I really enjoyed the first two books in the Gridiron series by Jen Frederick, and I was excited for Downed. I did worry about whether or not I would like Ace after seeing him in the previous book, but honestly that wasn't a problem here at all. While I did like him and parts of this book, I will admit that I had mixed feelings overall. While I didn't dislike this story, I didn't love it.
After losing the trust of his coach, Ace is sent to a new school despite the fact that he helped them win big. But his reputation precedes him at his new school and his new teammates aren't quick to warm up to him. Unfortunately for him though, the one person who actually appears to want to help him is his new coach's daughter, and the last person that he should be drawn to. But Ace finds himself unable to fight what he is feeling for Bryant. Bryant has spent the last few years reforming bad boys and transforming them into the kind of guys girls want for their boyfriends. But Ace may be her biggest challenge yet, and soon she begins to wonder if she will be able to avoid falling for him.
I liked Ace as I said, but I will admit that I struggled with Bryant. I found her annoying at times and her "projects" were just unrealistic and too out there for me to really buy. She also came off as full of herself and really self-centered which made it hard for me to connect to her. Ace's exploits were a bit unrealistic as well, and he was the definition of a manwhore before Bryant. It was good to see him turning over a new leaf though and I thought he made a lot of progress here. These two did have chemistry despite the issues I had, and I did like them for one another.
Overall, this was my least favorite book of the series so far, but I did enjoy parts of it. Besides the issues I had with Bryant, I did feel at times that the pacing was off here. It felt slow and boring and there were quite a few places that seemed to drag to me. I wanted to skim and didn't feel 100% invested in the story. I think all of those things are sort of connected though, and if I had been able to like Bryant more I think that might have changed my opinion of everything here. I liked a lot of the secondary characters here though, especially Ace's teammates. We were introduced to some new faces here that I would definitely be interested in getting to know better. This won't be the last I read from Jen Frederick, but it wasn't her best in my opinion.
**ARC Provided by Bocci PR**