Thank you to my dear friend Melanie for gifting me this book!
Title: The Foxhole Court
Series: All for the Game, #1
Author: Nora Sakavic
Genre: YA contemporary
Neil Josten is the newest addition to the Palmetto State University Exy team. He’s short, he’s fast, he’s got a ton of potential—and he’s the runaway son of the murderous crime lord known as The Butcher.
Signing a contract with the PSU Foxes is the last thing a guy like Neil should do. The team is high profile and he doesn’t need sports crews broadcasting pictures of his face around the nation. His lies will hold up only so long under this kind of scrutiny and the truth will get him killed.
But Neil’s not the only one with secrets on the team. One of Neil’s new teammates is a friend from his old life, and Neil can’t walk away from him a second time. Neil has survived the last eight years by running. Maybe he’s finally found someone and something worth fighting for.
I was super nervous starting this book because of the polarizing reviews, but I am so glad I did! While I realize 3-stars isn’t the greatest rating of all time, I really enjoyed reading about Neil’s journey and am excited to continue the series!
This first installment follows Neil, a college student with a troubled past. We are told he’s running away from something, and we get little snippets about his dark family history. Neil ends up getting recruited to Palmetto State University to play on their Exy team. Exy is a sport similar to lacrosse, and the PSU team is known for being a band of misfits with some sort of tragic story.
We follow Neil as he tries so hard to hide from his past all while his Exy teammates give him a hard time. I’ll be honest, I got really irritated with so many of the characters. They were just so awful to him, and I was ready to scream when I read a very shady scene that involves Neil getting drugged in a club.
But as more of each teammate’s mystery is uncovered, I began to understand why they did what they did. I know I’m being super vague here, but I don’t want to spoil anything. I really started to warm up to most of the characters, and I really liked how their relationship with Neil started to bloom. I also loved the competitive nature of the game. But even though this book focuses on a sport, the sport didn’t feel like it distracted from the plot of the story.
Overall this story gave me major Paper Princess + Fence vibes. You’re probably like, wtf, Paper Princess?! Well, all three of these stories start out with a character coming from an underprivileged background, and they get taken in by a group of people who treat them kinda shitty. This story is also full of so many twists and wtf-moments. Honestly, I felt like I was handed one wild thing after another. This is NOT your typical YA contemporary.
I can see why this book isn’t for everyone, and I can also see why it’s well loved. I truly loved Neil so much, and I’m ready to learn more about his wild past. I also know some spoilers about a certain OTP, so I’m already setting my heart up for that. 😉
Trigger warnings: Drug use, overdosing, alcohol use, homophobic slurs, ableist slurs, abuse, drugging/hazing, talks of self harm and suicide.