My attraction to hockey players began in high school when my dad somehow obtained front row seats for my very first NHL game. After being dragged to my brothers’ hockey games throughout my childhood, I was not prepared for the speed and intensity of the professionals. Their power and skill were intoxicating, and my little teenage heart immediately fell for Peter Forsberg, the blue-eyed, Swedish star of the team.
I’d like to think I’ve matured since then, and I have in many ways, but I still have a soft spot for hockey players. I also can’t stop reading Sarina Bowen’s hockey love stories. It’s fun, escapist, wish-fulfillment at its best. Brooklynaire was probably my favorite of the Brooklyn Bruiser books, but I’ve enjoyed all of them to some extent.
When Superfan (2019) appeared on my Amazon page, I realized I hadn’t read it. After a number of relatively heavy books, I was ready for a little escapism.
Silas Kelly is the backup goalie for the Brooklyn Bruisers NHL hockey team. I remembered him in a couple of previous books, circling around the main action. Three years before, Silas had just been sent packing without a contract, losing his dream of becoming a professional hockey player. Working as a bartender in his hometown, Silas broodily contemplates his next move. But during the annual music festival, Delilah Sparks starts frequenting his bar before the dinner rush. She’s a singer/songwriter desperate for a chance. The two have an immediate chemistry and connection, but Delilah is afraid to start something that will only have to end in three weeks. The presence of Brett, an old high school rival of Silas’s, and a possible music producer/boyfriend for Delilah complicates the situation.
When Delilah finally agrees to a surfing lesson date with Silas, he gets called up to the minors and is forced to stand her up. Three years later, Silas is now playing for the NHL, and Delilah Sparks is a famous star. Silas has never forgotten her, following her career as it exploded, and listening to her music any chance he can get. Silas sees Delilah on television at a hockey game in Los Angeles and after some flirtatious comments on twitter, they agree to a date the next time she is in New York.
Once Silas is able to see Delilah and explain what happened three years ago, their connection comes back immediately. The complications are Delilah’s fear of commitment, the fact she lives in Los Angeles and is focused on her career, and the jealous manipulations of her ex-boyfriend and producer, Brett.
I really liked the concept and beginning of this book. I enjoyed how the characters found each other before either one was famous or successful, and how they came together three years later. Even though, the number of happy couples in the Brooklyn Bruiser’s organization is starting to get ridiculous, this magical land of beautiful, fun, happy people is still fun to read about.
Unfortunately, I did find the end of the book significantly weaker than the beginning. ***SPOILERS*** I was disappointed in Brett’s character. Not only is it a huge coincidence that Delilahs’ producer and boyfriend went to high school with Silas, but I don’t think his actions were adequately explained. Was he seriously that desperate to control Delilah that he roofies her and harasses her with a made-up stalker? It would have been more believable if he was more controlling in other ways. Also, Delilah is a famous star, I’m sure she already has creepy stalkers. Why does Brett need to make one up? Most annoying, drugging someone is not a good way to get a contract signed. Delilah knew immediately she was drugged. She wouldn’t remember signing the contract, there were no witnesses, and her manager did not review it. It would be easy to get that contract invalidated. I feel like Bowen missed the boat here, where the reality of roofies, controlling men in relationships, and stalkers is much scarier than the stupid things Brett was doing.
Also, after loving Silas for the majority of the book, his actions did not make any sense in the end. I realize Bowen was trying to build up a climax here, but her hero had to turn stupid for her to do so. Delilah’s ex-boyfriend threatens Silas, his mother, and Delilah. And he doesn’t tell her! And he stands her up again! And he doesn’t even vaguely tell her something came up until she’s already waiting at the restaurant! And the excuse is something about someone reporting her text messages to Brett. Who cares, find some way to let her know what’s going on, especially considering their past. Silas can afford security for his mom until he figures out the situation and Delilah deserves to know what’s going on. ***END SPOILERS***
My favorite Sarina Bowen book ever was the first one I read, The Year We Fell Down. Since then, I’ve always enjoyed her books, but they were never better than the first. I worry that, lately, Bowen is not able to spend enough time on her plots to really dial them in. Although I really liked Silas and Delilah and generally enjoyed the book, I feel some opportunities were missed with Superfan.
You can find all of my reviews on my blog.