Title: You Could Make a Life
Author: Taylor Fitzpatrick
Length: 202 Pages
Category: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
At a Glance: This New Adult romance is sincere, its emotional quotient is substantial, and the heart and humor Fitzpatrick infuses throughout is abundant. Her storytelling is so natural, never feeling forced, and her dialogue is equal to the task of relaying the story and defining her characters’ personalities.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: The first thing Dan says to him is, “we’re in the NHL!”, because that’s how he’s been greeting anyone wearing a jersey, and Marc Lapointe, ‘the future of the franchise’, is wearing Dan’s colours.
“I think you’re my new best friend,” Dan says, his excitement beating out common sense, social filters, the need to play it cool.
“It is nice to meet you, new best friend,” Marc says, his mouth twitching.
In hindsight, Dan probably falls in love with him in that moment, Marc laughing at him and with him all at once, but it takes a little while to figure that out.
Review: Taylor Fitzpatrick is an obvious hockey fan, if her two published novels (which I believe were originally posted on AO3) are anything to go by. Her second book, Thrown Off the Ice, is a gorgeous tragic romance that confronts the brutal truths and heartbreaking consequences of traumatic brain injuries sustained over years on the ice. You Could Make a Life, her first self-pub, couldn’t diverge further from that subject if it tried, and though it may be dramatically different in tone, it is no less lovely in content. It’s the story of two teenagers who make it to the NHL, drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs, and find varying degrees of professional success along the way. It is the story of how they manage to fall deeply in love, face the challenges of being openly gay in a professional sport, and cope with being separated for weeks, even months at a time, during the season. Fitzpatrick manages to deal with the weighty subjects of fidelity and the imperative of communication in their relationship, with heart and humor. And, managed to charm the hell out of me in the process.
Marc Lapointe may be a prodigy on the ice, but personally he’s a bit of a square peg/round hole kind of guy when it comes to fitting in with his teammates. He’s a transplant from Montreal who reads Camus for fun, and watches movies with subtitles, which means the only thing he and Dan have in common, really, is their love of hockey. But that commonality—and the fact that they love each other—is all they need. It didn’t come easy to them, though. Dan was terrified of the repercussions he’d face if it were to be discovered he’s gay, not to mention what Marc’s response would be to that revelation, and so Dan had begun a slow unravelling that would have seen him kicked off the team—and maybe even out of the league—if Marc hadn’t been covering for Dan on the nights he broke curfew and then returned to their shared hotel rooms reeking of liquor and sex. There is a final straw, though, and when Marc finally confronts Dan about it, it becomes both the tipping and turning point in their relationship.
Living in a fishbowl world, where everyone has a camera, and photos are shared on social media with immediacy and regularity, it doesn’t take long for Marc and Dan to be caught in a compromising position—even if it is just an innocent kiss, and even if they were captured in the photo by accident, hovering in the background, and even if the lighting and angle were both poor enough that only Dan was recognizable. The incident instigates the first bout of conflict in their relationship when they decide, independent of each other, how the situation should be handled. Dan lies about the identity of the guy he was kissing, and Marc comes out and admits it was him. While it’s the first, but not the last, time they’ll decide what to do and how to handle something without talking to each other first, it opens up the door for learning about the importance of communication and taking each other into consideration.
While Dan and Marc don’t get everything right in the beginning—they both make mistakes that could have tanked their relationship, including Dan nearly committing relationship suicide when he’s a little drunk, and a lot feeling sorry for himself, and his ex is right there when Marc is hundreds of miles away—they get the important stuff right, and they grow up together, from eighteen-year-old rookies to twenty-two year old men who work to find love and balance while fulfilling the dream of playing the sport they live and breathe. This New Adult romance is sincere, its emotional quotient is substantial, and the heart and humor Fitzpatrick infuses throughout is abundant. Her storytelling is so natural, never feeling forced, and her dialogue is equal to the task of relaying the story and defining her characters’ personalities. Friendship and family both play an integral role in the success of the story, and in Dan and Marc’s relationship, and it all comes together in a celebration of them not only finding but committing to keep each other long into their happily ever after.
You can buy You Could Make a Life here:
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