Author: Sarina Bowen

Book: Understatement of the Year (The Ivy Years #3)

tl;dr recommendation: I loved Rikker and Graham. and they love each other. repeatedly. in lots of positions. and places. YUM. 4 stars!

Book Summary:

What happened in high school stayed in high school. Until now.

Five years ago, Michael Graham betrayed the only person who ever really knew him. Since then, he’s made an art of hiding his sexuality from everyone. Including himself.

So it’s a shock when his past strolls right into the Harkness College locker room, sporting a bag of hockey gear and the same slow smile that had always rendered Graham defenseless. For Graham, there is only one possible reaction: total, debilitating panic. With one loose word, the team’s new left wing could destroy Graham’s life as he knows it.

John Rikker is stuck being the new guy. Again. And it’s worse than usual, because the media has latched onto the story of the only “out” player in Division One hockey. As the satellite trucks line the sidewalk outside the rink, his new teammates are not amused.

And one player in particular looks sick every time he enters the room.

Rikker didn’t exactly expect a warm welcome from Graham. But the guy won’t even meet his eyes. From the looks of it, his former… best friend / boyfriend / whatever isn’t doing so well. He drinks too much and can’t focus during practice.

Either the two loneliest guys on the team will self destruct from all the new pressures in their lives, or they can navigate the pain to find a way back to one another. To say that it won’t be easy is the Understatement of the Year.


Warning: unlike the other books in this series, this heartbreaking love story is about two guys. Contains sexual situations, dance music, snarky t-shirts and a poker-playing grandmother.

Longer Review:

New Adult, m/m is always a win for me…add in hockey players and you’ve hit the hat trick. Rikker and Graham were sweet, endearing, stubborn and sexy men who struggle to find their soft landing in a hardened world.

While Rikker is very out – I mean, he couldn’t be any more OUT as the first openly gay hockey player in NCAA history – he’s not exactly thrilled about the role he was thrust into. When he joins Graham’s hockey team it’s like being tossed into a mixing bowl of emotions. He’s thrilled to see his first love again – but he’s also pissed when Graham refuses to acknowledge him.

Graham is more of an enigmatic character. He struggles with his feelings for Rikker. He doesn’t want life to be harder for him. He doesn’t want to feel the things he feels for Rikker. But he does. And it’s suffocating him. You can feel Graham’s hurt – and when he starts to lift the heavy burden on his shoulders, it’s like you’re suddenly lighter too.

There are some sexy scenes to tide you over, but this book is more about plot than about sex.  I do wish that we had a bit more there at the ending…I felt that it just sort of stopped. However, on the whole I loved Rikker and Graham. and they love each other. repeatedly. in lots of positions. and places. YUM.

I’m a little in love with Sarina Bowen and this book has only enhanced the fangirling. Perfectly written prose engaged me and her words made me just plain feel. Graham most definitely speaks softly and carries a big stick. *wink* 4 stars!