In nan conflict of TikTok’s favourite slow pain authors, Elena Armas is quickly becoming 1 of nan frontrunners. After The Spanish Love Deception’s enemies to lovers storyline proved itself a patient favourite upon its merchandise successful 2021, past year’s follow-up The American Roommate Experiment was joyful, basking and swoony capable that it seemed for illustration Armas had cracked nan look for what makes a awesome romance caller successful a highly competitory BookTok world. Now, successful The Long Game, Armas has expanded her romance repertoire erstwhile again pinch a small-town, grumpy x grumpy, slow pain romance that ticks each nan boxes connected paper. In practice, however, this caller ends up lacking a spot of nan spark that made some of its predecessors truthful memorable.
After years of moving for her father’s shot nine successful Miami, Adalyn Reyes is wished to guidelines connected her ain 2 feet and make a sanction for herself – but accidentally starring successful an embarrassing clip that quickly went viral wasn’t precisely what Adalyn had successful mind. In a bid to beryllium herself, Adalyn goes on pinch her father’s directions to support her region from nan nine until nan attraction dies down, agreeing to recreation to nan mini municipality of Green Oak, North Carolina. When she arrives successful nan distant location, however, Adalyn quickly realises that this isn’t nan activity travel she thought it would beryllium and, moreover worse, that she’s not nan only caller presence hiding retired successful Green Oak either.
A unspeakable first brushwood pinch her caller neighbour – nan handsome, reclusive, erstwhile prima goalkeeper Cameron Caldoni – is each it takes to group Adalyn and Cameron’s narration disconnected connected nan incorrect foot, but erstwhile Adalyn realises that she’ll request to activity intimately pinch nan reluctant caller coach of nan U10s girls’ soccer club to move their games astir and beryllium what she’s tin of, each bets are off. Adalyn is judge that Cameron is conscionable a surly, scowling brute, while Cameron is convinced that Adalyn is simply a rich | daddy’s woman who’s ne'er had to activity difficult for thing before. Working together whitethorn lead to them clashing much often than not, but it could besides beryllium conscionable nan point that convinces some Adalyn and Cameron to fto their guards down, fto personification other in, and retrieve that having different personification connected your squad tin beryllium a awesome thing.
I resisted it – him – because I liked being successful Cameron’s arms excessively much. Enough to punctual myself that Green Oak was a bubble, and location was a life waiting for maine backmost successful Miami. One that I had fought difficult to spell backmost to but was starting to consciousness I didn’t beryllium to anymore.”
The Long Game is simply a caller that feels for illustration it’s made up of 2 abstracted storylines that ne'er really look to gel; there’s nan fish-out-of-water crippled of nan large metropolis profession female seeking to beryllium herself successful a mini town, and there’s nan romance betwixt 2 guarded individuals successful overlapping worlds who some struggle pinch letting group get excessively close. These are some land that could happily activity together if nan communicative was fixed nan clip to breathe, but alternatively readers are fixed a batch of awkwardly contrived scenes that consciousness forced and unnecessary, unexpected crippled jumps and conscionable a fewer excessively galore scenes wherever an affectional build-up is trim short earlier we’re fixed nan chance to bask nan payoff.
It makes for a jarring publication overall, but particularly truthful erstwhile it comes to nan shifting emotions of nan lead characters and nan caller fails to show nan genuine relationship and processing attraction successful existent time, alternatively jumping up and telling nan scholar that something’s changed. This isn’t helped by nan truth that nan caller insists connected continuing nan enemies half of Adalyn and Cameron’s ‘enemies to lovers’ crippled for acold longer than makes communicative sense, which makes nan improvement of their narration consciousness excessively abrupt erstwhile that move to lovers does happen. It’s peculiarly frustrating as, erstwhile Adalyn and Cameron really statesman interacting, there’s capable conflict connected some sides for nan brace to activity done that would support nan hostility live for longer and successful much earthy ways too.
Still, erstwhile Cameron and Adalyn are fixed that abstraction to research their attraction for 1 another, The Long Game offers up a coagulated reminder of why Armas’ previous book couples person captured truthful galore readers’ hearts. For each their differences, Adalyn and Cameron really do make nan cleanable team, and seeing Adalyn statesman to unfastened up and consciousness comfortable admitting that she needs thief and accepting it erstwhile it comes is simply a beautiful thing. Cameron whitethorn not person arsenic overmuch of nan communicative to research his ain journey, but Armas does a awesome occupation of establishing his ain fears and insecurities successful a much constricted page space, which makes it each nan much heartening erstwhile Adalyn is capable to pinpoint what it is that Cameron needs and connection it to him freely, perpetually and without hesitation.
There’s a batch to bask successful this caller – pinch Adalyn and Cameron’s relationship, nan adorable girls who dress up nan shot squad and Adalyn’s friend Matthew putting successful scene-stealing appearances whenever he pops up being conscionable a fewer of nan highlights. But The Long Game’s committedness to a slow pain enemies-to-lovers storyline successful this lawsuit besides yet ends up letting it down successful nan agelong run.
This is simply a communicative that spends excessively overmuch clip building things up and keeping things backmost from nan reader, without giving it capable clip to fto everything play retired successful satisfying ways too. It’s a struggle to really settee into this novel, its world and nan relationships astatine its heart. Stick pinch it, however, and The Long Game does reward you pinch a saccharine and steamy romance, a protective antheral leader who loves to connection support, information and comfort, and a heartwarming happy-ever-after for a main characteristic that deserves each spot of nan happiness she finds.
The Long Game is published by Simon & Schuster connected 5 September 2023