Role Model by Rachel Reid

Troy Barrett has been freshly traded to Ottawa after calling out Dallas Kent during a team practice. He wants to be a better person, and the weird, scrappy energy of the struggling Ottawa team seems like the place to…well. It seems like the only place that will have Troy right now.

Fortunately the Ottawa team includes Ilya Rozanov and Wyatt Hayes, and also includes an adorable social media manager, Harris Drover. Harris is the opposite of Troy in every way: friendly, cheerful, chatty, and goofy with a booming voice, a startlingly loud laugh, and Pride pins all over his denim jacket. Definitely not the sort of person Troy would normally associate with, and yet…

Rating: 5 out of 5.

*I received advanced copy of the book*

TWs: Discussion of sexual assault (no actual assault depicted), homophobia, crappy parents, crappy people not believing victims of sexual assault, near death experience

I love this book so much, I don’t even know how to start the review other than just…Yelling how much I love it. I’ve reread it several times since I got the copy and it has definitely become my second favourite in the series, right behind Heated Rivalry. That book is definitely my comfort book, but Role Model is pretty close and also in a “comfort read” category.

I was a bit worried before reading the book because Troy has been such a dickbag in Tough Guy and sometimes redemption stories are…. Not Great. But I trusted the author would do it well and she did. Troy is not just expecting forgiveness, he is expecting being hated by the people who hated Dallas Kent for being a total asshole and a Really Bad Guy. He is aware of his shortcomings and he doesn’t expect people would forgive him just because he called out Kent. I was especially impressed by the scene where he apologises to Ryan and expects no forgiveness or anything.

He left quickly without a glance back, which Troy couldn’t blame him for. He was glad he’d gotten a chance to apologize, but he didn’t expect Ryan to want to talk to him for any longer than he needed to.

Troy is working hard on himself and to improve and he does his best to correct the errors he made in the past. I just…. cannot get over how much I love Troy now and how much I just want to hug him, wrap him in a blanket and give him salmon (if you’ve read the book you get this, if you haven’t…you should, it is HILARIOUS).

Despite the fact that book deals with extremely serious topics, it is INCREDIBLY funny and it had made me laugh so so many times. It also features Ilya in just enough dose to make him present and important character, but not so much that he overtakes the story. I adore Ilya scenes and they are often very hilarious but I also love how, despite initial dislike, he warms up to Troy and even drags him out to his FIRST GAY BAR (the Kingfisher).

As for Harris… I don’t think I have ever read the character that was SO SO SUNSHINEY. He is loud, unapologetic, honest, open… All that Troy isn’t but all that he needs. And the gay apple farmer thing with the badge…I melted several times. As team social media manager he is apparently more involved in the team activities than it is normal but with his character? It makes total sense. I just adored him SO MUCH and I also want to wrap him in a blanket and get him a cake pop.

My heart melted several times during the book (such as with Ursula the cat, and Troy’s mother and…) and I have about half the book highlighted by now I think. I am so so excited for the next book to see what Ilya and Shane are going through but Troy and Harris are just after Ilya and Shane and I… I just love this book and cannot stop yelling about it.

(Special thanks to @drartemysia because the only thing that is better than a great book is reading a great book with your friend and yelling about it all 🙂 )

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