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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Review of The Rule Book by Sarah Adams

This love story about an emotionally sensitive NFL player and his quirky, irresistible female agent is a sweet second-chance romance perfect for light summer reading.

I've been reading more rom-coms lately--which always seems like a good idea during the summer--and my latest read is Sarah Adams's The Rule Book.

Nora Mackenzie is a sports agent who's constantly fighting against misogyny and double standards as one of few women in the field. She's young and hungry--and thrilled that she's about to get her first really big client.

But Nora and the client, NFL tight end Derek Pender, were college sweethearts, and Nora abruptly broke things off years ago. They haven't seen each other since.

Derek is determined to make Nora so miserable, she'll quit her position as his agent, but Nora's never given up on anything in her life--except her youthful relationship with Derek. She's determined to look out for her career above all else.

When the two realize that their feelings for each other never fizzled, one thing leads to another (drunken Vegas wedding, anyone?) until they're faced with increasingly complicated life challenges as they try to balance their careers with making space for each other.

I love Nora's passion for her career and the single-mindedness that has led to her success. In concept, I also love her quirkiness and refusal to bend to societal pressures--whether by behaving in a more tough manner because she's a woman in a career where fewer women exist, or by using her femininity as a tool in that career. But her silly language and childlike manner grated on me, and I found it distractingly corny.

I loved the fake marriage, the push and pull of career and love, and the second-chance romance.

The football players felt extraordinarily emotionally sensitive and sentimental. It is possible that professional football players are this involved in each other's lives, in exploring each other's passions and dreams, and in creating outlandishly precious celebrations of such. But I kept feeling like it was too far from any likely reality to be believed, and while it was sweet, it repeatedly stopped me as I read.

The tone throughout is cheerfully reassuring, and there's no edge here. Despite the plot hiccups in our main characters' work and love lives, there's no question that everything is going to turn out the most happily here, with plenty of swooning and unrelenting vulnerability and maximum adoration and complete fulfillment along the way.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

I listened to The Rule Book as an audiobook. Sarah Adams is also the author of The Cheat Sheet and Practice Makes Perfect.

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