Review: Whatever Life Throws at You by Julie Cross

I received this book for free from YA Books Central in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Whatever Life Throws at You by Julie CrossWhatever Life Throws at You by Julie Cross
Published by Entangled Teen on October 7, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 373
Format: Paperback
Source: YA Books Central
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three-half-stars

Life loves a good curveball…

Seventeen-year-old Annie Lucas's life is completely upended the moment her dad returns to the major leagues as the new pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals. Now she's living in Missouri (too cold), attending an all-girls school (no boys), and navigating the strange world of professional sports. But Annie has dreams of her own—most of which involve placing first at every track meet…and one starring the Royals' super-hot rookie pitcher.

But nineteen-year-old Jason Brody is completely, utterly, and totally off-limits. Besides, her dad would kill them both several times over. Not to mention Brody has something of a past, and his fan club is filled with C-cupped models, not smart-mouthed high school “brats” who can run the pants off every player on the team. Annie has enough on her plate without taking their friendship to the next level. The last thing she should be doing is falling in love.

But baseball isn't just a game. It's life. And sometimes, it can break your heart…

Julie Cross hits the feels out of the park with Whatever Life Throws at You. She doesn’t pitch a perfect game, but it was a thrilling one to watch. Sure, she walks a batter in at the end, but it was an awesome game nonetheless. Okay, that’s about all the baseball references that I can manage. Did I sports well? Ahem. Whatever Life Throws at You is a swoony young adult/new adult romance with sportiness and family feels.

For the first 150 pages or so, I wasn’t entirely sure about this book. I was very much unsure about the romance, since Brody was womanizing it up with his new fame. I wasn’t sure if there was any chemistry there either. Well, there was. Damn but Julie Cross can write a good ship. Honestly, I’m surprised that Cross convinced me to ship a nineteen-year-old baseball player with a high school student, but she did.

For one thing, the romance occurs really slowly. Jason Brody and Annie Lucas become friends first. They run together (why anyone would want to run I don’t know), study together, and share secrets. Though there’s a new adult feel to the book, the romance isn’t tawdry, creepy, or hyper dramatic. The sexy scenes aren’t super graphic, but they are fairly plentiful. Until the relationship really takes off, I wasn’t sure, but they have such a great dynamic and treat each other really well. Plus, View Spoiler » It’s also really great that Annie has her own sport (running) that she’s amazing at and that both her dad and Brody are super supportive.

Even better than the ship perhaps are the family feels. Annie has an amazing relationship with her father, Jim. I love it even more for the things that don’t make their relationship perfect. When Annie gets caught with a fake ID, he yells at her, grounds her, and then comforts her because she begins crying over a boy; That scene really encapsulates the great connection between the two. Dads and daughters fight, but the love is always going to overwhelm anything else. Though more fraught with pain, I also loved the handling of Annie’s relationships with her mother and grandmother.

My favorite secondary character is Savannah, the team’s publicist, and I totally ship her with Annie’s dad. Aside from her, though, the secondary characters didn’t get quite as much development as I prefer. Lenny, for example, doesn’t really change much throughout Whatever Life Throws at You, aside from what’s hinted at in the epilogue.

In fact, I really could have done without that epilogue. While it’s nice to see how well people are doing, it throws a lot of stuff at the reader really quickly. For one thing, I think it’s a bit overly optimistic in terms of baseball: View Spoiler » Plus, even though I do like Brody and Annie together, I could do without all of the marriage talk, considering that she just graduated high school. I really don’t like my YA contemporary novels to end with marriage on the table, but that’s a personal preference.

I’m sad to have to say this, but Whatever Life Throws at You had quite a few editing mistakes. I noted a lot of errors, though I didn’t keep a list. The most egregious one was from page 277 where Lenny says “Emersion is the only true way to truly grasp a foreign language,” when obviously that was meant to be “immersion.”

Whatever Life Throws at You is my third Julie Cross novel, and it’s been the third success. At this point, it’s official that Julie Cross books will be going on my to-read list, particularly if they’re contemporary romances, because she can bring the swoon.

Favorite Quote:

“I see this going one of two ways. Option one — we both spill our past experiences and conclude what I already know, that high school is a very different world than after high school. Or option two — you give me some dignified, noble speech about how you’re afraid of stealing my innocence and you’re willing to walk around with blue balls until, like, forever if that’s what I need.”

He mimics my crossed-arm position and returns my stare. “Or option three — I tell you how I’m very aware of the fact that you suddenly got super uncomfortable, and even though I’m not at all willing to walk around forever with blue balls, I’m also not going to enjoy something that you’re clearly not enjoying.”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 gif never been kissed kiss

3 responses to “Review: Whatever Life Throws at You by Julie Cross”

  1. Kristin says:

    Great review. I loved this book. I think the reason why I enjoyed it and maybe the epilogue so much is because at the time I was reading it, the KC Royals were in the playoffs and going to the World Series. So it was kind it was all real. I haven’t read anything else by this author but you are right, she writes a good story. I had an arc copy so I’m a little sad to hear that all the errors weren’t fixed before the book published.
    Kristin recently posted…Lucky Shamrock Giveaway Hop 2015My Profile

  2. Brigid says:

    So…I usually don’t like kissy covers. But, cover is just so adorable. And I love it when there’s a relationship between secondary characters, especially if they’re the parents. Provided it’s not just inserted for drama.

    I hate it when I have to mention typos/editing mistakes. It bothers me when I read it a lot. I know sometimes a few will slip in, but when there is quite a few that’s the point where it needs to be mentioned.

  3. Julie Cross’s books always make me bubbly and giddy inside. Her contemporary romances are so swoony and adorable.

    I know practically nothing about baseball, and I fall asleep when the senior sports editor on my newspaper staff starts talking about the Rays’ prospects for the new season. I was surprised that I genuinely enjoyed all of the baseball details in WLTAY. I’ve never been more invested in a baseball team in my life; it’s only fitting that it was a team of fictional characters in a book. Haha!

    I loved the family interaction in WLTAY, especially the interaction between Annie and her grandma. My grandma has dementia, so I could definitely relate to Annie and her dad.
    Dana @ The Nerdy Journalist recently posted…Review | The Storyspinner by Becky WallaceMy Profile

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