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Role Model by Rachel Reid

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I love Rachel Reid’s work, particularly this series. I’ve reviewed Common Goal and read a couple others in the Gamechangers series. I’m delighted to report that this book was lovely while I read it. I devoured it in a single sitting and I smiled goofily while reading it, but as soon as the book was complete, I all but forgot about it. And sometimes that’s exactly what I want from a book: a few glorious hours of distraction and then no lingering book hangover.

Troy Barrett is a dickhead and that’s a pretty widely accepted fact, until he stands up to his best friend who has been accused of sexual assault. The video of this confrontation goes viral and Troy finds himself traded to the worst hockey team in the League: the Ottawa Centaurs. Troy wasn’t wrong, but he challenged the status quo and this is his punishment for finally not being a dickhead.

When Troy meets Harris Drover, the Centaur’s social media manager, it’s not a case of sparks flying. Troy is completely blindsided by how comfortable Harris is with his own sexuality. The initial interactions between Harris and Troy are wonderfully awkward, and the more Troy interacts with Harris, the more Troy evolves from this seemingly bigoted hockey player to an out-and-proud gay man. It’s the emotional growth underpinning this transformation that was so wonderful to read.

The conflict between them is minimal, as the story is mostly focused on Troy’s personal evolution. There’s no bleak moment or dire problem; spending time with the characters themselves provided the momentum to keep me reading.

This is a series that to a limited extent builds on itself, so it is worth reading the books in order. You’ll be able to catch up with characters from previous novels and their extended HEAs are a joy. But it is also true that I’ve not read these books in order, nor have I read all the books in the series. While this negatively affects my reading experience slightly, I wouldn’t describe it as a massive barrier. So if you haven’t read the others, you’ll be fine. And if you need an afternoon of quiet smiling into a book that hums with emotional sincerity and growth, then this is the book for you.

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