Author: Jeff Adams
Publisher: JMS Books
Pages/Word Count: 344 Pages
At a Glance: My favorite book of the series wraps things up nicely with Simon and Alex as they finish their college careers together.
Reviewed By: Sadonna
Blurb: Life has a sneaky way of checking you into the boards.
The relationship that began when Simon Roberts and Alex Miller were in high school is about to cross another milestone as they start their final year at the University of Michigan. It’s been four amazing years of love, friends, and hockey.
Now it’s time to help pay it forward.
When a talented sixteen-year-old goalie is denied placement on a youth league roster, he asks Simon and Alex to coach a team of LGBT youth and allies. With the determination, hard work, and help of an amazing group of friends, they rally the team towards a winning season.
In the final installment of the best-selling Hat Trick trilogy, Simon and Alex find everything they’ve worked so hard for is in jeopardy. When they’re thrown a devastating curve ball, the far-reaching implications put their entire future together on the line.
Review: This the final book in the Hat Trick series and as such, it contains many spoilers for the previous books. It is recommended that this series be read in order.
Alex and Simon are in their final year of college. They have been through many things together: getting outed, the loss of a friend, family fractures, you name it. But the one constant has always been their relationship and the love they have for each other. Simon continues to work at the LGBT center, and on his degree in Social Work, and Alex continues to work on his engineering degree and work for the Detroit company where he had interned.
In addition to all of their school, work and hockey, they get approached to coach a youth hockey team. Scottie, a young gay goalie, has been passed over by every team even though he’s got skills. The only reason he figures is because he’s obviously out and proud. There are both gay and straight guys on the team, and there is a trans guy that Simon meets at the center, who is encouraged the join as well. I really enjoyed this part of the story, watching these kids interact with some really great role models, and some understanding and encouraging advice at the right times to keep them going.
Just as things are going their way, there is a health crisis that rocks them, the team and their families. Surprisingly, additional stress and discord come from family members that both Simon and Alex had assumed would always support them and their relationship. When questions and seeds of doubt about their commitment to each other surface, Alex and Simon pull together to address them. The team continues to support their captains and help out with the youth hockey team as well. While these are some serious obstacles, as usual, Simon and Alex work together to face them and become even stronger as a couple.
The truth is that life is unpredictable and sometimes things are great, sometimes you get slapped upside the head with crappy circumstances that are beyond your control. The true strength of character and of a relationship is forged during those times. Alex and Simon have faced many trials and tribulations, and each time they come back stronger. Ideally, this is what building a partnership and a truly lasting relationship should do. Are some of the situations they face wrapped up a little more neatly than many times happens in real life? Maybe. But this series has really shown these guys growing together and facing whatever comes their way, with courage and love and with the support of their friends and families. Penalty Shot is a thoroughly enjoyable book and a fitting end to this series.
You can buy Penalty Shot here: