Kick Back by KJ

Another book by KJ! We liked her last one, Coming Home. Again set in Melbourne, this time we visit another side to the city, the women’s AFL. That’s Australian Rules Football for those who don’t know. It’s a heavy-impact, fast, sweaty team sport played outdoors in skimpy outfits. Think lots of high kicks and jumping, lots of sweaty bodies tackling and needing to shower afterwards, lots of toned legs and muscles…. you see where this is going.

Woman A is the team superstar (it’s probably her last season playing, as she is a rather ancient 30 or so). Woman B is the young reporter sent to write a series of outrageously fluffy articles about the players on Woman A’s team.

Cue THE PLOT, which involves some cartoon villains’ horribly misogynist mismanagement of the fledgeling women’s league… is it a series of accidental fuck ups or is it – gasp – sabotage? The superstar and the reporter DIG THINGS UP and INVESTIGATE and go to matches togather, one playing and the other drooling from the sidelines. It’s uttterly implausible, but hey, they get to spend time together trying to get through their respective ISSUES and find love. And go hiking.

Sparks fly, chemistry ensues. Cold showers needed all round. (“Are your nipples in an ice bath or are you just pleased to see me?”)

The romance itself works right up until the having-sex-for-the-first-time-proves-we-are-now-in-love-for-the-rest-of-our-lives-and-totally-over-our-issues-and-everything-is-perfect. The two leads have spent a long time cautiously inching towards each other and then swiftly move to a rather strange shag in a doorway, but if that’s your thing… The sports story however starts half-heartedly and then builds and builds, and its climax at the last match of the season is brilliant!

Trying not to give away any plot, but the epilogue was pretty unusual. Didn’t involve our heroes having a candlelit dinner. Involved a third character reveal as a kind of Batman figure, fighting for justice undercover. It didn’t wash with me though – if you can actually challenge this mysogynist bullshit face to face, do it. Don’t just sneak off and fight it with your undercover superpowers. I mean, do that as well, but do both. Challenge. Tackle it head on, you know, like a football player!

Time to look up some AFL matches on YouTube and see what all the fuss is about…

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