Book Review: Block Shot by Kennedy Ryan

Quick Summary:

Block Shot, the second book in Kennedy Ryan’s Hoops series (which can be read as a standalone!) follows the story of Jared Foster, August West’s step brother and talented sports agent. The story starts out when Jared is in college, pledging to a secret society which means there were a lot of dumb, inappropriate, and questionably “legal” asks to show loyalty to The Pride. 

Silly name aside, The Pride was basically a group of rich and entitled white boys who would leverage this brotherhood, if you want to call it that, to maximize connections in the real world. The last ask they had for Jared to be able to finally join The Pride was to “fuck a fat girl.” After flat out refusing to do this to appease Prescott, the lead rich and entitled white boy of The Pride, he went where he should have been that whole time – at the laundromat studying with his friend Banner Morales.

Plot Overview:

Banner Morales, a beautiful and incredibly intelligent Latina, works at the laundromat off campus to help her earn some money on the side. As she doesn’t look like the majority of her classmates, she knows she has to work hard, both academically and in real life, to get to where she wants to be. Banner is not skinny and she tries her best to hide it behind baggy, frumpy clothes. She and Jared are classmates and have been studying together. However, neither of them know that they have crushes on each other. 

To Banner, crushing on this tall, blonde, athletic guy is meant to just be a crush because to her, there’s no way a guy like Jared would be interested in her. To Jared, Banner is everything. He likes her for who she is – all of her. Which is why when he hears she’s going to be off in New York the following semester for a prestigious internship, Jared panics and decides tonight’s the night he’s gonna make a move on Banner – and he does and they end up hooking up in the back room of the laundromat. Except things go very much downhill right after that, where Banner’s crush on Jared does exactly that, and she’s forced to move on and forget about him and that night together.
Ten years later, Jared bumps into Banner and all his feelings about her come rushing back. He never forgot about her and truly felt she was the woman that could be for him. Except that she hated his guts and they avoided each other at all costs, given that they’re both talented and successful sports agents at competing companies. With all these feelings back in the forefront, he’s determined to get back in her good graces and in his life again. In Jared’s quest to win Banner back, he’s constantly blocked (see what Kennedy did there?) by Banner’s client and current boyfriend Alonzo. 

The three of them end up in this complicated love triangle. Now that Jared is back in the picture, and regardless how hard she wants to hate him for past transgressions, she can’t help but feel that electric attraction – the same attraction she felt when they were back in college. Knowing the kind of man Jared is, all killer no heart, he’s kind of ruthless in his pursuit of Banner and doesn’t care or respect her relationship with Alonzo. Banner may protest her attraction to Jared and his to her but there was no stopping that train.

Common Themes + Opinions:

A theme worth highlighting throughout Block Shot is Banner’s insecurity about her body. It’s evident out of the gate at the beginning of the story as she seemingly hides her body with baggy clothes when she and Jared were in college. Now, she works out diligently and meticulously tracks every bite she eats. 

As a fellow Latina who is not skinny, reading about Banner’s eating habits was a touch triggering. Diet culture is very much alive in Banner, which is disappointing, especially as she learns to accept herself and her body. I would hope that (hypothetically) she drops the focus on the numbers on the scale and on using points to categorize food, and fixes her relationship with food to live a fulfilling and healthy life. I also get that her being in LA, a city where vanity is held in a very high regard, she needs to care about her image. I’m not saying she can’t care, it’s the obsessiveness about gaining/losing weight, and tracking her every bite that bothers me. I digress 🙂

Final Thoughts + Ratings:

Overall, I enjoyed Block Shot. A needed reprieve from the very serious Long Shot, though this book also has serious moments. I identified with Banner in a lot of ways – we’re both voluptuous, successful Latinas – and it was incredibly satisfying seeing her accept herself and acknowledge that she’s worthy and lovable no matter what her body looks like. I hate to fawn over Jared for doing what feels like the bare minimum, but I really did love that he loved Banner regardless what her body looked like; he legitimately wanted all of her. I can see now why Jared’s most people’s fave “book boyfriend.” On top of that, he gives off strong “I’m an asshole to everyone but you” vibes which is cute.
All in all, Block Shot gets five stars from me. The characters are well written (duh, it’s Kennedy frickin Ryan) and relatable, the story is compelling, and the spicy scenes are spicy. Check out my review for Long Shot, the first book in the Hoops series, here.
Have you read Block Shot? Let me know in the comments!
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