The Assist by Rebecca Jenshak

This sports romance takes the stereotype of the dumb jock, and flips it completely upside down. Our male lead is the one doing the tutoring, and when he throws on some sexy black-rimmed glasses, all bets are off. 

What’s it About? 

You know those stories where the smart girl tutors the dumb jock? This isn’t it.

Blair 

What’s the probability of insulting the one guy on campus I need to help me pass statistics? If I knew, I wouldn’t be standing in front of Wes Reynolds begging him to tutor me. Basketball player, sexy, arrogant, always sleeping through class… these are the things I knew about him. What I didn’t know is that he is a seriously smart jock.

Wes 

What’s the best way to get rid of the peppy and unrelenting girl that keeps asking me to tutor her? If I knew, I wouldn’t be staring at her tan legs and attempting to teach her statistics. Sorority girl, fine as f**k, determined, ball buster… these are the things I knew about her. What I didn’t know is that she is all the things I didn’t realize I wanted or needed. Or that one semester with her would change everything.

First Impressions

Wes is a sexy senior basketball player, and as soon as he recovers from a foot injury he’s determined to make this final year his best. He’s laser focused on the Final Four, and nothing is going to stand in his way of reaching victory. Nothing that is, until a determined sorority girl who is failing statistics seeks out his help in a rather embarrassing way. Wes has brawn and brains, making him an unstoppable force both on and off the court, but when Blair first encounters him he appears to be another dumb jock sleeping his way through class. When Blair receives a failing grade on her first stats assignment and glances the A-grade on the supposed slacker’s test, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out who’s tutored him. Lo and behold her surprise to discover this hunky athlete is more than good looks. She needs an A in this class, and this smart jock is going to help her get it. 

The meet cute of these two characters is quite adorable, especially when we take into account the awkward faux pas committed by Blair when she assumes that just because Wes plays basketball he must not have the book smarts needed to succeed in college. You can’t help but love the determination of these two, from Blair wanting to succeed academically and live up to the dreams of her best friend stuck back in their small hometown, to Wes focusing all of his time and energy on ensuring his team and best friends are victorious in his final year. It’s just a matter of time before their tutoring sessions turn to something significantly more steamy than statistical, and not long at all before they both start to wonder how the other will fit into their future plans, or even lack thereof for one of our characters. Will they be able to find time for each other amidst everything else they have going on in their busy lives, and if so what will happen next after the school year ends? 

From Start to Finish

This college romance literally starts with a bang, as we see a flashback prologue where Blair’s best friend throughout all of childhood gets in a terrible car accident and loses her memory in their final year of high school. These young women had their sights set on changing the world, and when we see Blair three years later struggling to keep up in school amidst a blackmailing ex-boyfriend who has naked pictures of her, your attention is certainly grabbed from opening bell. Throw in her fumbling false assumptions with one of the school’s favorite athletes, and we can’t wait to see where this story will take us. While this book certainly has a strong finish, things sort of fizzle out as our romantic tale progresses. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what causes our attention to wander, and it’s not as though anything “wrong” happens with the plot as a whole, but it almost felt as though once our lovebirds finally acted on their infatuation for each other things kind of plateaued. 

I’ve read through some other reviews to see if others could identify what it was that stopped this good read from becoming great, and a few have mentioned that the time jumps towards the latter of the novel caused the issue. I’ll admit these didn’t really bother me too much, though they did add to the ending feeling more rushed and less cohesive than our introductory chapters. In thinking and ruminating on what other elements could have combined with these time jumps to possibly result in my waning interest as the novel progressed, the fact that there’s a portion of the second half of the book where Blair and Wes spend most of the time apart from each other could have also had an influence. Even though this separation was important for them to realize how important the other person was, as well as resolve a few personal conundrums on their own, I think it played a role in having less investment in their story because it seemed like less of “their” story. They spent so much of the first half of the novel interacting with each other, exchanging witty banter and flirtatious quips, that to see it eliminated from the second half was kind of a let down in comparison. 

In addition, it would seem the book struggled at identifying how high it was willing to raise the stakes with various plot points. This is actually perfectly encapsulated in the daring and emotional prologue where we initially assume Blair’s BFF, Gabby, has died in a car crash. We then find out she’s survived, but the intensity is heightened once again when we discover she has lost her memory, and has no recollection of who Blair is following this accident. It’s the last sentence of the prologue, and we immediately want to turn the page to find out how this tragedy will influence Blair, and how their friendship could be forever altered. But then in chapter one it’s revealed that Gabby soon regained her memory, she and Blair are besties once again, and Gabby is then absent for a big portion of the book. This is how I would essentially categorize the rest of the book, we start with a high as the smart jock tutors the sorority girl who is being blackmailed by her ex with revenge porn, but then as the novel progresses things start to taper off and the stakes are lowered as the book struggles to not be too serious, yet also isn’t purely comedic. Overall, it waffles somewhere in the middle.

Series: Smart Jocks, book 1. Wes’s teammates prove to be an entertaining bunch, and I’m definitely excited to see them each get their own story in future books. 

Final Impressions: Enjoyable, not earth-shattering, good not great. It’s a fine read, but I don’t think it will necessarily blow your mind. I did enjoy having a college romance that actually focused on schoolwork for once, and having a “smart jock” as our male lead is a unique twist to the whole “tutor” trope. That being said, if we really wanted to turn things around, having Blair be a “nerd” struggling in one course would have been a great juxtaposition to Wes’s smart jock persona. Instead she’s a beautiful sorority girl, so it didn’t seem like too much of a stretch that these two would have crossed paths eventually considering all the college parties they go to. If anything it was kind of strange it took them this long to meet!  We do get to see an epic confrontation or two with Blair’s douchebag ex-boyfriend, and both of our lead characters reach a critical point when the future path they thought was laid out for them gets a few twists and turns they weren’t expecting. Again though, the excitement of the beginning sort of fizzles out by the end, making it an ok read. 

Smut Level: When Wes finds out that the glasses he wore during their tutoring sessions made Blair all hot and bothered, he’s more than happy to put them on when the rest of their clothes come off. 

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. 316 Pages. 

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