I absolutely adored The Boyfriend Project so as soon as I received the ARC for The Dating Playbook I dove right in and fell in love all over again. This time the book focusses on Taylor (remember Samiah’s new friends from The Boyfriend Project? I’m so glad they are getting their own books!). So naturally, this book made me cry a lot for some reason and honestly I was so invested in Taylor’s journey. Farrah Rochon is definitely one of my favourite romance writers. And this one is a sports romance which always seem to capture my attention!!!
Star rating: 5 stars
Taylor thought going viral after her boyfriend Craig cheated on her with at least two other girls would be a huge benefit to her fitness business, but turns out the fame lasted less than the 15 minutes she was expecting and she saw no benefit. But at least she got two new friends out of it in Samiah and London, both successful women. Struggling financially, Taylor is at a loss. She knows so much and nutrition and fitness but no stable job will take her without a college degree. But when Jamal, an ex-NFL player turns up at one of her pop-up fitness classes, her life might change for the better. Jamal got seriously injured in his rookie year in the NFL, and hasn’t returned since. He’s ready to up his game, test out his healing knee and take his training to the next level, but only if he can do it without the public knowing he’s trying to get back on a big team. Seeing Taylor’s training style captures his attention and he fights to hire her as his secret trainer.
So there is no doubt in my mind that I absolutely adored Taylor’s character. She’s amazing at her job but her academic insecurities really hold her back in taking it to the next level. Working with Jamal gives her so much insight into herself and her learning troubles, and I loved how Jamal supported her through the acceptance of a learning disorder that is holding her back from succeeding but can be improved with proper adjustments. I kind of really needed this storyline right now and it still makes me cry thinking about it.
Jamal is also healing from the death of his best friend that he blames himself for. His whole motivations for trying to get back to the NFL is driven by wanting to support his and Silas’ family (and to prove everyone wrong who said he’d never return). Honestly Jamal’s journey was so unexpected to me and it was a really heart-warming read. I just really loved his eventual decisions about the whole thing, they were really mature and made me fall in love with his character that little bit more.
The romance between these two is super electric – they’re made for each other and definitely bring out the best in each other. Also love how both of them come around to admitting their mistakes and that they’re quite big on communication even if it takes a while. Mostly I was just impossibly happy for the both of them by the end of the book.
Overall, The Dating Playbook is an amazing follow up to The Boyfriend Project. I loved that it still had that positive female friendship at the front and centre, and I’m so excited for London’s book that releases next year. Just want to note that there is a lot of talk of food, nutrition and fitness in this book so if you’re not in the headspace for that I’d probably not read this for now.
Have you read any books by Farrah Rochon? I highly recommend this series, it’s really wholesome.