“Trust me, I’ve wanted to punch you in the face a time or five.”
When the man you worshipped as a kid becomes your coach, it’s supposed to be the greatest thing in the world. Keywords: supposed to.
It didn’t take a week for 27-year-old Sal Casillas to wonder what she’d seen in the international soccer icon – why she’d ever had his posters on her wall or ever envisioned marrying him and having super-playing soccer babies.
Sal had long ago gotten over the worst non-break-up in the history of imaginary relationships with a man who hadn’t known she’d existed. So she isn’t prepared for this version of Reiner Kulti who shows up to her team’s season: a quiet, reclusive shadow of the explosive, passionate man he’d once been.
Genre: Contemporary Romance; Adult Fiction; Sports
Page count: 570 (Kindle Edition)
Year of publication: 2015
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (3.5/5)
Without even realising, I’ve had a rom-com binge-reading month that I haven’t planned but I thoroughly enjoyed, which is weird coming from me, but I am not apologetic in any way. These books kept me alive this month and that’s it.
I am actually very pleased to say that I also ended my month in style – with Kulti by Mariana Zapata.
I mean, please.
I – an occasional die-hard football fan who just discovered her passion for good romantic comedy – to sleep on this?
Sis, not on my watch.
About Zapata I’ve heard a couple of times and I was not convinced that I would ever pick up one of her books. But this one begged to differ. Because I picked it up and I actually enjoyed it.
This book had a very interesting topic that I don’t really read about – sports. More specifically – football (or soccer, how you prefer).
There is more of this book than its sports-related topic and the fact that it was supposed to be some romantic little story happening there. There are some issues exposed that some might not know of or care about. But on some level, I do.
Everyone loses their shit when it comes to football players. More specifically, male football players. They are some sort of gods walking this earth and everyone feels the need to invade their privacy and to make a legend out of them – two talented feet and a black and white ball. People throw money at them like confetti because of that.
Yeah, there’s nothing wrong with that (at some degree). I do enjoy watching football and I am carried away every time there is a major competition because I am terribly competitive and I had the so-to-say luck to grow up kicking the ball around with my male cousins. I do enjoy the sport, let’s be clear.
But. I am not the biggest fan of this apotheosis when it comes to football players. I mean, it really takes hard work and talent and a lot of sacrifices to get there, but isn’t that the case with all of the other sports? Not a single sport out there is easy to perform on a rand scale so why kicking the ball around is worth more money? And especially, why is it like this only for men?
(Keep in mind that I don’t attack anyone here, I am just trying to understand how things work and I seem to think that rhetorical questions help me)
Women play football too. And damn well, I might add. So why is it that women are trashed like that, not taken seriously as real athletes and paid “enough” to force them to take another job to pay their taxes?
Well, this is one of the issues in this book and the story behind a woman who plays professional football – Sal Casillas – and this book’s Fußballgott, Sal’s idol, Reiner Kulti.
Also, it isn’t only about how poorly treated Sal is here, but it is also about what fame has to bring to someone like Kulti. It is not pretty either.
It is interesting to follow though, if you ask me.
Sal and Kulti’s relationship is actually really credible. Everything is taken step by step, the friendship is clearly outlined first and then, by the end, everything falls neatly into place. A bit too conveniently, a small cynical part of me wants to say. But it feels like a nice dream (that we all have at one point – you know, that wild dream that you almost not dare think about but secretly, deeply wish for) that just comes true. And to hell with all, I am a sucker for nice dreams that come true! Good people deserve their wishes answered, even if they are spoken only inside their hearts!
Sure, Sal is just too amazing for her own good and Kulti is a total cocky asshole – a bit too possessive – but they actually fit together so well I just can’t help but cheer for them. Zapata really made a neat job with those two.
Sure, there were certain aspects that bothered me a bit, one of them being that it took me too much to actually get into the storyline and another being the fact that sometimes everything happening felt a tiny bit too surreal.
But you know what made up for everything? Sal’s relationship with her dad. I mean, her dad is such a mood and he is amazing and I loved seeing a strong father-daughter relationship in a book. It is worth millions, I am telling you.
For my seventh contemporary romance novel in a month, this was mildly rom, mildly com, and thoroughly enjoyable. I am glad I picked it up!