Reviews The Chase by Elle Kennedy

As I settled into my cozy reading nook, a steaming mug of tea by my side, I found myself reflecting on my recent literary journey with Elle Kennedy’s latest novel, “The Chase.” This book had been on my radar ever since I devoured Kennedy’s addictive “Off-Campus” series last year. Her ability to blend steamy romance, witty banter, and authentic college experiences left me eager to dive into her new “Briar U” series, set in the world of elite New England hockey.

“The Chase” introduces readers to Summer Heyward-Di Laurentis, a vivacious and unapologetically quirky fashion student navigating life with ADHD, and Colin “Fitz” Fitzgerald, the brooding and enigmatic captain of the Briar University hockey team. From the moment I met this unlikely pair, I was intrigued by the opposites-attract dynamic and the promise of Kennedy’s signature sizzling chemistry.

The early chapters plunged me headfirst into the colorful world of Briar U, with Summer’s unfiltered inner monologue and Fitz’s mysterious allure drawing me in. Their crackling banter and the delicious slow burn of their growing attraction had me devouring pages late into the night. Kennedy has a true gift for building sexual tension, and every heated glance and flirtatious exchange left me eagerly anticipating the moment when Summer and Fitz would finally give in to their desires.

However, as I journeyed through the middle of the book, I found the pacing began to falter. The story seemed to lose some of its initial momentum, with a few too many misunderstandings and repetitive internal monologues bogging down the narrative. There were stretches where I found myself wishing for more forward movement in the plot, for Summer and Fitz to stop dancing around their feelings and confront the undeniable connection between them.

Despite these lulls, I remained invested in the story, largely due to Kennedy’s nuanced handling of weighty topics. As someone with close family members grappling with ADHD, I was particularly moved by Summer’s struggles. Kennedy portrayed the daily frustrations and self-doubt that can come with learning disabilities with remarkable authenticity, while also highlighting Summer’s irrepressible spirit and determination to succeed on her own terms.

The book also fearlessly tackled the disturbing realities of sexual assault and toxic masculinity on college campuses. A harrowing scene in which Summer narrowly escapes being assaulted by a fellow student was visceral and unsettling, yet crucially important. It sparked thought-provoking conversations between the characters about consent, the pervasiveness of rape culture, and the vital role men must play as allies in combating these issues.

On a deeply personal level, this storyline resurfaced painful memories of my own brushes with misogyny and objectification during my college years. While these passages were emotionally challenging to read, I appreciated Kennedy using her platform to shed light on these all-too-common experiences and the lasting impact they can have on survivors.

Amid the heavier moments, “The Chase” still delivered on the steamy romance front. Once Summer and Fitz finally surrendered to their attraction, their love scenes crackled with passion and intensity. But what truly set their connection apart was the profound emotional intimacy that developed alongside the physical. Watching Fitz slowly lower his guard, sharing the painful secrets of his past and learning to trust again, was a beautiful and poignant journey.

Kennedy has a knack for surrounding her central couple with a colorful cast of supporting characters that make the world of Briar U feel warm and inviting. From Summer’s sassy British bestie Neve to the lovable hockey bros (even when their locker room talk occasionally made me cringe), I found myself wanting to spend more time with this endearing ensemble.

As I turned the final page of “The Chase,” I was left with a sense of satisfaction, even if the journey hadn’t been quite as smooth as I’d hoped. The book’s authentic exploration of ADHD, its unflinching look at the realities of sexual assault, and the heartfelt emotional arc of Summer and Fitz’s romance combined to create a thought-provoking and memorable read.

For fans of new adult romance that isn’t afraid to tackle substantive issues alongside steamy love scenes, “The Chase” is definitely worth picking up. Just be prepared for a bit of an uneven pace and some heavy subject matter amid the swoonworthy moments.

Personally, I’m excited to see where Kennedy takes this series next. The supporting cast of characters introduced in “The Chase” have me eager to continue following their stories and watch them navigate the ups and downs of college life and love at Briar U. If the next books can build on the strengths of this one while smoothing out the pacing, I have a feeling this series could become a new favorite.

In the end, “The Chase” reminded me of the power of romance novels to blend entertainment with important social commentary. It’s a book that made me laugh, made me think, and left me with a renewed appreciation for the way stories can shed light on the challenges and triumphs of the human experience. And for that, I’m grateful to have spent time in the world of Briar U, even with a few bumps along the way.

5/5 - (1 vote)

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