Book Review: The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen

This book is about two hockey players, who were best friends and lovers in high school but were separated due to a hate crime. That incident changed their lives forever and has so much impact on their thought process than they realize. When the openly gay Rikker transfers to Harkness, Graham gets the shock of his life. The story follows them on their journey to find themselves, their friendship and love again.

Rikker is such an amazing character. He is honest and caring and so full of love, it was a joy reading about him. He doesn’t choose to be the only openly out player in Division One hockey but when circumstances force him to, he doesn’t let it change his love or focus for the game. He is also totally comfortable in his sexuality, but can’t escape the homophobic comments of his teammate or rival teams. But his biggest weakness is his first love, Graham.

Graham is a self loathing, paranoid guy who is dead set on trying to prove that he is not gay but he cannot keep away from Rik. But he is also such a douche. He treats Rik so badly for most of the book, first by being so uncomfortable even being in the same room as him and not even acknowledging their past and then being secretive about their relationship. It was good to see him finally accept the truth about himself but I wish he had treated Rik better.

I also loved the characters of Graham’s mom and Rik’s grandma. They are so sweet and supportive and love their children no matter what, and irrespective of their religious beliefs, it was just so endearing. Bella is also a great friend and I was so sad for her, but she is so understanding and caring, it made me tear up. Rik’s ex Skippy is an absolute live wire and brings some amazing humor and laughs whenever he appears.

If I ignore the stupidity of Graham for a bit, I really loved his relationship with Rik. They share an old and beautiful friendship, understand each other deeply and it felt so good to see them get together. It broke my heart to see Rik love Graham so much but still have to hide it from the world. The ending definitely warmed my heart but it was also so abrupt and I was disappointed to not get to read more about them being together and happy.

This is an amazing book about friendship, first love, second chances and trying to find happiness by being and accepting yourself for who you are and not what the world wants you to be.

Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

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