Book: The Understatement of the Year (The Ivy Years #3) by Sarina Bowen

Genre: MM Romance, Explicit

Title: The Understatement of the Year

Author: Sarina Bowen

Release Date: 15 October 2014



Five years ago, Michael Graham betrayed the only person who ever really knew him. Since then, he’s made an art of hiding his sexuality from everyone. Including himself.

So it’s a shock when his past strolls right into the Harkness College locker room, sporting a bag of hockey gear and the same slow smile that had always rendered Graham defenseless. For Graham, there is only one possible reaction: total, debilitating panic. With one loose word, the team’s new left wing could destroy Graham’s life as he knows it.

John Rikker is stuck being the new guy. Again. And it’s worse than usual, because the media has latched onto the story of the only “out” player in Division One hockey. As the satellite trucks line the sidewalk outside the rink, his new teammates are not amused.

And one player in particular looks sick every time he enters the room.

Rikker didn’t exactly expect a warm welcome from Graham. But the guy won’t even meet his eyes. From the looks of it, his former… best friend / boyfriend / whatever isn’t doing so well. He drinks too much and can’t focus during practice.

Either the two loneliest guys on the team will self destruct from all the new pressures in their lives, or they can navigate the pain to find a way back to one another. To say that it won’t be easy is the Understatement of the Year.

What I Liked:

One of my favorite things in any romance ever is a secret relationship followed by a super dramatic relationship reveal.  This book handles that bit amazingly well.  There’s angst followed by connection followed by angst followed by OMGWTF trauma followed by OMGWTF secret relationship is revealed to all!  Basically, it’s amazing.  If that’s a trope that you enjoy, I highly recommend this book.

Also, it’s a gay hockey romance novel, so if you like those, then you’re awesome then you’ll probably read any gay hockey romance that you can get your hands on.  And this is one of the better ones in terms of writing, length (as in, it’s not 60 pages long, ugh!), and actually containing hockey and not just hockey players.

What I Didn’t:

I like angst, but Graham’s self-loathing was a bit much for me.  I know that there are people who are super twisted up inside about being gay, but it can get really depressing/frustrating to read about.  Reading romance novels is one of the main ways that I distract myself from my own problems (including crippling anxiety and depression), so I don’t especially love when my romance is features a character who is even more fucked up then I am.


There will never be enough gay hockey romances in the world to satisfy my need for them, and this is a good addition to the genre.  I like that this book focuses on college hockey, rather than professional hockey, which makes it a bit different.  I really like the connection and relationship between the main couple, and the supporting characters were fun and interesting enough that I might just go and check out their stories as well.  The angst and internalized homophobia got to be a bit much for my taste, but I enjoyed the characters, romance, and (of course) the relationship reveal enough that I could definitely see myself reading this book again sometime in the future.

My Rating: 3.5/5


2 thoughts on “Book: The Understatement of the Year (The Ivy Years #3) by Sarina Bowen

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