All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic

on November 21, 2019

The Foxhole Court (All For The Game #1)
Nora Sakavic
Self-published
2013, 237p
Free copy via iBooks

Blurb {from Goodreads.com}:

Neil Josten is the newest addition to the Palmetto State University Exy team. He’s short, he’s fast, he’s got a ton of potential—and he’s the runaway son of the murderous crime lord known as The Butcher.

Signing a contract with the PSU Foxes is the last thing a guy like Neil should do. The team is high profile and he doesn’t need sports crews broadcasting pictures of his face around the nation. His lies will hold up only so long under this kind of scrutiny and the truth will get him killed.

But Neil’s not the only one with secrets on the team. One of Neil’s new teammates is a friend from his old life, and Neil can’t walk away from him a second time. Neil has survived the last eight years by running. Maybe he’s finally found someone and something worth fighting for.

This is one of the weirdest books I’ve read in a long time.

I found it scrolling instagram posts about Baz & Simon from Carry On and Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell. There were a lot of posts tagged with this series and the characters mixed in so I thought they might be similar. The first book is free, I needed something to read on my phone while I was at an appointment, so I thought why not.

The book revolves around Neil Josten, who has been on the run from his violent father for eight years. He was on the run with his mother but she’s dead now so it’s just him. He plays some sort of made up sport known as Exy, which appears to be mostly like lacrosse but with the body checks of ice hockey. Despite only being invented about thirty years ago (the people that invented it are still alive) it has a popularity that rivals the NFL and NBA. There are multiple levels, from professional to college down to small school or local leagues. Playing in a tiny Arizona town, Neil is recruited by Palmetto State University to their team.

The team is ridiculous. They are split into factions and are constantly warring with each other, often punching on in games. The team is woeful, last in their division but with the potential to be good if they could actually put it together on the court. This year they will have not only Neil but also Kevin Day, who used to play with the best team in their league. For mysterious reasons and injury, he’s left them behind and joined the Palmetto Foxes. He comes with his own entourage and also a bodyguard, Andrew.

Oh yes, Andrew. Where to begin with Andrew. He’s all of five foot nothing but despite this, everyone is afraid of him. He’s court-ordered to be medicated because of violence however taking his medication seemed to result in him being more violent, not less at least once during this book. Anyone who wakes him up immediately receives a beating. What exactly Andrew’s diagnosis is isn’t discussed but this book talks a lot about medication and withdrawal and symptoms and cause and effect without actually sounding like it knows anything about mental health and/or illness. And/or medication. Andrew is a sociopath douchebag who orchestrates horrific acts on other people, including Neil in this book. In fact I almost DNF’d it when they forcibly drug him (using the openly gay guy to physically and sexually assault him, forcibly transferring drugs from his mouth to Neil’s in a kiss when Neil is incapacitated). He’s like every cliche misunderstood bad boy come together – surrendered to foster care, juvie, epically violent, compellingly attractive somehow, weirdly emotionless, amused by weird things. He’s also the Foxes goalkeeper which he’s phenomenally good at but doesn’t give a fuck about Exy or anything else really. He doesn’t bother to try unless he feels like it and a lot of the consensus about Andrew seems to be “wow he’s incredible, imagine how he’d be if he loved the sport and actually tried.”

I don’t understand the game but it’s okay because I don’t really care. What I do find incredible is that Neil, who has spent his entire adolescence on the run, hiding from his violent father who will most certainly kill him when he catches him, signs a contract in a highly publicised league. Like if you’re trying to lay low and hide mate, that is not the way to do it. Neil has played this game all his life so it probably isn’t too much of a stretch to assume his father keeps an eye out on any players who may be new/gifted/etc. Neil has changed his name a dozen times, so probably when anyone digs into the background of this “Neil Josten” they’re not going to come up with much. And that raises some red flags. I think it’s framed that he loves the game so much he just wants to be able to play it but dude. You’re going to end up dead. Except it’s okay now because he gets accepted by Andrew and co and now Andrew will protect him too, because Andrew is a five foot, 100lb impenetrable wall by even the baddest Mafia dudes out there.

Because did I mention this book also has the Japanese Mafia? It does.

It’s an epic hot mess. For the first maybe quarter of it, I felt like I’d been dropped into the middle of a series, not reading the first book. A lot of it was confusing, such as what Exy even was and also keeping Andrew and his identical twin (because of course he has an identical twin) straight and the others was a task. There are just so many things that do not add up. How did Neil even graduate anything when he’s been on the run for eight years, enough to get any offer to a college? Why would he sign with a team that he has connections to in his former life, the one he’s trying to escape so much? Why does he have that weird binder? Why didn’t Andrew tell any of the others any of the things he learned about Neil that are suspicious as hell? Why didn’t Neil nope the fuck right out of this situation when they assaulted and drugged him?

And yet. I finished this book and I kind of want to know what happens in the next ones? Although the first quarter is a total muddle and the next two are an epic clusterfuck, the last quarter was actually kind of interesting. Because it’s the first of a trilogy, there are so many questions raised in this but actually very little in the way of answers. I also know there’s a romance that crops up in later instalments (because of the tags on the instagram posts, which is why I read this book in the first place) and I want to see how that happens? Because from where I am right now, it seems impossible, improbable and completely and utterly fucked up.

Look the next two books are only $1.99 each. I’m not going to be out much to get my answers.

5/10

Book #194 of 2019


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