Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
I think it’s almost standard that the parents stink in any New Adult romance. That isn’t a literal statement; rather, one propogated through the foolishness of parents to live vicariously through their children or place unrealistic expectations because they don’t properly “see” their kids. Time and time again, the parents are either absent or the reason for their children’s psychological breakdown in any NA/YA romance. And Andi Burns’s contribution to the Moo U series, Goalkeeper, is no different. In fact, it becomes the tie that binds her hero, Spencer, and her heroine, Paige together.
Spencer is the goalkeeper for the illustrious Moo U Men’s Hockey Team. With a father who has never outgrown his hockey dad expectations, Spencer’s life is hockey and school. He’s already been drafted, but he’s unsure if he should spend another year in college OR take his place on the team that drafted him. He eats, breathes, and sleeps hockey, sometimes to the detriment of his relationships with his teammates. One night, his teammate entices him with a party in the hockey house (he’s already a resident, but he tends to forgo the parties). Thinking he will only stay for a short while, he finds himself invested when Paige and her friend show up at the party. Paige is the social butterfly of the party scene. She is gorgeous, and she’s caught Spencer’s eye previously. When the two are paired up for a racy game of Jenga, their connection is instantaneous…until Spencer messes everything up. Awkward and shy, he avoids Paige only to find themselves in the same speech class, a class that is the bane of this shy guy’s existence. With her natural effervecence and given that she’s a beauty vlogger, Paige has the ability to help Spencer through this class. They partner up…and the rest is history with these two. Unfortunately, their parents, the villains of this story <smirk>, love to complicate their lives, and this causes a problem with these two. Will their relationship survive those parental expectations?
Throughout Goalkeeper, I loved Spencer and Paige, individually and as a couple. They see each other when no one else does. For the most part, they support each other, and they are completely drawn into each other. There is some back and forth at the beginning of the story, mostly because Spencer is so inept at relationships. However, it’s Paige’s independence and drive that saves them. When they eventually unravel, which is necessary for any romance, it isn’t incredibly profound and, I’ll be honest, it feels a bit manufactured for these two. They really do fall heavily for each other, so their trouble doesn’t feel organic to the story. However, given this is a romance, everything is remedied in the end.
Beyond the romance, this story is really about young people choosing their best lives. Spencer and Paige struggle with their parents’ expectations, and it muddles them. When they finally decide their lives on their own terms, Spencer and Paige become better people. I find this message to be an important one in the age of super-achievement and generational differences.
Overall, I found the story between Paige and Spencer delightful. I enjoyed Goalkeeper, and I think it’s a solid end for the Moo U series.
In love and romance,