Luke Taylor and Phoebe Bennet went to the same secondary school, though they were not special friends. During their first week reading English literature at the fictional York Metropolitan University they become reacquainted. Luke has just ended his three-year relationship with Abby Baker, a girl from his home town. The book poses the question whether Luke and Phoebe are destined to become an item. Luke also joins the university football team, the first ever freshman to make the university first XI. Football might provide the solace he requires after his broken relationship. Or will the game just generate problems of its own?
Ellen and Ivison’s book has a dual narrative viewpoint, sections narrated by Phoebe, sections by Luke. Painting a picture of early days at university, the book pulls few punches. There is plenty of profane language, plenty of sexual encounters and plenty of banned substances. An unplanned and potentially disastrous sexual accident occurs, not to be described further for fear of spoiling. And the football team indulges in some laddish behaviour which shades over into criminality, Luke being a reluctant insider. These goings-on end one female student’s university career.
The characters in this story are deeply flawed and utterly authentic. This reviewer found however that despite the convincing narrative on the activities described above, scant regard was paid to the business of learning. Learning may not be as much fun as sex and football. But in my old-fashioned view it is the main purpose of university life.