Reviewed by JustJen
Title: The Second Half: A Gay American Football Story
Author: Scott Pomfret
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 286 Pages
Publisher: Lethe Press
Release Date: June 12, 2016
Available at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Division I college football coach Peyton Stone has a secret. It’s not so much that he’s gay. It’s that he’s fallen in love with his older Iraq-War-vet-turned-starting-QB Brady Winter. Willing to deny himself for the sake of the Golden Eagles football team, Peyton focuses helping his team score touchdowns, but when he discovers the attraction is mutual, he jumps in with both feet.
For each, the stakes are high: bowls, limelight, press, and the NFL. But Peyton and Brady find time during the season to carve out their own private and sexy refuge. Only jealous whispers force the head coach to see what he didn’t want to see and he tears the two apart. It’s only when Brady’s war injuries threaten his health that Peyton reluctantly returns to the team — under cover! The two concoct a plan to pass off Peyton as Brady at the bowl game, thereby preserving Brady’s health and perhaps earning a national championship. Will anyone notice the difference? Does anyone really want to? Most of all, can the pair’s sense of honor outlast the deception?
Review: The blurb pretty much tells it all here. I love football and sexy football players, combined with ex-military hotties, finding love together, and it’s a win-win. That is what I enjoyed most about this story. But there were also a lot of things that just didn’t work for me or made the story a bit too unbelievable.
Peyton is an assistant coach in charge of the quarterbacks at a Division I college. If you know anything about college football, these guys are all business and all about the bowl games. The rest of the coaching staff, and even Peyton at times, felt more like they belonged in high school, or even pop warner. There was so much unprofessional going on here that it was hard to take them seriously.
Brady is the star quarterback. I couldn’t imagine that a college would recruit an older guy (not fresh out of high school) who has been deployed in the military and thus, not playing football. In the same vein, there was the NFL offering a tryout to a college coach, in addition to the crazy deception plan and a few other things that just made it tough.
However, I loved the actual football parts. It was like being on the field with them and very well done. I also enjoyed the growing relationship between these guys, when they were working together that is. A lot of this story focuses on the football, understandably, but I think everything else kind of took away from the relationship, and I ended up caring more about the game and overall outcome than Peyton and Brady.
There are quite a few characters to dislike here as well. From the head coach to Peyton’s hookup, I was silently screaming for their downfalls. Peyton’s mom is quite the character, and I really liked Brady’s dad.
Overall, I enjoyed this but no nearly as much as I was hoping to. It was well written and the anticipation and excitement of the game kept my interest until the end. It may just be my own expectations of a more serious story that lead to my issues, and I recommend other sports fans give this one a try. I’ll definitely be looking for more of Mr. Pomfret’s stories in the future.
Overall Impression: I liked it
*I received a copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.*