The Dating Playbook (2021) by Farrah Rochon is another book I found on NPR’s Best Books List. This one was a romance novel featuring a football player and a fitness trainer. I thought it was all right, but I was a little disappointed. I liked the characters, but both the story and the characters never felt real enough for me to really care about them or their situation. Usually I gobble down romance novels in a day or two, but this one took a couple of weeks (I’ve also been very busy).
Taylor Powell is a fitness trainer and Jamar Dixon is a superstar, former NFL player who hurt his knee during his first season. After seeing Taylor on a viral video, he decides that he wants to hire Taylor as his personal trainer, so he can make his NFL comeback. They are immediately attracted to each other, but Taylor is serious about keeping it professional. Then they decide that they need to fake date so that no one finds out that Taylor is training Jamar. Then they start to real date.
Unfortunately, none of this did very much for me. I could not believe that Jamar would choose someone as wholly unqualified as Taylor to help him return to professional football after a knee injury. She certainly knows her fitness and works hard, but she knows absolutely nothing about football. How can she help train him when she doesn’t understand what he does? Jamar was explaining to Taylor the workout equipment they used at the college level. I also couldn’t see how long runs on a treadmill and running up a tiny hill in Austin is going to make his 40 yard sprint any faster. Also, if he’s having any trouble with his knee, he needs doctor’s supervision, rehab exercises, and physical therapy. As someone who is a little obsessed with fitness, this was very distracting and took me out of the story.
I also didn’t understand why Taylor and Jamar had to fake date in the first place, and it didn’t add much to their relationship. In addition, I liked Taylor’s friends, but I thought it odd how isolated she was apart from these women that she’d only just met. It added to the sense that she was not a real person–although we do meet her family later in the novel.
I liked that Rochon had her characters help each other grow and develop near the end of the book, but this was not one of my favorites.
You can find all my reviews on my blog.