cover image Cleat Cute

Cleat Cute

Meryl Wilsner. Griffin, $18 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-87330-9

In this kicky sapphic soccer romance from Wilsner (Mistakes Were Made), rookie Phoebe Matthews joins the U.S. women’s national team in New Orleans to fill in for injured veteran Grace Henderson, and sparks fly as the women challenge each other both on and off the pitch. As the team prepares for the World Cup, brash Phoebe and laconic Grace enter into a teammates with benefits affair. But with the game of their lives approaching, the differences in Phoebe’s and Grace’s personalities become impossible to ignore. They must work through a series of misunderstandings if they want to get to the World Cup with their team—and their hearts—intact. For the high heat level, the romance is surprisingly wholesome, and the grumpy/sunshine dynamic between the leads is good fun. The characters’ wordy internal monologues occasionally get in the way of narratively satisfying developments, but the undeniable chemistry between the heroines does an enormous amount of heavy lifting once the story gets moving. Wilsner makes this sports romance a winner. Agent: Patrice Caldwell, New Leaf Literary. (Sept.)