Review: 'From the Sideline' by Amy Avanzino (2016)
After losing her marriage, life savings, and waistline, Autumn Kovac is terrified of being hit by more heartache. So when her only child decides to try out for the football team, the overprotective, sports-illiterate mom has a near phobic reaction. But Zachary hasn’t smiled since his father left, and she’s desperate to make him happy (and doing nothing and hoping for the best hasn’t been working). She reluctantly enters a new world of youth competitive sports, full of overzealous coaches with Vince Lombardi dreams and fanatical parents trying to achieve vicarious glory.
Unexpectedly, Autumn begins transforming within this strangely addictive new culture, finding her voice, facing her past, tackling her fears…and uncovering the secret that’s been keeping her from her son. After meeting her ideal catch, she finds herself back in the dating game and discovers some fierce competition of her own. Will Autumn make it off the sideline? Can the underdog finally win?
Last year I read and reviewed Amy Avanzino's first novel of her 'Wake-Up Call' series, titled 'Wake-Up Call', and it was a book I really enjoyed (click here to read my review). This week, on the 19th of July to be exact, the second instalment of the series was released by Henery Press, namely 'From the Sideline.' I was contacted by Amy herself with the question of whether I would be up for reviewing her newest book within its release week and I was more than happy to lend a hand and help out!
As a single mother, Autumn Kovac knows how challenging it can be to raise a child all by yourself. She wants nothing more for her ten-year-old son Zachary than for him to be happy, especially since he's had a rough time without his father. But when Zachary decides he wants to join the local football team, Autumn isn't too sure. Football, or sports in general, isn't really her thing and she's afraid the world might be a bit too competitive for her and Zachary. She decides to give it a chance, though, and before she knows it she's not just learning how to appreciate sports, but learning a lot of things about herself and Zachary as well.
‘From the Sideline’ is the second part of Amy Avanzino’s ‘Wake-Up Call’ series, but at the same time a book that can definitely be read as a stand-alone. Except for a familiar face here and there, the story stands by itself and doesn’t need any prior background knowledge. The novel focuses mainly on single mum Autumn Kovac and her son Zachary, who desperately wants to start playing football. It took me a bit of time to warm to Autumn and her overprotective behaviour towards her son, but as the story progressed and I learned more about Autumn, her ex-husband and her background, I really felt as if I got to know her better and understood why she made certain decisions. It was also easy to like ten-year-old Zachary, who is overall just a great kid.
I have to admit I personally know absolutely nothing about football and it plays quite an important role in this book. While I do feel there could have been slightly less football description and more dialogue between the characters, the main focus of the story really is motherhood and the importance of family. Even though I’m not a mother myself, I can imagine this read is quite realistic and numerous readers will be able to relate to Autumn and her struggles. Overall, I think ‘From the Sideline’ is a captivating and realistic book that once again shows author Amy Avanzino’s writing skills, and is a worthwhile second instalment of this series!