KNOWING THE SCORE, BY KAT LATHAM (Book 1 of London Legends)
Another re-read. I wasn't sure if I should review this one or not, but, after all, I did say I would review every book I read this year, and I wanted to re-read it after I recommended it to so many people (and before I read the latest one in the series).
Synopsis: Caitlyn, an American work working for a disaster relief organization, moves to England for a year. After saving the life of an old man having a heart attack, she meets Spencer, a professional rugby player with World Cup pretensions. They start a relationship that's supposed to be purely casual, but becomes more than that in spite of themselves.
Overall enjoyment: Well, everybody knows I liked it. I did recommend it to so many people, after all (to be completely honest, though, I only really started recommending it to people after Elena became so enthusiastic about it). Thing is, like I said to her, I've read better fanfiction. I don't really think that's offensive, since there's some amazing fanfiction out there. Also, it's a lot better than many other stuff I've read. It could be better, sure, but I still liked it.
Plot: It's... cute. She has her issues and he has his issues and they both try to help each other through those and the issues they create for themselves as a couple. If you're a fan or romance, it's highly enjoyable.
Characters: The fact that I liked it does not mean I don't see or ignore its flaws. The biggest one, in my opinion, is that Spencer is a bit of an asshole. He's not a badly-written character; in fact, he's almost too real. All the characters are highly believable and likable, except for him. Then again, he's not a dangerous kind of asshole; if your friend started dating a guy like him, you'd probably have to make an effort to be nice to him, but you WOULD make that effort. She could probably do better, but she could also do much, much worse.
World/setting: She writes rugby really well, and that was my favorite part. She doesn't really get into the games themselves in this book, but she describes a few of the moves, and some rules, the dressing-room atmosphere... I really wish she concentrated more on that, but then it would have been a different type of book. And I'm enough of a rugby fan (and rugby-deprived fan, living where I live) that I get happy every time I see a reference to it, no matter where.
Writing style: Clean and straightforward. She doesn't dance around profanities, but she doesn't overdo them, either. The sex scenes are erotic rather than pornographic, so there aren't that many painfully awkward euphemisms to body parts. I especially love how horny Caitlyn is for Spencer from the moment she meets him -- not desperate for love, like you would usually see in romance novels, immediately imagining their relationship together, but simply physically attracted.
Representation: There is an attempt in this direction, but a very half-hearted one. Mostly, POCs are the people Caitlyn helps and a vague reference to London's diversity. No LGBTQA people.
Political correctness: She does a very good job in suffering through, living with and trying to get over trauma with Caitlyn's character. Unfortunately, she kind of undoes it with Spencer's assholishness. There's a lot of casual sexism everywhere in the book, and it does bother me. Once again, just because I like something doesn't mean I won't see and acknowledge its faults. There is some slut-shaming, and using "girl" as an insult, and stuff like that.
I really have to add, the sexism in this book was also a lot lighter than I have seen in many books, including some that I've read this year and already reviewed. Still, it exists, and I can't just brush it off.
Up next: Tabula Rasa, by Ruth Downie