I was really excited to be contacted by author Amy Avanzino back in April, asking if I could review her second novel “From the Sideline” (second in the Wake-Up Call series). Of course I said YES! because I enjoyed her first novel so much. You can read my Wake-Up Call book review or order directly from Amazon
“From the Sideline” was released on July 19th and is published by Henery Press. While it’s part of a “series”, it’s not the type of series where you need to start with book #1 and continue through in chronological order. Instead, the “Wake-Up Call” series is more of a concept, featuring unique characters and storylines for each book. I love that idea!
“From the Sideline” features Autumn Kovac, a single mom to 10 year old Zachary. As much as she tries to shield Zachary from being hurt, emotionally and physically, there’s nothing she can do when Zachary decides to try out for a community football team “The Knights”. With all the aggressiveness of an NHL football team, ‘The Knights’ excel at making young footballers mentally and physically tough. Suddenly, Autumn is immersed into a world she had never experienced before, with tough-fighting moms, and take all the punches dads, parents who WANT their children to be fighting footballers. Autumn prefers to think of herself as a peace-loving mom, but soon she finds herself changing (in a good way).
Self-deprecating Autumn clearly doesn’t think much of herself and instead chooses to describe herself in negative ways for the reader. It’s hard not to feel badly for her, especially when she goes on date nights – as the fifth wheel – with her friends and their husbands (pretty funny though!). But early on in the novel I had high hopes that things would change for the better for her.
As a mom, I could definitely relate to Autumn’s dreams and concerns for her son, Zachary. I totally got her hesitation regarding her son playing football – it’s not as huge of a game here in Canada (thought we have a football league, the CFL) – and the rough exercises she witnesses during Zachary’s practices is enough to cause panic and anxiety attacks. However, it seems like the more seasoned parents are used to it and find her attachment to her son unnecessary. It also doesn’t help Zachary’s image as a mediocre player (though he has a ton of drive!).
With the help of friends Lainey and Sarah, Autumn is able to relax and participate more and more as the football practices wear on. As well, Autumn as the attention of both the President of the football league (Jamie) and an EMT who stays on site at the football field should a player get hurt.
It was fun to see if my theory about who Autumn ends up with worked out, or if there would be a romance in her future at all. I really liked that this book was about improving her life (and that of her son’s) and breaking free from her rocky relationship past. Autumn was a relatable character and could easily be your neighbour next door.
‘From the Sideline’ was the perfect follow-up to ‘Wake-Up Call’. It had similar elements but the story went in a completely different direction. Moving forward and growing as a person was the theme here, something that many of us are continuously striving to do.
GIVEAWAY: Amy Avanzino has generously offered prizes of her two ebook titles. Enter below for your chance to win! Good luck! (CAN/US)
About the Author: Amy Avanzino received a Bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley and a Master’s from the University of Washington. She is a former special education teacher who has spent the last several years writing and doing extensive hands-on research for her Wake-Up Series, the first of which is Wake-Up Call. She’s a contributing writer of Hap Scotch, a play performed at the 2008 Frigid Festival in New York, which won two Audience Choice Awards. Amy currently lives in the stands above the football fields, basketball courts, and baseball diamonds around Folsom, California with her husband and four children. Visit her at http://www.AmyAvanzino.com.