriend which makes her a little less tempting for Hunter, but let’s be real, he’s not immune to this beautiful woman. I really liked the fact that she kept this boyfriend for a fair amount of the book because it gave more page time to let Hunter and Demi establish their friendship before it went anywhere romantic.
Also I wish Briar was real because they’re class assignments sound a hell of a lot more interesting than the ones I was given in school. The two are paired up in a psychology course, participating in a patient-doctor role playing project (but nothing kinky people!) It’s the perfect set up to learn more about these two characters. Demi loves this class and secretly wants to make a career out of this. Hunter’s super familiar with the disorder he’s assigned to act and we get to learn a little more about his family life.
Through this class assignment we also learn the common struggle between Demi and Hunter – she’s ignoring her passions to follow her dad’s path and he’s ignoring his passions to not follow his dad’s path. It was a really interesting arc to watch evolve as they worked through some smaller things like shitty boyfriends and trying to stay faithful to a vow even if it has zero effect on a hockey player’s performance (seriously, though could’ve told you that myself, Hunter).
I really liked the pacing in this book too. Even though it might’ve felt a little slow burn to some, since Demi isn’t single to start out, but knowing that she’d eventually get with Hunter, I was just on the edge of my seat, desperately wanting to read faster so I knew how these two would get together. Nico seemed like a decent guy to Demi, so I was curious as to how they would break it off. It was a real page turner for me. And even after they do split, Hunter was determined to stick to his guns and then it was what’s it gonna take to push Hunter over the edge? I loved that about this book.
My only complaints about this book were:
The stereotyping – there’s just a lot of referring to a group of people by one giant, vague noun like “jock” or “sorority girl.” I just think it’s been well established that literally any person could be anything and there shouldn’t be this one label for a character. There were a few times when Demi would think about how nuts it was that she was dating a jock. Yes, hockey is a big part of Hunter’s life, but we learned a lot more
I’m not exactly sure how to explain my second compliant, but basically there’s a lot of the characters talking about how they were just kids during their senior year of high school, but now they’re in their twenties so they’re mature, grown adults now. “In their twenties”? They’re 20, 21 years old. This might just be me projecting but I have fully entered my mid-twenties at this point and I still feel like a kid.
There were also a lot of side characters in this one, and it got just a tad confusing keeping up with all of them. I loved Pax, Demi’s friend, who we’re introduced to at the beginning of the book, but then he disappears until almost the end. I would’ve loved to see more of him. And all of these characters just makes me want more books about them so nosy me can learn about everyone’s lives, but that’s mostly just a selfish wish on my part. You hear me, Elle Kennedy? Never stop writing about Briar University. Kthanks.
But I’ll end with this: Elle Kennedy never fails to deliver an adorable, swoony couple that also makes me laugh, so here are a couple of A plus lines.
“What’s a boner between friends?”
“Is there a font for snide?”
“Your body is two feet away. Where’d you learn to dance? Puritan Camp?”
Overall, it was another awesome trip to Briar University, appearances from my faves from the older books, and an emotionally grown Hunter Davenport. A 4.5 star read for me!
And finally, just two words: Pablo. Eggscobar.