Author: Rebecca Jenshak
Series: Smart Jocks, #5
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Steam: 🔥🔥🔥
Tropes: Friends to Lovers, Sports Romance, Summer Romance, Accidental Friendzone
Release Date: December 8th, 2020
Synopsis: I’ve been in love with her for two years.
The first time around, I screwed things up. I hesitated and the moment was gone.
I passed when I shouldn’t have.
Not a total loss. I gained a best friend instead of whatever we might have been.
Sydney is hands down the best thing that’s ever happened to me, and I’ll do anything to keep her in my life. Even bury my feelings deep inside.
But one hot summer together at the lake filled with lots of teeny-tiny bikinis and I’m ready to risk it all for a second chance.
It’s time to take my shot.
Review: With every Rebecca Jenshak book I read, I become an even bigger fan. I read the first in the Smart Jocks series and absolutely loved Wes and Blair. So obviously when we were getting more of these characters and that world, I was greedy to soak it all up. I’m a sucker for sports romance, so it’s no surprise that Rebecca is moving up the ranks on my list of favourite sports romance authors. Especially since I read and thoroughly enjoyed Secret Puck as well.
In The Pass, we follow Tanner (Shaw) and Sydney through their friendship and then their relationship. Their first meeting is everything. Tanner wants Sydney, Sydney wants Shaw and they both almost get to have everything they want. But she’s got rules and Tanner is nothing if not a gentleman, so he steps back and promises to give her that. Except, two years later, they’re still just friends. In fact, they’re best friends. And the kind of friends that make all of Tanner’s girlfriends jealous.
“The only person I’ve ever really been able to picture in my life forever is you.”
I saw someone on Goodreads call it the accidental friendzone trope and I absolutely love that, so I’m gonna use it. While they don’t keep putting each other in that ‘zone’, after two years, it’s just the way things are and that’s okay. Except, those feelings are still there and that means that they’re just punishing themselves by not taking what they want!
But one summer changes everything. Tanner’s broken up with his girlfriend (again over Sydney) and he goes off to the family lake house, like he does every year. And this time, he’s taking Sydney with him. Because she deserves fun and he wants to spend the summer with his best friend. So sue him for not really understanding how this looks to everyone else. They spent the first few weeks of the summer reminding everyone that they’re just friends, even though nobody believes them. And then one day, everything changes.
“We could have powered a city with the sparks from that kiss.”
Tanner and Sydney have such an effortless friendship and relationship. Obviously having all that friendship history makes for an easy transition into a relationship. And it’s hot. VERY HOT. And it’s made better by the fact that Sydney is a great character. She’s had her fair share of bad experiences, but she knows what she wants. And the more Tanner teases her, the more she wants to clobber him over the head. Till they take things to the next level and it gets really really good.
There’s always going to be some conflict and in The Pass, it comes in the form of Tanner’s sister. Tara is the worst. I’ll say it now. She gets in the middle of everything and messes it up, and all for reasons that are based on her own experiences. Which is fair, but totally not okay. And the crazy part is, Sydney is just too nice and too good to not like, which makes Tara’s meddling even worse and far too annoying.
“You’re not one thing. You’re everything. You’re my best friend and you’re my girlfriend. You’re the only person who really sees me for exactly who I am.”
All that aside, The Pass is a great read. It’s fun, cute, sexy and the perfect break from all this monotony in our lives thanks to the pandemic. I would recommend it for anyone who enjoys sports romances and friends to lovers because Rebecca Jenshak has created an amazing world at Valley U and all these characters keep coming back to make you happy as a clam!
Thanks to Rebecca Jenshak & Wildfire Marketing Solutions for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.