I’ll be the first to admit guilt: I had zero expectations about this book. The blurb sounded mildly entertaining, a comedic fake relationship romance with a college hockey backdrop. Strike that. I had low expectations. I totally judged GRIZ by E. Cleveland by two things that really shouldn’t have any bearing on the quality of a book: the title, the cover and the fact that it was a Kindle Unlimited selection. Okay, that was three things, but bear with me here.
Griz is the name of both the novel and the male protagonist. Griz is short for grizzly because Griz is huge and bear-like and an excellent college hockey player. Hattie is the female protagonist. She’s fiesty, smart, wicked funny, curvy, and has been emotionally abused by her family because of her size. Her parents are probably oblivious to the damage they’re causing, but her sister is a straight up bitch.
Hattie acts as the emcee at a bachelor auction benefitting the campus newspaper, of which she is an editor. She “buys” Griz on a whim after being harrassed non-stop by her sister about her plus one for the sister’s wedding. The sister assumes she won’t need a date because Hattie is curvy and everyone knows no one dates a fatty. Hattie wants to bring an enormous, gorgeous fuck you to the wedding festivities. Two chapters in and I completely get that.
I didn’t expect it to actually be funny. I’m not sure I would classify it as a comedic romance, but it did have some laugh out loud moments. There is a bit about a handlebar mustache that had me ROLLING. You’ll knows it when you come across it.
Here’s the really interesting part: it is both body positive and feminist, and shows how even allies can do some unintentional damage when trying to be supportive when they offer unsolicited advice and/or opinions rather than just being there for someone. Griz loves curvy girls. He wants nothing more than for Hattie to feel good about her glorious curves. There is an exchange between the two of them over a corset that made me tear up a bit because I have been there, done that.
There’s more really good stuff that I want you to read on your own, so I’m not going to go into any further detail. Having spent the whole novel relating deeply to Hattie and becoming convinced that E. Cleveland is a soul sister, I was SHOCKED to read the author bio. E. Cleveland is in fact Eddie Cleveland, a gentleman who has retired from the military to write romance. You could have knocked me over with a feather. Honestly, that may have been my favorite part of the whole book, the realization that there really are allies out there. Sometimes you need a reminder, especially after these last several years.
Oh, and one last thing: I LOVE that this is a college romance and find the happily ever after for now ending totally satisfying and much more believable than if they’d gotten married, he’d gone to the NHL to be a superstar, and she’d become an award winning journalist. It was just people. And perfect.
In short, definitely give this one a try and report back to me.