The Line Below by Ali Dean


If college romances, boy drama, and sports references are your thing, then Ali Dean’s The Line Below is sure to capture your romantic spirit. I couldn’t say no to a book about swimming after spending nearly my entire childhood on a swim team (I was pretty darn good, too).


The Line Below didn't disappoint. It thrust me right back to my college years with all the boy drama that seemed so serious at the time. Looking back all that boy-chasing was an obvious waste of my time. I could have read at least one full book in the time I spent making out with that guy dressed as Eeyore at a Halloween party. Sigh. But I did end up meeting my husband at a college party, so maybe that boy thing wasn’t all that bad.


From the little I know about college athletes—my husband was on the water polo club team—I can say that it is my belief that Ali Dean did her research into the cult-like phenomena of college sports. The rumors about the swimmers are the same that circulated around my campus—especially the parts about them being bottomless pits. I think their plates rivaled the football players.


There is no doubt in my mind that athletes of all shapes and sizes and sports will find plenty to resonate with in this sexy story. Shay Spark, our dedicated heroine, suffers a personal failure and a subsequent questioning of what her future is going to look like. She’s fiercely independent, strong-willed, and quite street smart.


The Line Below is also not without its diversity. I’m sorry to say that the number of diverse novels I read is rather small compared to the overall number, unfortunately. Jett Decker, the Olympic hero of our story, is black and Shay Spark is white. It’s not a main aspect of the story (believe it or not I’ve read many a review where the reader is upset if a big deal isn’t made over the differing races), but it does come up a few times throughout among their peers and family. Ali Dean wonderfully hired a sensitivity writer as a part of her editing process which I love hearing.


Shay and Jett’s relationship is fireworks from the beginning in a way that will have you remembering what it was like to be young and in love—unless you’re still in college in which case get out of here you’re making me feel old. There’s serious chemistry between the two and the relationship could get realistically juvenile, but in a way that made the story more real rather than detracting from it (but if ‘teen’ drama isn’t your thing then this is a warning). There was no bullshitting from Jett and some serious patience from Shay.


I really enjoyed the secondary characters and the fun they brought to the story. I am definitely intrigued by some romantic subplots, especially between Shay’s twin sister and her beau. My favorite part of this novel is that I really enjoyed Ali Dean’s style of writing. Everything flowed perfectly and the pace of the story was always perfect. If you’re looking for a romance novel between mature adults with adult problems like paying bills and similar stuff, then this probably won’t be the read for you. But if you’re looking for something sweet and sexy between two college athletes with wacky friends, then The Line Below is where it’s at.


If you're interested in purchasing The Line Below, it's available now: click here.

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