The Other Game by J. Sterling

“Relationships aren’t easy but the right ones are worth the work.”

The Other Game

Blurb via Goodreads:

You thought you knew everything there was to know about Jack & Cassie’s love story… but you were wrong. 

The Perfect Game from Dean Carter’s point of view is here.

Even before the release of The Other Game, readers have been disclosed of what it will be about. Time and again, Jenn Sterling would remind her readers that The Other Game is a Dean Carter POV of The Perfect Game. To prepare myself, I kept chanting over and over that it will most likely be the same story but from another perspective. Yes, the story would already be familiar. Yes, we already know the characters. Yes, we already knew of what happened and how things turned out. Yes, I might want to bash Jack’s head against a wall again. Yes, I might want to hug and console and yell at Cassie. But no, we never really knew how Dean felt all those time, what was going on his mind and how deeply he was really affected by everything that happened.

The truth is, I didn’t care at all.

I just wanted more of my Carter brothers.

Reading this however proved one thing, Dean really is the smarter brother.

And like what Dean said, it’s a great day to be a Carter fan.

“You’re both so screwed up alone that together you’re like the perfect mess.” 

I have said before that I am not that huge of a fan of retellings. What made The Other Game so different then? For me, it felt like being away for so long and going home to familiar people I have missed and haven’t seen in quite a while. Three years is a hell of a long time, mind you. This novel is special because the retelling is from a third party in the Jack-Cassie relationship. It is not the typical male-female POVs that we got used to reading. It felt like we are finally putting pieces of what we never knew in The Perfect Game and the story has now taken a multi-dimensional twist.

“It scared me to think that Jack and Cassie were moving apart, instead of coming together where they belonged.”

Reading The Other Game made me re-evaluate my feelings on the Jack-Cassie love story. I never really gave it much thought before, but now, seeing everything through Dean’s eyes made me realize that it was a domino effect after all. The Jack-Cassie fallout not only affected Jack and Cassie per se but everyone within their immediate and intimate circle were damaged as well. Lives were affected more than they ever knew. The Carter brothers’ relationship was depicted with more depth in this novel and while most characters have a best friend or a sister, it’s nice to read about the close bond brothers have. I adore the way Dean looks up to his brother, how he is protective and loyal, and how he always looks out for Jack. It was a sweet trip down memory lane, revisiting how Jack and Cassie came to be. But also, it was painful going back through the agony of what Cassie endured, through the seemingly idiotic decisions Jack made (this POV made me forgive him a teeny weeny bit for what he did then) and how two people, no matter how flawed and broken can still come out as survivors.

“Weddings are supposed to be happy. Today was supposed to be filled with love, joy and the promise of two lives becoming one. But this wedding on this day, felt like a death sentence, one I desperately wanted my brother not to serve.”

It may have look liked Dean was always trailing behind Jack but the truth is, Dean is another person altogether. He is someone who is logical, loyal and loves fiercely. He cares deeply and the polar opposite of Jack. Jack is Dean’s hero and no one is more proud of Jack’s achievements than Dean. It was also sweet seeing Jack and Dean interact with their grandparents, how everyone loves one another and looks out for each other. I actually laugh out loud every time Gramps calls Cassie as “Kitten”. And there is the gator scene in the pool, what the eff is that? I just cannot keep a straight face while I conjure big, grown men fighting over a gator float. Haha! It was also sweet, annoying and funny going back to how Dean and Melissa started, the fears, the decisions, indecisions and doubts. It may not have been a Dean story but I loved being in his mind. I saw how deeply he loved, how fiercely connected he feels with Cassie and how torn and hurt he was when Jack messed up. Again, images of me bashing Jack’s head in came to mind. I love Dean’s character to the core that’s why I am sure that all TPG fans will enjoy this ride to Dean’s mind (and heart.)

Despite knowing most of what happened already, this book still didn’t fail to make me emotional. And at the end of the day, that is what matters most to me, how I can connect to the characters I have loved and how the author took me back to her world.

Just when I was finishing the book with an ending I knew so well, Jenn killed it with that epilogue and I smiled because I feel that the Carter gang will be back!!

Where the book took Trish: Living in a country where baseball is not the main local sport, this novel took me to a place of screaming, baseball fanatics, of intense devotion to the game where the players are local heroes. It took me back to a familiar terrain, with people I feel like I have known all along experiencing life and love all over again.


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