Whatever Life Throws at You by Julie Cross
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Entangled Teen; 320 pages
Life loves a good curveball…
Seventeen-year-old Annie Lucas's life is completely upended the moment her dad returns to the major leagues as the new pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals. Now she's living in Missouri (too cold), attending an all-girls school (no boys), and navigating the strange world of professional sports. But Annie has dreams of her own—most of which involve placing first at every track meet…and one starring the Royals' super-hot rookie pitcher.
But nineteen-year-old Jason Brody is completely, utterly, and totally off-limits. Besides, her dad would kill them both several times over. Not to mention Brody has something of a past, and his fan club is filled with C-cupped models, not smart-mouthed high school “brats” who can run the pants off every player on the team. Annie has enough on her plate without taking their friendship to the next level. The last thing she should be doing is falling in love.
But baseball isn't just a game. It's life. And sometimes, it can break your heart…
"WHATEVER LIFE THROWS AT YOU is a perfect story about growing up and the hardships you'll uncover no matter what profession you choose. It's filled with laughs, heartbreaks, tears, suspense, and plenty of romance."
- Jessica from Step Into Fiction
That being said, here's another thing. The Kansas City Royals are heading to the World Series. This is not a joke. It's for real. I'm excited for them because of this book however, they beat my team to get there so I'm a little bummed, too. That's a little side note. Even though they beat the Orioles, I'm rooting for them to win now.
I'm not the biggest fan of baseball. Not of the sport itself, but watching it. The only time I'll ever watch it is the playoffs because I find those games to be more interesting. Maybe because they're better teams or maybe because I'm weird, but it could be both. I used to be play softball so it's not like I don't like the sport but I'm more of a football junkie. However, this book has definitely made me appreciate the sport once again. Made me actually watch some more of my team's regular season games (which I haven't done in years) and actually made me jealous I wasn't invited (by my brother) to go to one of the games. I mean, if a book can do that to someone, doesn't it speak on a whole different level about how perfect it really is?
If only Jason Brody were real, I think a lot more [younger] people would watch the sport, especially girls. He is not only a perfect guy that's rough around the edges because of his past but he's the perfect athlete, too. I feel like he's someone you could take home to mom and he's someone you & a whole team/organization/job/etc could respect on every level. For being 19 years old, that speaks a lot about his character. He had a rough childhood, he's a bit of a player and he's lacking his on education but that doesn't mean he's stupid or a bad person. Not to mention he's jaw-on-the-floor hot, so prepare those drool buckets now, ladies.
Brody hotness aside, I do believe this is a book both guys and girls could enjoy because of the blend of romance, sports and growth. I say sports because while Brody might be a up-and-coming superstar baseball player, Annie is a star runner for her track team hoping to go to college with running in mind. And she's a star, on and off that track. Her personality will keep you in stitches because this girl has spunk.
I think you can tell from my quote that this book has just about everything you need. I know it may be a little bit vague but it's been a few months since I've read it and while a lot of it has stuck with me, like the characters and the sports, details become muddled. This is, as of right now, one of my top 5 books of 2014 and that is saying something right there. I'm not even one whose big on YA contemporary and I devoured this book; staying up from 2 am to 7 am just to read it all. I couldn't put it down, even when my vision was going blurry, I kept going.
Thank you so much to Entangled for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review (and for the blurb opportunity, y'all are amazing). Thank you to InkSlinger for allowing me to be a part of another one of your tours, I do appreciate every one!
Let’s be real here, playing in the big leagues is exciting but growing up, what team was your dream team to be a part of (Don’t worry, this doesn’t affect your career)?
Well, I’m from Chicago so…take a guess.
Being in the spotlight like you are now, how difficult and stressful is it trying to maintain a certain image?
It’s like I’ve stepped into an alternative reality. You know what I heard the other day at one of my “business” meetings? “Jeter has a fragrance line, this is the direction we need to head in for optimal career building.” Apparently if I smell better—and if thousands of other people smell just like me—I might have a shot at this hall of fame thing people keep going on about. It definitely can turn a little circus freak show in the spotlight. But when I’m on the mound, when I can ignore the crowds and the size of the stadium, I feel completely home. And then I panic, thinking I’m gonna screw up and never be in the spotlight again. So yeah, pressure, stress. I get it. And sometimes I know what to do about it and sometimes I’m along for someone else’s ride.
Since it’s officially post season with baseball, what team are you rooting for?
Outside of baseball? Probably The Blue’s. I used to be a Blackhawks fan but those people get way out of hand.
When you first spotted Annie, what was going through your head? When you found out she was the coach’s daughter, what went through your head then?
Mostly I was thinking that she’s hot and I’m only wearing a towel and generally speaking, I prefer to have a few minutes of clothes-on charming before I get near-naked with a girl. And then after I found out she was Jim’s kid, I’ll admit, part of me wanted to be that guy, the one who goes after the coach’s daughter. But that was before I got to know Jim. I didn’t know what he was like. I didn’t know what Annie was like or that she would be so important to him. Kind of a game changer for me.
If you weren’t an impressive pitcher in MLB, what do you think you would be doing with your life?
This is something I force myself not to think about on a daily basis.
We saw a bit of you dealing with moving for your dad’s new job but, what exactly were you feeling before the move, during the move and once things settled a little?
For some reason, the idea of a new start was appealing. I don’t know why. Most people my age would flip out if they had to move across the country two thirds of the way through Junior year. But this whole baseball side of my dad…I wanted to see it. Maybe I even needed to see it. I guess it was just that important. Of course once I realized that March in Kansas City doesn’t exactly mean spring time, I contemplated stealing the car and heading back south. Now, I’m starting to like it here.
You love running and you’re great at it but what’s the longest distance or time you’ve run straight through?
The longest I’ve run straight through is a half-marathon my cross country coach in Arizona made us do. I can’t even remember my time. I really love the mid-distance stuff so that’s where my drive is and even going for the two mile this season has been a struggle at times for me.
What made you start running? I mean, I don’t know of many people that would want to run for fun and be as competitive (and good) at it as you.
It’s exhilarating and I’m good at it. But really, I like a lot of different sports. I’m just not able to do all of them competitively in high school.
Do you miss your old life before moving? What’s been one of the greatest things for you since arriving in Kansas City?
Greatest thing in Kansas City? You mean besides Jason Brody in a towel? Definitely my dad in his coaching element. I had no idea he was this person.
You saw Brody before arriving to Kansas City, how different was it seeing him in person for the first time (and nearly naked)?
He looks better in person. But he can also speak in person and that opens the door for him to say something pigheaded and disgusting. But seriously, he’s a good guy once you get through the arrogant, I’m the man attitude.
Julie Cross lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three children. She’s a former gymnast and longtime gymnastics fan, coach, and former gymnastics program director with the YMCA. She’s a lover of books, devouring several novels a week, especially in the young adult and new adult genres. Outside of her reading and writing credentials, Julie is a committed—but not talented—long-distance runner, creator of imaginary beach vacations, Midwest bipolar-weather survivor, and expired CPR certification card holder, as well as a ponytail and gym-shoe addict.
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