Review: Role Model (Game Changers #5) by Rachel Reid

Troy Barrett has been freshly traded to Ottawa after calling out Dallas Kent during a team practice. He wants to be a better person, and the weird, scrappy energy of the struggling Ottawa team seems like the place to...well. It seems like the only place that will have Troy right now.

Fortunately the Ottawa team includes Ilya Rozanov and Wyatt Hayes, and also includes an adorable social media manager, Harris Drover. Harris is the opposite of Troy in every way: friendly, cheerful, chatty, and goofy with a booming voice, a startlingly loud laugh, and Pride pins all over his denim jacket. Definitely not the sort of person Troy would normally associate with, and yet…

I'm not EVEN going to perpetrate. I'm a smitten kitten when it comes to this series, so I may not be the most objective when it comes to it. I find even the ones that aren't as strong still fall in the comfort read category due to this Game Changer world that keeps hearts consistently in my eyes. Honestly, I barely read let alone review anymore mostly because almost everything I pick up I'm bored by or a I feel like I've read before but Role Model made me want to read again. For the first time in a loooooooonnnnnnnggggg time I wanted to be with Troy and Harris more than I wanted to binge watch whatever, so thank you Rachel Reid and Carina Press.

The reason I enjoyed this read so much was these characters. I'm a character person and we have two strong characters in Troy and Harris plus the ringer-Chiron. HAHA! I bet you thought I was going to say Ilya. To be fair, Ilya and Chiron do have some adorable moments together. Plus, Reid always does a great job sprinkling in the team dynamics that never fail to bring the levity and are what I crave from sports romance. But that last game scene will stick with my squishy marshmallow heart for some time to come. ❤️🏳️‍🌈🏒

I love stories of redemption and Troy Barrett needs to be redeemed like nobody's business. Because J.E.R.K. Don't get me wrong, I sympathize with his trying to mask his sexuality behind an aggressive, intimidating, bullying mask but just being sorry about his behaviors doesn't absolve him of the hurt he caused. The great thing about this story is Troy realizes this but not fully until he begins spending time with a literal chirpy, out and proud, ray of sunshine in Harris. This, of course, checks off another thing I love in my romances: protagonists being good for each other.

Harris is happiest when everyone is happy. He would rather see the good in people than the bad. He enjoys or tries his damndest to enjoy every minute of his life. He makes lemonade out of ALL the citrus fruits and that sort of extroverted optimism is infectious and even a little tractor beamish for some. Troy finds himself in Harris' company sometimes not even knowing how he got there until he decides he likes being there and begins finding reasons to do so.

He just has to decide he's comfortable there which is a bigger ask. There are some communication issues but they made sense to me when paired with Troy's perspective and past, plus the payoff is so worth it because once Troy comes into his own he's SPLENDID! He has that dry sense of humor that makes me bark with laughter. As a matter of fact, I have a feeling if he put his mind to it he could give Ilya a run for his money in the one-liner department.

As you might have guessed, Role Model is more of a slow burn which worked for me given the closetedness and Troy's general self-image but there is one tongue-slap-your-brains-out sex scene coupled with nuclear levels of UST and a heaping dose of relationship development making for a winning recipe for me. 

So if you enjoy opposites attract romances that are hockey forward with an adorable puppy Role Model is another winner in the Game Changer series that you could conceivably read as a standalone but why would you want to do that?

An ARC was provided by Carina Press in exchange for an honest review.

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