Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan is a sports themed romance. Iris DuPree appears to have it all: beauty, brains, independence, and a baller NBA boyfriend. She’s girlfriend to Caleb, the apparent golden boy of the NBA that every girl seemingly wants. Iris is no stranger to sports, given her baller boyfriend, and is well versed in the game. She’s striving towards a career in sports marketing in hopes of being successful on her own. One night, she’s at a bar watching her favorite team, the Lakers, play on the bar’s TV as she animatedly is screaming at said TV over plays and calls. At the bar, Iris’ passionate game watching catches the eye of August West, an NBA player as well, who’s trying to squash some pre-game jitters. August and Iris strike up a conversation that ends with them spending the entire night talking. They instantly have a connection, one August wants to pursue, but is stopped short when Iris reveals she has a boyfriend.
At this point, August cant get Iris out of his mind. Talking to her felt easy, natural and she felt like one of a kind to him. Though it’s unfortunate that he can’t have a chance with her, she still holds a presence in his mind. He runs into her again at a game, where she looks completely different than the night they met; straight hair, tight and revealing clothing but still beautiful. This is where August finds out that Iris’ boyfriend is none other than his rival, Caleb. This adds fuel to the proverbial fire as August doesn’t think Caleb is deserving of Iris but there’s nothing he can really do about it. Despite this, Iris maintains a spot in August’s mind.
As for Iris, as she figures out her future and how Caleb will come into play, she starts feeling unsure about her relationship. Caleb is basically her first everything and he wants to marry her and start a family. However, Iris is focused on getting her career going so that she can build a name for herself. Caleb, and seemingly everyone around her, doesn’t understand why she doesn’t want to live the luxurious, kept life Caleb is promising her without needing to lift a finger. Iris starts to feel like she may be settling and the constant pressure from Caleb to accept his proposal is making her rethink their relationship. As the pressure builds, Iris discovers she’s pregnant and the seemingly perfect relationship with Caleb begins to go downhill.
Common Themes + Opinions:
There’s really only one broad, overarching theme for this story and it is unfortunately domestic + sexual abuse. After Iris has her baby, Caleb becomes physically abusive. After the first incident, Iris takes her baby and tries to run but quickly discovers it won’t be easy for her to do. Caleb has control over her entire life and she’s now trapped with seemingly no way out. He isolates her from everyone and the outside world; keeping her at home with a bodyguard to ensure she doesn’t attempt to leave again. Caleb gets triggered by anything and takes it out on Iris, including rape at gunpoint. It is incredibly difficult and painful to read but the reality of the situation is that there are women who unfortunately experience this. While it’s easy for an outsider to say “she should just leave,” Iris’ story proves that it’s not as easy as walking through a door and that there could be other unseen factors that make it difficult for victims to leave their abusers once and for all.
Final Thoughts + Ratings:
Overall, Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan was a great though difficult read. The details of Iris’ abuse are detailed and descriptive, painting a very full picture that is sometimes difficult to swallow. However, this story is still important to tell and can help anyone understand the implications victims may go through with their abusers and what happens when they do attempt to leave. As this is a romance novel, Iris does get her chance at love again though she’s understandably reluctant to be vulnerable, and uses her strength of being a survivor to tell her story and empower other women. For the record, Iris and August do get their happily ever after, but of course, not without some drama and a little bit of steam.
All in all, I give Long Shot four stars for Iris and August’s story, and for Iris’ journey through this incredibly difficult time in her life. Have you read Long Shot? Let me know in the comments!