Title: Running With Lions
Author: Julian Winters
Year Published: 2018
Publisher: Duet Books (imprint of Interlude Press)
Genre: Young Adult ~ Contemporary ~ LGBT+ Characters ~ Romance ~ Sports
Disclaimer: I received this e-arc through the author in exchange for a free and honest review. The image header and the quote edits used are my own and the link in the book’s details is to the book’s Goodreads page. The summary is my own (well, I summarised the Goodreads description). All opinions expressed are my own.
So there’s this high school guy named Sebastian Hughes, right? He’s also a disaster bi, the best character you can get secondhand embarassment from, a soccer player, and also a really good friend.
The book starts off with Sebastian and his two friends (Mason and Willie) attending a summer soccer camp. And they know most of the other team members, having played with a few of them before. But there’s a new team member this time – well, not new for Sebastian – as it’s actually his ex-friend (Emir Shah), and of course he doesn’t stay an ex-friend for long…
So, I first read this book…maybe 2 something years ago (as a beta reader)? And I just fell in love with it instantly – as Julian is that good of a writer (and such a good person too). So excuse me if I go on and on about how good this book and the characters are. Or rather don’t excuse me since I should be talking about how good the book is.
The thing with the really good books is that it’s difficult to say exactly why you loved them so much and why everyone should read them. I mean I could say that I just want to set up tables at literally every single bookstore in the world and just hold the book up so people will buy it (I mean, have you seen the cover?? Is it not just absolutely fantastic???).
But no, people want coherency and bullet points. Why, people, why? So I’ll try my best – with the coherency and bullet points. Or maybe just a bit of the coherency – like 2 percent coherency.
Running With Lions is a
- cute, coming-of-age story following Sebastian Hughes (who exemplifies the term disaster bi, but we love him anyway).
- He’s a part of this soccer team (Lions, hence the title).
- His team is just the best?!
Like we need more of this in books? A diverse team, with characters who care for each other and are so affectionate with each other like I just die because they’re all so cute with each other – and THIS IS WHAT WE NEED!! We’re used to seeing girls be affectionate with each other – open hugs, warm touches – but in this the guys are so loving and affectionate with each other – and we need more of this!!
The characters found in this book are the type of characters I want to see more of and even be able to write more of. These characters who truly, truly care about each other and who are funny as well as make you care about them – because I did do that – I cared a lot about these characters (which is not all that difficult to do).
Another thing that this book tackled really really well was body positivity (this was especially my favourite scene in the book) and just positivity (of himself). Sebastian had moments where he didn’t think of himself as a good soccer player or wasn’t content with himself or his body and by the end of the book he’s more positive about himself and more confident about his soccer skills. That was something that was extremely important, as so many readers feel exactly the way he does and deserve to feel good about themselves and about their skills.
Emir and Sebastian are very very cute and I just loved them together. They complented each other well and they had an easy-going romance. That’s something that I like seeing a lot of in books – where it’s clear to see why the two characters are together. Listen, we need a whole bunch of short stories that delve in deeper into the book – like I just need more of this book!
The supporting characters were some of my favourites too (I just had a lot of favourites in this book, okay). Mostly Grey, I loved anytime she was mentioned or showed up, but I thought that she could do better than Mason and I didn’t like that side of him. Like I said earlier, I liked that the team and the coach was very supportive of everyone and didn’t try to change anyone (well, just help them with their soccer, I guess). Sebastian’s mom was really cute too, and we always need more supportive parents in teen stories 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
Do I recommend this: Hell yes. Even if you don’t like sports (I don’t, can only tolerate watching a few), this is still a must-read for the characters, romance, and all-around gooey good feeling it leaves in your stomach.
P.S. : !! Do you see the cute little icons in the featured image? Just a little something I’m trying out – tell me if you like it! It might change in the next few review posts, or it might not 😁