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Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
Not the Usual Season by Nancy May is a young adult coming-of-age story filled with lessons for both young people and adults. Ben is a senior high school wrestler with a huge ambition — win the States. He needs to work hard for this last season to come out as the champion. But that is easier thought than done. While he has the drive and the changes to become the champion, there is a lot he has to deal with, and perhaps priorities that might derail him from his dream. While he has to deal with challenges within his family, he also has to deal with his best friend, J.T, the woman his heart beats for, Talia, and the first female wrestler in the team. Does he have what it takes to navigate these hurdles to success?
Not the Usual Season is well-written and the first-person narrative voice is brilliantly handled. The reader is pulled into the perspective of the protagonist and shares his experiences, exploring themes of love, friendship, family, and purpose. The ache for love and a strong sense of belonging are themes that are deftly handled and the writing provokes readers to think about what really matters. Is it always about winning or finding meaning in what we do through strong human connections? The characters are well developed, genuinely flawed, and filled with humanity. I was pulled in right from the beginning, and the pensive style in Nancy May’s writing kept me engaged through each page of the narrative. An enjoyable read, indeed.