Doing it at: 67%
Catnip: Reformed Bad Boy; Opposites Attract; Dual Narrative; Boys In Uniform; Strong Female Lead; Handcuffs; Friday Night Lights
Shame Scale: Very low shame, like the other Rusk book we reviewed this one is just sexed up YA. There aren’t even any tell-tale abs on the cover
Fantasy Cast: Tyler Kitsch and Diana Agron
In this second book in New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cora Carmack’s New Adult, Texas-set Rusk University series, which began with All Lined Up, a young woman discovers that you can’t only fight for what you believe in . . . sometimes you have to fight for what you love
Dylan fights for lost causes. Probably because she used to be one.
Environmental issues, civil rights, education–you name it, she’s probably been involved in a protest. When her latest cause lands her in jail for a few hours, she meets Silas Moore. He’s in for a different kind of fighting. And though he’s arrogant and not at all her type, she can’t help being fascinated with him. Yet another lost cause.
Football and trouble are the only things that have ever come naturally to Silas. And it’s trouble that lands him in a cell next to do-gooder Dylan. He’s met girls like her before–fixers, he calls them, desperate to heal the damage and make him into their ideal boyfriend. But he doesn’t think he’s broken, and he definitely doesn’t need a girlfriend trying to change him. Until, that is, his anger issues and rash decisions threaten the only thing he really cares about, his spot on the Rusk University football team. Dylan might just be the perfect girl to help.
Because Silas Moore needs some fixing after all.
In our continuing series of pretending books are Friday Night Lights story lines, I bring you the second Rusk University book, All Broke Down. This is our Tim Riggins novel, and we LOVE Tim Riggins. He’s the bad boy of our dreams because inside he’s a marshmallow. And it’s not his fault he’s bad, he had a troubled childhood! Silas, our book protagonist, had a rough childhood as well. The novel opens with him encountering his mom for the first time in years, his slutty-neglectful-bleached blonde mom; who his friends cat call because they think that she’s one of Silas’s hook ups. After sending mom on her way, Silas goes to meet an old friend in a bar and ends up getting into a fist fight with him. Which lands Silas in jail, where he meets Dylan (all the girls in this series so far have names I can not get behind). Dylan has been arrested for refusing to disperse from a protest at a local homeless shelter the city is closing. She’s wearing her bleeding heart on her sleeve, living a prim and proper life in all other ways, and very into this boy with a bruised face and bloody knuckles who is hitting on her from the other holding cell. This is Dylan’s big YOLO moment.
Silas, in a rare kind of selfless move, bails Dylan and her friend out of the pokey, and drives them back to his house to enjoy the party that’s raging there with the rest of the football team. This was when I learned that driving a stick shift can be hot.
“He pulls the stick down, and it comes much closer to the seat than I anticipated, which means Silas’s hand is between my thighs, his knuckles grazing my skin until I widen my legs another inch”
The two end up in the bathroom at the house party, making out – very un-Dylan-like behavior – and are pretty close to some much hotter action when they are interrupted. Cora Carmack seems to realize that Bad Boy Heroes require more sex than the nice guy we had in All Lined Up. We say thank you for that. Once Dylan leaves the party she doesn’t think she’ll see Silas again. This was just a one time thing, bad boy football players are NOT for her. Except when she goes to his house to tell him this, he’s just had the worst day of his life after his reckless behavior got him kicked off the football team. Silas asks Dylan to help keep him on the straight and narrow, and teach him to be a good guy, so that he can learn to be a leader for his team and not wreck everything he’s tried to build for himself. And since he’s cute and Dylan wants to do him (essentially) she agrees.
Silas and Dylan are doing wholesome activities, like helping to rebuild houses for the elderly and volunteering at the animal shelter. He is well, and quickly, on his way to becoming a better man and the kid of guy Coach would want on the team. He is also quickly fucking Dylan. As no one would be surprised to hear the platonic portion of their relationship doesn’t last very long once they’re spending this quality time together. Silas is very into Dylan, he’s making it clear to his roommates and teammates that this girl isn’t just another hook up.
All is going well until the pair run into Dylan’s uptight society pillar parents at a campus alumni party. And Dylan is a cold bitch and acts like she and Silas are just barely acquainted. Her justification is that she thinks she’s doing it to protect him from their meddling and questions. Of course he doesn’t see it this way, and you can’t really blame him for thinking she’s ashamed of him, when he’s been trying so hard. Silas also has to deal with his mom trying to get money from him (I don’t know what money she thinks a college student has but OK), and a bad situation with a fellow member of the football team. I ended up liking Silas so much, despite his introduction in book one of Rusk University being incredibly douche-y.
We get our HEA along with the set up for the next book with a very realistic handling of a real life college campus problem. Carmack takes her character seriously, there’s nothing cringe inducing in these books, just cute guys and sweet romances. Full Eyes, Clear Hearts, P in the V, Can’t Lose.