Season’s Change by Cait Nary

A veteran hockey player and a rookie can’t get away from each other—or their own desires—in this sexy, heartfelt opposites-attract hockey romance.  

Olly Järvinen has a long way to go. He’s got a fresh start playing for a new team, but getting his hockey career back on track is going to take more than a change of scenery. He’s got to shut his past out and focus. On the game, not on his rookie roommate and his annoyingly sunny disposition—and annoyingly distracting good looks.

All Benji Bryzinski ever wanted was to play in the big leagues, and he’s not going to waste one single second of his rookie season. Yoga, kale smoothies and guided meditation help keep his head in the game. But his roommate keeps knocking him off track. Maybe it’s just that Olly is a grumpy bastard. Or maybe it’s something else, something Benji doesn’t have a name for yet.

Olly and Benji spend all their time together—on the ice, in the locker room, in their apartment—and ignoring their unspoken feelings isn’t making them go away. Acting on attraction is one thing, but turning a season’s fling into forever would mean facing the past—and redefining the future.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

CW: anxiety, depression

*I received the copy of the book in exchange for an honest review*

Season’s Change is a relatively unusual (hockey) romance – the focus on mental health of the main characters is amazing! Hockey (and sports in general) are notorious for not caring about players’ mental health much, and it is often overlooked or even judged to the point that people do not talk about it. While some places may have improved, it is still generally true. And not to mention how the book deals with other of toxic behaviour in hockey? Amazing!

Which is why I really loved all the focus on how mental health issues are talked about, and how they are dealt with. Olly, after a Very Bad season, comes to a new team – a team where the coach encourages him to do something about his mental health and who is understanding – to the point of telling Olly not to worry about making the roster, that they knew he might struggle for a while! And even telling Olly to get a therapist!

Now enter Benji, a rookie who is just a rainbowy sunshine most of the time (there are *some* exceptions), and a guy who freely admits that he has gone to the sport psychologist and even a regular psychologist! And he is ready to do anything that would make his game better. He knew hockey was his only way out of the life he and his sister had before, with irresponsible mother and … well, bad situation.

Benji is a great roommate, and a great friend to Olly, even if he doesn’t always understand why Olly is like he is! (which is partly on Olly for not sharing anything more but it is understandable). There is also Poiro, a French-Canadian who is just so OVER THE TOP DRAMATIC, but also a great friend to Olly, his second best friend on the team. He gives Benji the shovel talk, and he cares about Olly.

With his history, it is understandable why Olly struggles with team and in a way, his sexuality – he knows he is gay but he is convinced no one can know or he’d be out. Despite the fact that his coach has basically told him that wasn’t going to happen. Benji can’t understand why Olly tenses every time people call them codependent or make jokes about Olly being Benji’s “wifey”.

To be fair, Benji is just very oblivious – because hugging his teammate, sleeping in his room and his bed when they go out, is utterly normal and hetero behaviour. It’s funny to read, especially when the reader can see Benji slowly approaching the revelation but still needs his billet mom to tell him he loves Olly, after quite some time of exclusively hooking up and everything. And I love that Benji didn’t have a sexuality crisis but just accepted his bisexuality, because it fits his character!

And I really liked the sentences in “( )” because it felt perfect to show what the characters thought in addition to the text that I was reading. I like Cait Nary’s writing style and I cannot wait for the next book. The fact that this book was the author’s debut? I wouldn’t have guessed 🙂

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