Colby Pynes, star football player for the Willow Eagles, is expected by everyone to continue playing ball in college. Why would he want to do anything else? He has the talent, college scouts are interested, and his dad is doing his hardest to make sure Colby lives and breathes the sport. But Colby has other ideas for his future, ideas that no longer involve a game he just happens to excel in.
Enter the new girl Lauren. The town is full of whispers and gossip as she moves in with her uncle and his family. Where are her parents? Why did she move her senior year of high school? When Colby and Lauren meet one night at a convenience store, there is a strong connection that neither can ignore. As they start to grow closer, Colby shows Lauren a side of himself few people, if anyone, has truly seen. Colby shares his love of bridges and his desire to major in Civil Engineering instead of playing football in college. But their relationship can’t be one-sided. Lauren is hiding something. Her unwillingness to talk about her mom and brother leave Colby searching for answers Lauren is too scared to provide.
Then, the unthinkable happens as a heartbreaking accident leaves Colby’s best friend and teammate Benny badly broken. Does Colby have the strength to survive football season without his oldest and best friend by his side? Will he be able to convince his dad that football is not what he wants to do? Will Lauren learn to trust the loving family she now finds herself becoming a part of? Should she confide in Colby the truth about her dysfunctional upbringing?
Told in alternating chapters between two very different and beautifully illustrated viewpoints, Lisa Schroeder brings Colby and Lauren, not to mention many quirky and fun secondary characters, truly to life. The struggles both characters face are painted in a very real yet uplifting manner. Schroeder portrays the importance in never giving up and not being afraid to say goodbye to things or people that hurt instead of help. I recommend this wonderful story for anyone who feels capable of taking control of their own destiny and following their heart.