REVIEW: Rush Me by Allison Parr
Dear Ms. Parr:
I get the sense from the various internet reviews that people either love this book or hate it. I fall into the latter category. It’s not that I didn’t hate it so much as I wasn’t convinced at the end of the story that the two protagonists actually belonged together.
It’s sold as a New Adult book by Carina Press, but it doesn’t fit my personal definition. Instead, the heroine is a post-graduate working as an unpaid intern at a publishing house. She is wandering around New York City one night and stumbles into a party being held at the home of Ryan Carter, the quarterback for an NFL team in NYC. Rachel Hamilton knows nothing about football (or so she says) and doesn’t recognize either the players or the team name and definitely does not catch that Ryan is the quarterback.
I had a hard time swallowing this. I would venture to say that nearly everyone in NYC knows who the Jets or Giants are, enough so that if the name was mentioned they would associate it with a sports team. Rachel is so oblivious, however, that the team name makes her think of animals rather than football. As if all these hard bodied men were into the zoo or something? Later in the book, Rachel acknowledges that her friends are fans of the Patriots, the football team of her hometown. This only ratchets up the unbelievability of the meet cute.
Rachel and Ryan are opposites. Rachel prizes intellectual and literary endeavors and looks down on Ryan for using his body to earn a lot of money. She immediately presumes that Ryan is merely a dumb jock and insults him at nearly every turn. Ryan isn’t much better. He comes on to Rachel, assuming she is a groupie, and returns her insults with his own. Rachel has zero interest in football and I struggle to understand how someone who hates football would even want to be with someone whose life will be consumed with the sport for some time. I think one reason I struggled with Rachel is she exudes this East Coast snobbery toward what people like to call the flyover state – always colored with disdain. I live in a flyover state and we aren’t really as backward and dumb and unsophisticated as we are made out to be. My reaction to this book may have been more about my own defensiveness here.
“What?” The note in his voice made me defensive. “If you’re meeting all my friends and family, don’t you think I should get to meet yours?”
“You’ve already met all my friends.”
He stopped and sighed, reaching up to tousle his hair. Cleopatra’s Needle towered up
behind him, easily visible through the sparse branches. “Look, Rach, they’re just not— cosmopolitan—enough for you. You’d spend your entire time making fun of the farm, and the trackers, and the clothes—hell, you’d make fun of the entire state.”
“I would not!”
He raised his brows in disbelief. “If you saw a guy in a flannel shirt riding a tractor and smoking tobacco, you wouldn’t snicker to yourself?”
Maybe. A little bit. I tried to joke, “But I would know it was wrong.”
Apparently that had been the wrong thing to say, since Ryan snorted. “Yeah, there’s no way you’re meeting my family.”
One of the best parts of the story is Rachel’s connection with a rookie teammate, Abe, who is Jewish. Rachel is a half-hearted Jew but together they put on a few Jewish holiday meals for Ryan’s team. In those scenes my animosity toward Rachel subsided and I enjoyed her interactions with Abe and her rediscovery of her faith. I know I was supposed to see that Rachel came around and set her snobbery aside (she promised to attend games, met his family and didn’t make fun of them), but I never warmed up to her. Ryan kind of faded into the background for me because I was so focused on Rachel. He had his share of really crude moments toward Rachel which made me wonder wherein the attraction lay.
My reaction to this book is two fold. First, I didn’t like or connect to the characters. I thought Rachel was a real bitch and Ryan an asshole. Second, I really enjoyed the author’s voice and would read her again. But Rush Me didn’t work even though I love football stories and love this younger contemporary romance setting. C
The biggest strain of my credulity is that Ryan has a Jewish teammate! There are currently nine Jews in the entire NFL! (http://extramustard.si.com/2013/03/26/geoff-schwartz-random-facts-about-being-jewish-athlete/) But uh, yes, the rest of the plot sounds far-fetched too, sure.
That snippet you posted made me hate the heroine with the burning fury of a thousand boiling suns.
I’m not sure that there is enough groveling and growing in the world possible for me to see her in a HEA.
Oh — I had issues with this book. I so wanted to love it because one of my trusted recommendation sources loved it, and it had football, and I love a good sports romance. But wow, I can’t agree enough, Jane: Rachael was a bitch. Not a little one. She was judgmental, quick to anger, a mostly shit friend, and generally, not a likable individual. Which was actually OK because Ryan was an arrogant butt-crack. There’s a scene towards the end of the book where Ryan does something that I thought was just unforgivable to Rachael, whether I liked her or not. And I spent the time after that plotting his untimely demise.
Like you, I’d probably be interested in reading more from this author, but this book was one I actively disliked the entire time I was reading it.
This pushes a lot of the right buttons for me, except I don’t like football – haven’t seen a game in about 30 years. I couldn’t see spending three hours with a football hero, much less than the rest of my life. But you hooked me at unlikable, East Coast heroine. And the meet cute may be plausible for me. Might have to add this tot he TBR pile.
I, too, come from a flyover state (although I’m currently going to college out of state in the South), and her statement really pisses me off cause: we can make fun of people in our own state, but those East Coast snobs can’t! (No, seriously. This is basically everyone I know’s attitude towards this).
This kind of sounds like a worse version of Nobody’s Baby But Mine by SEP….did it read that way? Obviously in NBBM, she knew he was a football player but she didn’t really know much about football and also really understimated Cal’s intelligence…so I’m getting that vibe. Does it read similar/is it just the plot outline that’s the same…
And also at the end, you said that you didn’t really warm up to Rachel…was this because she was so awful the rest of the book that you couldn’t like her at all even when she was being redeemed or because the redemption seemed fake?
Sorry for all these questions it’s just that I really like books with athlete heroes and I’m having trouble finding good ones so I’m a little desperate and want to see if this book will make me really angry or only mildly annoyed…
@Mary – for me I felt frustrated at the end. She was insecure but so was Ryan. I just didn’t believe in their romance.
I read this over the past weekend. This is one of the first NA books I’ve read. Overall I enjoyed it, but I think that was more the writer’s voice than the story. I will read another book by her. I’m not sure I bought a HEA in this story so much as a happy for now.
Rachel not knowing about sports didn’t bother me as I have a friend that is oblivious to anything sports. We live in a big sports market and she vaguely knows the area teams but would be hard pressed to name a single player for any of the teams or recognize a name of one of the stars.
I’m in the other camp. I really liked it. I did think Ryan was an asshole in the beginning but I softened to him after he began to show some of his vulnerability. I thought Rachael read somewhat younger than 23 at times and she was definitely prickly and not perfect, but I didnt’ dislike her either.
I really enjoyed the friendships in the book – Rachael has a fairly wide circle of friends, both in her home town and in the city and it seemed to me that they were not all about who was dating whom.
It wasn’t a perfect book, but I found myself really enjoying it. I’m very much looking forward to the next book in the series, which features Mike I think.
I just finished this one. I think first person was the wrong POV for the story, because it didn’t delve deep enough into Rachel for me to understand why she had walls (Walls! Why is it always ‘walls’???) and Ryan is such a dickhead at the start with no way for me to understand why. It’s basically a Harlequin Presents with younger protagonists and a more involved cast of secondary characters. I enjoyed the romancey parts if I didn’t think too much about the other parts of the story that bugged me.
I’m on the side of really liking RUSH ME, but I can see that it’s a book that’s not going to work for all. I agree with Kat – there’s an escapist element to the story which reminded me of M&B/Harlequins, and if you’re into that, then it probably will work for you.
I know next to nothing about American football, so that didn’t annoy me, though the falling in accidentally with the football team definitely required a suspension of disbelief. The author’s voice was great plus I liked the peek into the publishing industry.
Rush Me worked for me too, in large part because I remember being much like Rachel as a young woman. Bookish, sports apathetic, convinced that NYC, my hometown was the literal center of the universe, way more clueless than I should have been. I live in a town with an NBA team and I couldn’t name a single player. I can’t even remember who won the Super Bowl. It’s not that I don’t like sports, it’s that I don’t care. So the idea that the heroine would get won over to watching once she knew the players and cared what happened to them personally seemed perfectly logical.
The other thing that made the book work for me is precisely why I read so little YA/NA: it reminded me of the young people in my life. The teens/college students who do blindingly stupid things, hurtful things and casually break each other’s hearts. It felt real. But I’m really glad to be older now.
Well……I was raised in Iowa and have lived in Minnesota for over 40 years and I liked this book. I also liked Rachel. She did not offend me at all. She was very young and raised on the east coast, so I understood that her experiences would be different. I will always remember my brother-in-law, who is Jewish and born in New York, exclaiming on a December visit to Minnesota, ‘Do you know that it is 17 degrees below zero out there’. We just laughed. But, in any case, I was easily able to forgive Rachel all of her preconceived notions about the parts of the world she had not experienced. I do think that as the story progressed, Rachel made an effort to both understand Ryan and make an attempt to open herself to the things that were important in his life.
Trusted reviewers — especially when I’m on unfamiliar ground, that’s what I need. Usually a C from Jane is enough to keep me away but Julia Broadbooks knows my taste, what hits my buttons, so that turns a nope into I’ll try it. I’m a crazy baseball fan, grew up on it (like we went to every single Toronto Maple Leafs game) but there was a stretch when it bored me. I’d go to the Oakland Coliseum and read a book. So I don’t find oblivious unbelievable, particularly about football.