What's better than another great featured review from the hardworking review team here on GA? When it's about one of my fellow admins (you're reading that right, if you missed that Graeme is now stuck on our unruly team) that members might not know is also an accomplished author with a very popluar sporty epic. Sound intriguing? Check out Timothy's review we've been keeping under wraps to surprise @Graeme with today!
Reviewer: Timothy M.
Word Count: 821,737
Would you like to meet a team of hunky Australian footballers? If so, then Graeme’s Lilydale Leopards series is the perfect place to go. You’ll experience plenty of game action and footy skills, but no intimate bedroom stuff. Graeme’s writing never goes beyond kissing and cuddles. However, since most of the guys are straight, perhaps that’s OK? As for the locker room and shower scenes you’ll have to use your imagination.
Of course, there’s an exception to the rule — the gay footballer— who makes the story even more interesting. In the first book, Leopard Skin Cover, ‘Ken’ is deep in the closet, mainly due to the lack of acceptance in the macho sport of Australian Rules football. He knows his chances of advancing to AFL, the major league, would be hampered by coming out. On the other hand, staying in the closet has several disadvantages, one of which is being unable to date Tony, the new marketing employee of the Leopards club. Another problem is the stress of pretending he’s straight to everybody around him, something many GAreaders can probably relate to.
The sequels, Leopard Spots and Leopards Leap, are just as well written and the full story explores not only relevant themes of friendship, bullying, and bigotry, but also the striving for achievement and acceptance. I’ve returned to the series several times to spend time with the friends I’ve made there. The core group of team members and supporters, both staff and fans, are described and shown in such caring and fun ways that we readers engage ourselves in their lives and fortunes as if we know them personally. We cheer, groan, laugh, gasp, and keep our fingers crossed for the success of the Lilydale Leopards, and some of us occasionally rant at the stupidity of various characters. 😊
Don’t be put off by the sports setting. I had no knowledge about Australian football, but Graeme seamlessly weaves the information into the story. The training, games, and constant need for sponsors and winning strategies provide a rich background for the main story arcs. This is a tale with passion, drama, sadness, and joy, as well as love and the kind of loyal friends we all wish for. Well, maybe except for Alex. Once you’ve become part of the Lilydale Leopards family you’ll never forget them, or in the words of another devoted fan:
Defiance19: Thank you for creating this family of football players whom we came to know as friends. For sharing their lives, and telling their story. We loved them, shared their pain, celebrated their highs, suffered their lows and everything in between.
Take your time to savor the first three books and join the rest of us in the ongoing Book 4. See you there.
Category: Fiction Genres: Drama, Romance Tags: young adult, Australia, no sex, coming out, psychology, sports, friendship Rating: Teen