Review // Running with Lions

37830514BLURB: Bloomington High School Lions’ star goalie, Sebastian Hughes, should be excited about his senior year: His teammates are amazing and he’s got a coach who doesn’t ask anyone to hide their sexuality. But when his estranged childhood best friend Emir Shah shows up to summer training camp, Sebastian realizes the team’s success may end up in the hands of the one guy who hates him. Determined to reconnect with Emir for the sake of the Lions, he sets out to regain Emir’s trust. But to Sebastian’s surprise, sweaty days on the pitch, wandering the town’s streets, and bonding on the weekends sparks more than just friendship between them


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First off, can we flail about the absolute cuteness of this cover??? I really love it. The colours! How it captures the characters really well. It’s a great cover all round!

So now my thoughts…I AM A BALL OF EMOOOOTIIIIIONS! wow an amazing debut! I am here smiling and maybe tearing up a bit??? because i loved this so muuch!!

Julian crafted a gem here, great cast of characters. Oh man the friendships and team camaraderie and squabbles too felt so authentic. I really liked being in Sebastian’s head, seeing his fears. Him not being sure what he wants to do in the future, realizing his feelings for Emir. Omg those two I adored them so much!

“Sometimes it’s okay not to be the perfect best friend. Sometimes it’s okay for your friends to take care of you.”

This line almost took me allll the way out, it really resonated with me, (there may have almost been some tears lol) I just loved how Sebastian and Emir’s re-connection didn’t come easily. They didn’t fall back into being friends right away but the build up was really well done.

Emir’s so prickly. how could i not love him??? He was definitely my fave. How could i not adore my gay, British Pakistani Muslim son?  He’s basically an outsider when he arrives

but eventually we see how everyone on the teams becomes this family and i just *clutches chest* Found Family is a great theme and it’s explored really well here!
I feel like this description captures Emir really well lol:
“Emir taps his foot. He’s gone from sleepy morning nymph to raging demon in five minutes flat.”

The entire concept of the Lions, a team accepting of you regardless of your sexuality was just so awesome! And we have a diverse mix of characters here who I basically adored them all. We have Emir and Sebastian’s main romance then we have the cuteness of Hunter and Willie. Hunter wasn’t exactly being subtle about it lol.

Annnnd the epic scene where Grey, Coach’s daughter basically one ups Mason (Sebastian’s friend) on the field was sooo satisfying because Mason was truly a lil shit to Grey.

Every character was so well fleshed out and multi faceted. I loved seeing their vulnerabilities.

I could keep babbling on about all the stuff i adored because there’s a lot! lol. So many little scenes that really touched me.

Me, when Sebastian brushes Emir’s hair off his forehead…
But i just rec this one highly. It’s a truly great debut! 🙂



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