Defensive Mindset, by Wendy Temple

I wish I could say I enjoyed this… I was actually very excited to read this, but, unfortunately, it was a complete miss for me.

Star footballer and successful businesswoman Jessie Grainger has her life set, and doesn’t need anything getting in the way. That includes rebellious rival player Fran Doherty, a burnt-out barmaid with a past as messed up as her attitude. So when the clashing pair find themselves on the same Edinburgh women football team, how will they survive each other, let alone play to win?

When I read the book synopsis, I was over the moon. Lesbians? In Scotland? Playing football? SIGN ME THE FUCK UP!!! I adore football (I am referring to european football) and as a queer girl myself, I thought I had found a book very close to my personal taste and interests. I have to admit that every scene set in the football field or practice was very enjoyable, and actually became the most interesting part of the book for me. Unfortunately, these scenes only made up about 15-20% of the book.

As for the rest of the book? A complete mess, for me. I couldn’t connect to any of the characters. The secondary characters were a bit underdeveloped (probably to allow Jessie and Fran to grow and shine more), but here’s the thing: both Jessie and Fran were just very dull. I found nothing interesting about them. They both fell into literature stereotypes and tropes, and, consequently, their relationship also felt trope-y and unoriginal as hell. Jessie was the golden, extremely organized and put-together girl. Fran, on the other hand, was the female version of the mysterious bad boy trope. I couldn’t see any chemistry between the characters or any reason for them to be together, to be honest.

I wish football had played a bigger part in this story. I truly found the football scenes and the team dynamics to be the author’s strongest asset and I wish she had focused more on it. I picked up the book specifically for its sapphic romance, but it ended up becoming my least favourite part of the book.


**An ARC was provided via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review**


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