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Delicate by Sarah Sanders

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Gosh! What a beautiful romance! Sports romance with the most gorgeous MCs. Valentina Gonz├ílez was a promising tennis playe...

All the Paths to You by Morgan Lee Miller

⭐⭐⭐☆

Second chances. Also the second book with Kennedy Reed and Quinn Hughes.

Quinn Hughes is a professional swimmer. Almost since childhood, her life has always revolved only around swimming and a pursuit of one (or more) Olympic Gold. Yet, in high school, she had managed to find an utterly gorgeous girlfriend in her erstwhile best friend, Kennedy Reed.

The first book, All the Worlds Between Us, itself was a kind of second chances for this pair when they had got together in high school. In the first book, as one of the popular girls in school, Kennedy wasn’t out but her love and passion for Quinn was undeniable. That however didn’t end well when Quinn refused to give Kennedy any leeway or a second chance. Quinn rejecting Kennedy with a vague pact of “after five years” at the end of the first book was devastating.

All the Paths to You is five years thence.

Quinn is leading swimmer with multiple awards. She is readying herself for the Tokyo Olympics. At twenty-three her shelf-life in competitive swimming is reaching its end date and despite all her trophies, the Olympic Gold in solo events is still eluding her. As Quinn reaches the last stretch of her training regime for Tokyo, she hears from Kennedy who is in town (San Francisco) for her brother’s wedding. Kennedy is pursuing her degree in journalism in New York so being in the West Coast is unexpected. They agree to meet and spend time together. Quinn takes this as “paths crossing after five years” and while she is determined to not get diverted from her Olympic pursuit, she also wants to see what can happen between her and a more-than-willing-and-interested Kennedy.

While the lead couple is the same in both the books and their past is referred to often enough in this book, it can be read standalone.

The book is narrated in first person from Quinn’s PoV. She wasn’t particularly likeable in the first book and doesn’t get much better in this one. On the other hand, Kennedy is perfect – the perfect friend, the perfect girlfriend, the perfect human. We’re not sure why such perfection should be coupled with a borderline jerk, but well, the author is the God of the world they create. To be fair, while in the first half of the book, Quinn was a jerk, she did manage to redeem herself (only somewhat) in the second half.

One interesting thing that Miller brings up is the adrenaline crash after achieving what one sets out to get. While Quinn was chasing the Gold, she had reason and fervour. However, in the aftermath of achieving her dream, she is adrift. This is a little recognised and seldom acknowledged truth. Which is why many people suffer from a fear or success. Quinn’s internal struggles and external manifestation were very well-handled. We are particularly grateful that she didn’t turn obnoxious, cruel and hurtful towards Kennedy in this period.

Quinn relationship with Kennedy is also rather revealing. It showcases how a person (Quinn in this case) can be totally into another person and yet be completely self-involved, absolutely selfish with and unforgivably neglectful of the person they claim to love. It is there in all the ways Kennedy has been there for and with Quinn since they were seven and in how little Quinn understands Kennedy’s struggles with her frequent moves in her growing up years, in the fact Quinn never reaches out to Kennedy (it is always the other way round), in how Quinn feels it is okay for her to have slept with a competitor during the Tokyo Olympics because Kennedy didn’t text her for a couple of days and have the audacity to take the moral high ground about it. On the other hand, Quinn is expansive in lavishing her love via material gifts which seems to be her way of loving. Theirs is an uneven relationship when it comes to emotional maturity and the willingness to go out on a limb. But Kennedy (sadly) seems to have signed up for it willingly.

While the story is a lot about life-beyond-achieving-ambition and Quinn getting ahold of herself again, the relationship trajectory is equally important.

Miller is an excellent writer who writes immersive books that evoke strong feelings. And we’re happy to say that this is the first book by this author that didn’t rip us apart, so we’d recommend it.

⭐⭐⭐☆

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