FICTION

The Bro Code

Wattpad. Sept. 2020. 352p. pap. $10.99. ISBN 9781989365328.
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Gr 9 Up–White teens Nick and his best friend Carter are Cassidy High School’s star soccer players. Nick’s father coaches the team and expects Nick to achieve the collegiate-level stardom that was taken from him due to an injury. That pressure also includes additional early-morning workouts and grueling training that strains his relationship with his father. Therefore, Nick spends a lot of time at his best friend’s house and sees Carter’s sister, Eliza, on a daily basis. After a year studying in Australia, Eliza is no longer the awkward, nerdy freshman Nick remembers. But any hope of a relationship with Eliza is forbidden by the “Bro Code” that governs the conduct of Nick, Carter, and their friends. Ultimately, Nick will have to choose between Eliza and Carter while trying to make his own path to college and a closer relationship with his parents. The plot moves at a satisfying pace but the Bro Code is almost its own character, often forced into dialog and situations that would be more authentic without it. Some serious issues are tackled, including sexual consent and the loss of a parent, but the primary focus is on the development of Nick and Carter as they navigate tough decisions about relationships, college, and the Bro Code.
VERDICT This story could resonate with readers but would need some hard selling to convince them that it’s not just a typical romance novel.

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