cover image How You Get the Girl

How You Get the Girl

Anita Kelly. Forever, $16.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-5387-5491-7

Kelly’s cozy, standalone queer sports romance finds East Nashville High women’s basketball coach Julie Parker surprised by a late addition to the team—and even more shocked to discover that the new girl’s foster parent is Julie’s teen idol, former WNBA player Elle Cochrane. When Elle offers to co-coach the Bobcats, Julie eagerly agrees. The women soon bond, with Elle even offering to help Julie figure out her fledgling queer identity in light of her lack of dating experience. Two established queer couples—Julie’s nonbinary twin, London, and their fiancée Dahlia, the protagonists of Love & Other Disasters, and best friend Ben and his fiancé, the heroes of Something Wild & Wonderful—function as role models for Julie’s personal growth. Meanwhile, interactions between the teens and their coaches add authenticity and heart. Readers will appreciate how Kelly sidesteps the power dynamics of a typical celebrity romance, and though the connection between the leads is more emotional and cuddly than hot and heavy, there’s definitely some chemistry both on the court and off. Julie and Elle’s exploratory slow dive into intimacy keeps the pages turning. Agent: Kim Lionetti, BookEnds. (Feb.)