Review of ‘Slammed’ by Lola Keeley
World No. 1 tennis star Elin Larsson is pursuing her dream to get the record of grand slam titles. She’s very close to beat it but pressing injuries and her growing anxiety makes her think that maybe she’s not cut out for tennis anymore. When she meets ascending player Toni Cortes Ruiz, there is an undeniable attraction but media intrusion and scandals within the tennis association threaten to put an end to their tentative friendship and the possibility of even more…
This is a very good lesbian sports book with a side of an exciting romance. Lola Keeley is a talented lesfic author, I’m still in awe of her debut book ‘The music and the mirror‘ in which she explores the world of ballet in a romance between an ice-queen choreographer and a talented ballerina. Here there is also an ice-queen, Eli Larsson, also known as the tennis Ice-Princess but as the story is told in first person from her solely point of view, the reader gets to see her reasons for being detached and cautious. It’s easier to empathise with the character as she struggles to cope with pressure, anxiety, and injury.
‘Slammed’ gives an in-depth insight into the world of tennis. I don’t think the reader needs to be a tennis fan to enjoy this book (though I am), but at least it’d help if they have an interest in sport. I loved that there was not only a good description of the game of tennis but also of the other aspects of a sportsperson’s life, like training and logistics. There is quite a bit of detail in describing all those aspects but these aren’t boring facts as they are daily issues intertwined in the story. It is so well written that it’s easy to see the pre-matches routines, the matches themselves, the press conferences, etc in the reader’s mind eye. The matches’ unpredictability, the looming injuries and the record to be beaten help to keep the interest in the story and turning pages.
Even though the romance is on the side of tennis, both main characters are lovable and their chemistry is hot. The novel goes beyond the romance and deals with family issues, friendship, gender identity and living in the closet. I particularly enjoyed the subplot regarding corruption at the top of the tennis association and racism. The secondary characters help to bring the story to life and makes it even more enjoyable.
Overall, a very good lesbian sports book which deals with some very relevant issues and has an enjoyable romance on the side. 4.5 stars.
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.