Book Review: The Thirteenth Chance by Amy Matayo

Another great novel from my new favourite publisher

Amazon Description

Baseball star Will Vandergriff knows any number of women who would happily pretend to be his girlfriend. In a last-ditch effort to restore his good standing with his team’s higher-ups, he enlists the help of his neurotic, goody-goody neighbor. Schoolteacher Olivia Pratt might be a bit quirky and a bit of a loner, but she’s a lot more inviting than she knows. Will hopes that bringing her to his next game might revamp his reckless reputation and help get his career back on track. The only problem? The plan works a little too well. Not only do the higher-ups love Olivia, but Will plays his best game yet. Suddenly his losing streak is a thing of the past, and Olivia is his new good-luck charm. Will feels anything but lucky.

After years of keeping the world at bay, Olivia Pratt is pulling off the ultimate performance—not only reluctantly posing as Will’s girlfriend but also insisting that she’s oblivious to his major-league appeal. But she can only lie to herself for so long. Being by Will’s side feels good. Really good. Maybe it’s finally time to make a pitch for everything she really wants—and to find out just how exhilarating love can be.

My Review

The Thirteenth Chance is written in first person, from the points of view of Will and Olivia. That’s an interesting choice—most books I read are in third person point of view, and a lot of readers prefer that. Also, few authors can pull off alternative first person viewpoints (the worst have both characters sounding exactly the same).

But Amy Matayo can and does, and I liked it. Using first person gave an insight into both Olivia and Will’s personalities. Olivia has issues. Big issues. She grew up feeling second-best, because her brother was an up-and-coming baseball star, and everything the family did came behind his sport commitments. But something happened, she no longer speaks to her brother, her father abandoned them, and she has an everlasting hatred of baseball and everything associated with it. Which doesn’t bode well for her relationship with Will, her new next-door neighbour.

Will has issues as well, although his are perhaps a little more predictable. He’s a lad, who keeps getting media attention for the wrong (female) reasons, who isn’t playing well, and who needs to clean up his game (in more ways than one). Enter Olivia, the perfect temporary girlfriend …

Several people have recommended Amy Matayo to me.

They were all right. Her writing is excellent—she’s funny and clever and all those things I like in contemporary fiction. Her characters are real people with real problems, who grow and change as the novel progresses. The story was engaging and moved along at a good pace with no slow patches. Overall, it was close to perfect.

In fact, the only thing missing for me was the Christian aspect.

Although The Thirteenth Chance is published by Waterfall Press, Amazon’s Christian imprint, there was no faith aspect to the novel at all. This isn’t necessarily a weakness, but if you’re looking for fiction with a Christian thread or theme, then The Thirteenth Chance isn’t it. But if you’re looking for a fun contemporary romance with no sex or bad language, give this a chance.

Recommended for fans of authors like Christa Allen, Sally Bradley, Tammy L Gray and Tammy L Gray.

Thanks to Waterfall Press and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

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