Okay, y’all convinced me to try this one with your stellar reviews (so.many.reviews), and thank you scootsa1000 for loaning me a copy! I’ve said before that I don’t really read romances novels, but like many of you said, Kulti isn’t really typical of the genre (or my impressions of the genre, anyway). And I do love Outlander, and romcoms, and Taylor Jenkins Reid, so it’s hardly surprising that I enjoyed this. I also read a lot of fanfic — like, if fanfic counted towards my CBR count I’d be a hell of a lot higher than 263 for 2016 — and the slow burn type has always been my favorite (especially when they start out not liking each other, but I guess that’s any fanfic, right?). Anyway, I downloaded this on my Kindle at about 2:00 yesterday afternoon, and finished it around 11 this morning. So yeah….I liked it.
“It was the worst non-break-up ever in the history of imaginary relationships with a man who didn’t even know I existed.”
So our heroine Sal, who I liked quite a bit, had a major crush on a soccer star named Reiner Kulti when she was a little girl. But then she grew up, and became a soccer star in her own right. Now 27 years old, she plays for a team called the Pipers in Houston — a team that just hired Kulti as their new assistant coach. Only this version of her crush is surly, uncommunicative and occasionally downright nasty at times. But he’s still Reiner Kulti — and she still has that little part of herself that loves him.
Obviously, we know they’re going to get together, but man does Zapata drag it out as long as she can. A few of y’all mentioned that she could have used an editor here, and you’re absolutely right, but most of excess can be forgiven I think (I did stumble on this clunker of a line, which wouldn’t be any better if the typo HAD been caught: “Ceci and I’d old furniture back when I’d live with them before college”…geez). But Zapata does a great job of building a world for Sal — her family, friends and teammates all have backstories and real personalities. Honestly, my least favorite character was probably Kulti. He may have been gorgeous and talented (and six foot two, which Zapata must have mentioned 1 billion times), but he’s really kind of a dick most of the time. I’ve never gone for the brooding tortured type (in real life or in fiction), but I do like that he doesn’t apologize for it. And Sal doesn’t bend herself around it either.
I loved the various uses of languages that I don’t speak. I loved that Sal kept reminding herself that all her heroes still have to poop (seriously). I also loved the sports. I loved that they played soccer and baseball and trained and practiced and put so much work into it. I loved that Sal wasn’t a magazine editor or in advertising or an aspiring writer. I know zilch about pro soccer, but I loved the glimpse into this world, and the physicality that it gave their relationship before it was a relationship. I also really want to re-watch Bend it Like Beckham again right now, although that may have less to do with the soccer and more to do with Jonathan Rhys Meyers (who’s only five foot ten, but I’ll take him anyway).
I feel like this review went slightly off track, but the bottom line is: I’ve been converted to the Kulti cult, and thank you all for that!