Cleat Cute by Meryl Wilsner

Published: September 19, 2023
St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Sports Romance
Pages: 332
KKECReads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I received a copy of this book for free, and I leave my review voluntarily.

Meryl Wilsner writes happily ever afters for queer folks who love women. They are the author of SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT and MISTAKES WERE MADE. Born in Michigan, Meryl lived in Portland, Oregon and Jackson, Mississippi before returning to settle in the Mitten State. Some of Meryl’s favorite things include: all four seasons, button down shirts, the way giraffes run, and their wife.

Grace Henderson has been a star of the US Women’s National Team for ten years, even though she’s only 26. But when she’s sidelined with an injury, a bold new upstart, Phoebe Matthews, takes her spot. 22-year-old Phoebe is everything Grace isn’t―a gregarious jokester who plays with a joy that Grace lost somewhere along the way. The last thing Grace expects is to become teammates with benefits with this class clown she sees as her rival.

Phoebe Matthews is too focused on her first season as a professional soccer player to think about seducing her longtime idol. But when Grace ends up making the first move, they can’t keep their hands off of each other.

As the World Cup approaches and Grace works her way back from injury, a miscommunication leaves the women with hilariously different perspectives on their relationship. But they’re on the same page on the field, realizing they can play together instead of vying for the same position. With every tackle the tension between them grows, and both players soon have to decide what’s more important―being together or making the roster.

“Different people have different experiences.”

This was such a sweet story. I enjoyed the characters, their development, and the build-up. The relationship building felt authentic and had a genuine quality that’s often hard to bring to life. Meryl nailed it.

I loved how different Phoebe and Grace were, yet how well they meshed. I saw a lot of myself in Grace, minus being athletic, and that was a fun experience.

The emotions throughout this book were handled beautifully, and I appreciated that heavy topics were discussed respectfully and openly.

I had never read a book by Meryl before this one, but I am putting her on the approved list moving forward.

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