Available in KU
Like most of Romancelandia, I have been waiting with bated breath for Hook Shot, the final book in the Kenndy Ryan basketball universe. Her first book, Long Shot, gutted me and still holds a portion of my heart in its book hands. Block Shot continued the angst, but it empowered me as a woman, reminding me that the “daughter of a lion is still a lion.” And now, we have Hook Shot, Ryan’s newest offering. Like the other books in the series, this one deepens the love in the Hoops universe.
With Long Shot, we watched love bloom and endure through pain and trauma.
With Block Shot, we watched opposites attract and recognize the power of women in or out of love.
With Hook Shot, we receive the amalgamation of all of these stories: enduring trauma, finding personal strength through the community of women, and love.
Kennedy Ryan beautifully brings all of them together in the love story of Kenan and Lotus, and she imbues her story with hope for renewal and love.
The rainbow as a symbol plays prominently in this story. In Hook Shot, it acts as a bridge and a warning: “[a] rainbow is the bridge from Heaven to Earth,” MiMi instructs a young Lotus. However, in life, a rainbow symbolizes a fresh start, a renewal. And this symbolism is necessary to understand the significance of Kenan and Lotus’s journeys in this story. Each of them has endured a trauma, albeit the traumas are distinctly different. Nevertheless, these traumas keep each of them isolated, Kenan to his routine as an escape and Lotus to the escape of insignificant relationships. Ryan reminds us through their journeys that they need renewal and fresh beginnings to find a greater meaning in their lives. There is no meaning in a life half-lived, and both of them must cross the “rainbow” from trauma to renewal. Ryan weaves their lives together to bring about that added depth, and it is a masterpiece.
Even more, Ryan shows us the power of women through this story much as we see in Block Shot. In that book, the understanding of this power runs through the character of Banner. In Hook Shot, Ryan illustrates this through the power of the female community, whether it be a family group or a friend group. The characters of Yari and Billie provide this power through Lotus’s work and friendship. Ryan crafts them as foils to Lotus to emphasize the depth of her trauma. Yari and Billie provide a voice of reason when Lotus struggles with her own choices. They become her friend support and, in so doing, they become each other’s strength. Similarly, Lotus’s true strength comes through her family line, and Iris represents (with Lotus) the “power of the unbroken line…[t]wo women from our lineage together. There’s power in that.” Through this line, Ryan suggests that, like Banner, the power of change comes through the inner strength of women, furthering that message from Block Shot.
And finally, the love of Kenan and Lotus is part August and Iris, part Banner and Jared. They are opposites (older man/younger woman), yet like August did for Iris, Kenan fights for Lotus. To be honest, Ryan’s portrayal of Kenan made the book for me. Granted Lotus is one of my new favorite heroines, as her internal strength is admirable. The choices she makes in the name of her love for Kenan are powerful and awe-inspiring. But it’s Kenan’s willingness to forgo his worries and hand his heart to Lotus that pulled the story together for me. KeLo’s relationship embodies the relationships of the first two books in this series, and it stands as a reminder that great love can heal all wounds.
I am going to say it now. Hook Shot is going to be a top book for 2019. It pulls together the elements of Kennedy Ryan’s other books in the Hoops series, leaving us with a beautiful story of renewal through the power of love. Yes, I am sad the series has ended; however, I hold out hope that Ryan will write us beautiful bonus chapters in the future, reminders that love overcomes anything.
In love and romance,