Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 1/2
Rebecca Jenshak has done it again. She’s written another romance where you can’t help but fall deeper into the story. Even more, as I have done with her other books, I picked up Jilted Jock and could not put it down. The struggles of her hero and heroine, Finn and Adele, feel real, as one tries to find a new normal after being spurned and the other tries to maintain her normal when she feels compelled to shake up her life. Now, if you haven’t read Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward’s Cocky Bastard, the book that inspired Jenshak’s Jilted Jock, that’s okay. Jilted Jock is a complete standalone, and Jenshak has done a fantastic job of alluding to Cocky Bastard in laying out Adele’s story. However, to really feel drawn into this story, reading Cocky Bastard before reading this book adds layers to Jenshak’s Jilted Jock. It makes you appreciate Adele’s struggle even more. Why should you read Jenshak’s story? Here goes:
*Finn is a special kind of hero. From chapter 1, you know that his heart has been broken, and his life has been upended. Jenshak has shared this chapter, so it isn’t a spoiler to know that. His journey from devastation to falling for Adele holds so much of the beauty of this story. He is the impetus for Adele’s transformation, and Jenshak crafts him as a hero who adores his heroine. There is no doubt about his faithfulness or interest in Adele. Once he sets his mind to her, that is it, although Jenshak does make you nervous at times when Finn has been snubbed by Adele.
*Adele’s story. If you read Cocky Bastard, you know Adele’s background, and Jenshak has carefully created a realistic story of her that revolves around controlling her fear. Jenshak was so thoughtful in creating her story that it feels like Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward could have written it. For me, Adele feels like the most real character in this book. Through her characterization, I think most readers can understand the need to control all aspects of life to protect against passion leading to poor choices. That feels more real to me than a star soccer player who gets left at the altar. Most of us live lives of control out of a fear of something. Jenshak captures this reality well in Adele’s character.
*Of course, it’s “old home week” with Jilted Jock. Adele’s brother, Chance, and her sister-in-law, Aubrey, whose story is immortalized in Cocky Bastard, find their way into Adele’s story. I’m thankful that Jenshak didn’t shy away from incorporating them. I will say that Chance disappointed me a bit in this story. He is incredibly overprotective of her (which makes sense given her past), but it feels like a detriment at times. That being said, Jenshak’s articulation of his character makes sense in the Cocky Hero world. This shows Jenshak’s talent at finding another author’s voice and adapting it to her story.
If I had any criticism of Jilted Jock, it would be the very last part of the story. For me, it felt rushed. Jenshak’s narrative feels well developed for much of the story, but the last part doesn’t feel as careful. I’m not sure why. Maybe I simply wanted more of their story towards the end. However, it didn’t stop me from bulldozing right through to the end.
After seeing the spate of Cocky Hero books, it’s clear why Rebecca Jenshak was tasked with Jilted Jock. Jenshak is a romance author who finds the right kind of balance between crafting compelling characters, elaborating on the sports of her characters, and writing a story that pulls you in and engages you until the very last page. She has written such a fantastic story for Chance’s sister, Adele. I only wish I could spend a bit more time with her and Finn.
In love and romance,