Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic | I Can't Get Enough of This Series!

The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic
First Published: 2013
New Adult, 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.
Look, I had no idea what I was getting into when I started reading THE FOXHOLE COURT. I didn't know it will take over my life with alarming swiftness. I didn't know it will become one of my favorite series ever. I certainly didn't know it will become my next obsession.

Heck, I bought the books on a whim after seeing Cait's excitement on Instagram (I probably would have never looked at that ugly cover twice otherwise), and started reading immediately on impulse.

Best. Impulse. Ever.
If he inhaled slowly enough, he could almost taste the ghost of gasoline and fire.
I don't think I ever had an experience with a book like I did with this series. It's not as much this specific one as the series as a whole, but we're talking about the first book now so I'll leave that for the final review.

So, here's what happened: I read this book in a day. Then I read books two and three the following day. And then... Then I opened book one again the day after and started reading from the very beginning and moved on to books two and three without pausing for a breath. I read the entirety of the All for the Game trilogy twice in six days. That never happens. 

I'm no stranger to re-reads. I do them often, as I find them comforting. But I have never, ever, done so immediately after the first read. That never happens. Except it did, with this series. And you know what? I am so, so, tempted to give them another re-read right now, as I am typing this.

It's safe to say THE FOXHOLE COURT is a one of a kind experience. I'm honestly not entirely sure that it's a healthy one, due to my level of fixation, but I am not complaining.
It sounded like a dream; it tasted like damnation.
It's one of the most addictive books I have ever read. If you told me to point a finger at what, specifically, makes it so unbelievably un-put-down-able, I would fumble with the answer. I would try to put into words the feelings that this book invoked, and I would fail.

It's so incredibly difficult to explain the magic of this book because, on the surface, there shouldn't be any. It's a sports book, and I'm no big fan of sports. It's a little on the far-fetched end of things because it requires you to believe in a few things that feel a little impossible.

Not the biggest of which the fact a team like the Foxes actually exists. In real life, wouldn't a coach that fails to deliver results for five years be fired instead of continually trusted and listened to? Wouldn't the University cut their losses early and reject our band of rejects in favor of good, stable athletes after they see their games? Talent shouldn't be enough.
"God damn it, Minyard. This is why we can't have nice things."
"Oh, Coach," someone said over Neil's head. "If he was nice, he wouldn't be any use to us, would he?"
Normally, that would turn me off, or at least make me skeptic. That's why when I see reviewers who do feel that way, I understand. But... on a personal level, it didn't matter to me. It simply became fact that our Foxes do exist in this world and that I much the better for it.

I am much the better for meeting Neil Josten. Neil is a living lie, a person who doesn't really exist. He can't. Not if he wants to stay alive. Nothing about the boy is real; from his age to his name to his background. Nothing save for his undying love and passion for the sport called Exy, and everything we learn about him throughout the book through his actions and interactions; Brave, broken, beaten Neil. Awkward Neil. Confused Neil. The Neil who doesn't understand friendships and doesn't believe in family because he never truly had either.
Leaving meant living, but Neil's way of living was survival, nothing more.
Neil is one of those characters that will make you want to read on and on. You will want to soothe his pain and panic and wipe his fears away. You will want to cheer and clap when he shows his bravery and hot-headedness instead of hiding them beneath a facade. You will want to scream of excitement every time he chooses to stay. To stay and fight.
Keys meant Neil had explicit permission to be here and do what he liked. They meant he belonged.
Despite all of his deceptions, Neil is extremely honest. He voices his opinions without being afraid. He watches carefully and he notices things about those around him. And for the most part, he is extremely free of judgment. He would not begrudge you your vices, or your background, or your sexual orientation, or anything. For one, he has seen a lot in his short eighteen years. For another, it's none of his business. And it doesn't really matter.
Hope was a dangerous, disquieting thing, but he thought perhaps he liked it.
The mess that is the foxes serve to highlight all of who Neil is without telling us. The weird, dysfunctional balance between them all comes crashing down more than once and yet somehow always manages to be shakingly restored.
People want to pretend people like us don't exist, you know? Everyone hopes we're someone else's problem to solve." He reached out and fingered the material. "They don't understand, so they don't know where to start. They feel overwhelmed and give up before they've taken the first step."
On the flip side, Neil served to highlight their traits, especially Kevin and Andrew. Andrew is kind of my favorite, being a total messed up psycho half the time who needs to chill out asap, as Cait put it in one of her reviews. But there is something so compelling about him. There is a reason everyone puts up with him; a reason Kevin trusts him to protect him; a reason his group listens to what he says. Part of it is fear, and part of it is that something about him underneath it all.
"I'm not a math problem."
"But I'll still solve you."
But even though Andrew is my favorite, I love all my foxes. I love Dan and Matt and their relationship (#relationshipgoals anyone??). I loved Nicky, the big flirt. I loved the way Aaron serves to show us more of Andrew, even if Aaron himself is a little meh. I loved Renee's weird serenity, and Seth's asshole ways, and Allison's Queen Bitch and Queen of the World attitude. I fiercely loved Coach, who would give these kids as many chances as they needed, and Abby, the only one among them that is allowed to worry about their physical well being as their nurse.

No one in this book is perfect. They are all messed up, and they will never really be fine, even if they might get better. They don't always make the right choice, and they definitely don't always make the good choice. Reading of all these people was like some kind of drug. Reading of Neil's love of the sport was addictive. Reading some of the horrifying realities these characters endured was fascinating and revolting.
"It's not the world that's cruel," Neil said. "It's the people in it."
If you had asked me a week before if I thought I could love such an impossibly messed up group of people, I might have said no. I would have been a major, giant idiot.

Moral of the story; don't be an idiot like I might have been. Read this book. It's FREE. 

No comments:

Post a Comment