Review of ‘Kick Back’ by KJ
Okay, this is another book I’m happily overrating a little. It’s definitely not perfect but what it made me feel completely warrants those 5 stars. I want to be friends with KJ’s books, they’re sweet, endearing, vulnerable and all-around charming.
After losing her mother at fourteen and her father at thirty, Sophia Lindstrom is convinced everyone leaves at some point (despite her twin brother and his girlfriend always being there for her) and is scared of getting too close to anyone.
When she’s not working with her brother in their boutique food store or volunteering at the homeless shelter, she’s playing in the Australian Football League’s first women competition. At the beginning of the second season, the AFL brings in a reporter to write fluff pieces on the players, in an effort, officially, to advertise the sport, but not the way Sophia would like it to be advertised. Cam Weathers, the reporter, agrees with Sophia but has no other choice than to do the job she’s being paid for. Yet as they get to know each other, she realises there’s another story worth writing – although not for her employer –, a story of misogyny, manipulation and big bucks, a story that might put an end to everything Sophia loves while making Cam’s career. Cam, who has been hurt by her first girlfriend, is having a hard time not seeing all athletes in a bad light, despite the huge chemistry pulling her towards Sophia.
I could relate with both main characters on a personal level for two different reasons: Sophia’s anxiety and Cam’s job as a journalist, even though, luckily for me, I never had to work in the kind of newspaper she works at. They’re both wonderful characters, and the secondary characters are substantial too.
Regardless of how fantastic the characters are, how sweet the lesbian love story, what I like most about KJ’s books, however – and this one is no exception –, is the writing style and the tone. It’s a little too flowery sometimes, a little over the top, but I don’t care, I love it anyhow. There’s a spirit to KJ’s writing that I find utterly enjoyable and energising.
It’s not so much that this book is good (which it is), it’s how full of life it is. I almost wrote that it was a breath of fresh air, but it’s more than that, it’s like it’s giving you oxygen. Despite addressing delicate themes such as anxiety, grief, sexism, it shines bright and joyful. 5 stars