Hi and howdy, welcome to my blog.
I have been struck with the overwhelming urge to go and re-read the entire Off Campus series by Elle Kennedy. It’s Tik-Toks fault. I was minding my own business, scrolling before bed and trying to avoid videos about stupid pasta-chips
(omg these videos are doing my head in!!) when I fell down a rabbit hole of Tik-Toks related to this series I already binged earlier in the year.
I refuse to re-read this series just yet, I at least need to wait ’til next year. That being said, I don’t mind binging a couple of similar stories to get it out of my system. The only problem is that I don’t know of any similar stories.
What I loved about Off Campus was the blend of sexy but also really sweet 3 dimensional relationships with compelling characters, healthy male friendships and hockey, a sport I’ve never been remotely interested in until reading those books. These things are hard to find in a book.
Thankfully, Tik-Tok caused the problem and I’m hoping they’ll fix it too because I found users who loved Off Campus and recommends semi-similar stories, so I’m going to be reading some of the recommendations I’ve come across and see what I think.
1- Offside by Avery Keelan
What made me want to read: It was pegged as “to read if you like Off Campus”. Since that’s the series I was very much in the mood to read, and the fact that it was free on Wattpad, it made all the sense to start with this one.
What I thought: Before I get started, I just want to say I’m not going to go too deep into reviewing this book. Like I said, I read it on Wattpad, and it just doesn’t feel right to me to seriously pick the book apart. If this had been written online, and then published traditionally by either the Wattpad publishing house or another, like After for example, and that’s the version I had read then that would be another story. Does that make sense? It makes sense in my own head.
That being said … I really enjoyed this book. It follows a girl called Bailey whose hockey-star boyfriend breaks up with her on her 21st birthday. Arsehole. When her friends drag her to a nightclub she meets Chase Carter, star of her schools rival hockey team. While one thing doesn’t lead to another on that particular night, they do start hanging out more and more before eventually falling for each other.
This was exactly what I needed to fill that Off Campus void in my soul. I really liked the “player becomes a total simp for his girlfriend from the moment they meet” thing it had going on as well as the communication between characters. Don’t be dissuaded by the fact that it was on Wattpad.
2- Throttled by Lauren Asher
What made me want to read: Race cars. I wish I could give you a better reason for why I picked this up next but no, it was the Grand Prix in the UK and I took that as a sign to read this one.
What I thought: It was a bit touch and go there in the beginning but I think I really liked this book. Don’t get me wrong the writing, especially the dialogue at times, was pretty cringey, but I came away having enjoyed this read.
I think what I liked so much about this book was the backdrop. We follow Maya who is following her F1 driver brother to Grand Prix’s around the world where she meets notorious racer Noah. While I wouldn’t call myself a fan of Formula 1 I’ve grown up with my dad watching it so I thought that added a cool element to the story.
Another thing I really liked about this book was the timeline of the relationship. Normally in romances the characters get together and the drama that pulls them apart comes later. That wasn’t the case. Besides a mutual attraction and casual flirting, nothing romantic really happens till over 50% of the way through the book. The drama is what keeps them apart as opposed to later breaking them.
Saying that, I loved the fact that the main love interest goes to therapy and sorts his shit out. Let me tell you, I felt proud of the book for going in that direction.
I only have two “issues” with this book. One of them is really stupid: Maya and her brother are Spanish which excited me because you never read about Spanish main characters in books like these. This made me realise that I’m glad I’ve never read a Spanish main character written by a non-Spanish author. I’ve lived in Spain since I was 10 so the inaccuracies, despite how small and irrelevant, annoyed me. This is 100% a me problem.
The second thing is just that, while the mutual attraction and flirty banter was fun to start off with, I did feel like the beginning dragged quite a bit. But like … with the way things panned out, I thought it was worth it.
There’s 4 books in this series in total. I am interested in the second book as it follows two characters from the first and seeds have already been planted, but I’m not feeling the third and forth based off the synopsis but who knows.
3- Fighting Silence by Aly Matrinez
What made me want to read: This was actually from the first recommendation video I watched. I saw it was a sports romance and from the title I could guess it was boxing, friends to lovers and had disability rep too.
What I thought: I don’t know where to start with this book. It was kinda all over the place … but I enjoyed it? I mean I read it in one day so I clearly didn’t hate it.
This book follows Eliza and Till (what a name😂) who meet as teenagers at an abandoned apartment close to where they live. This soon becomes their secrete hideaway and forge a close private friendship.
From there it’s hard to describe without spoiling because there’s a bunch of time jumps. On one hand I liked being able to follow the character through a lot of their life, but at the same time it took me out of the story a little.
My favourite plot point and element was Till and his two younger brothers. He’s the main provider and parent figure in their lives and I loved seeing his relationship with them unfold. I felt it was a really unexpected thing to find in a romance book but I liked it.
Eliza and Till as a couple were cute but frustrated me. Friends-to-lovers is always a great trope, especially when both characters are secretly pining for the other without realising the feelings are mutual.
What frustrated me though was Till. In the first half of the book, maybe a bit longer, the main conflict in their relationship is that Till won’t walk through a door. Legit. And then I just found him to be kind of possessive which I don’t really like to read about. I’ll give the book credit though because Eliza would call him out on his bullshit straight away and stood her ground during the whole “won’t walk through the door thing”.
One of the reasons I wanted to read this was for the sports-romance element, especially because it was boxing but that didn’t come into play until quite a bit later in the book which was a shame but I didn’t mind too much as I liked the story enough without it.
And finally there’s the ending of the book. One word can sum up my feelings on this ending: WHY!I don’t want to spoil anything but it would have been so much better without this action-movie twist. I get it, because it gives other characters a backstory for the sequels focusing on them but still, I was rolling my eyes big time!!
Speaking of the sequels, the second and third book each seem to follow Till’s other two brothers. Flint and Quarry where definitely a highlight for me so yeah I’m open to reading the rest of the series.
So this was a fun experience 😂😂 My Tik-Tokis genuinely a bizarre mess so I wouldn’t mind having more book-tok videos show up on my FYP.
I have a bunch of other New Adult romances from these recommendation videos so I think I may do a part 2. If you have any reccomendations too, I’d love to hear them! Thanks for reading :))