The Second Season

A Novel

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Pub Date 27 Jul 2021 | Archive Date 17 Sep 2021

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Description

“This book is brilliant, engrossing and should be read by every person, basketball fan or not. My only wish is that Adrian had written this when I was a young girl, because it would have made me feel seen, encouraged, and understood.”

-Mirin Fader, staff writer for The Ringer and author of Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP

Ruth Devon starred for Georgetown Basketball back in college—until she injured her knee, married her coach, and found a new career calling games on the radio. Twenty years later, Ruth and her now-ex-husband, Lester, are two of the most famous faces in sports media. When Lester decides to retire from the announcers’ booth, Ruth goes after his job. If she gets it, she will be the first woman to call NBA games on national television.

For now, Ruth is reporting from the sideline of the NBA finals, immersed in the high-pressure spectacle of the post-season. But in a deserted locker room at halftime, Ruth makes a discovery that shatters her vision of her future. Instantly, she is torn between the two things she has always wanted most: the game and motherhood.

With warmth and incisive observation, Adrian brings to life the obsessions, emotions, and drama of fandom. The Second Season asks why, how, and whom we watch, while offering a rich and complicated account of motherhood, marriage, and ambition. Adrian’s character study of Ruth Devon illuminates a beautiful basketball mind—and the struggle of a woman who claims authority in a male-dominated world.

“This book is brilliant, engrossing and should be read by every person, basketball fan or not. My only wish is that Adrian had written this when I was a young girl, because it would have made me feel...


A Note From the Publisher

Emily Adrian is the author of several novels including Everything Here Is under Control. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Emily currently lives in New Haven, Connecticut with her husband, her son, and her dog named Hank.

Emily Adrian is the author of several novels including Everything Here Is under Control. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Emily currently lives in New Haven, Connecticut with her husband, her son...


Advance Praise

Praise for THE SECOND SEASON

“Four years ago, in an essay published right here at The Millions, I asked why there hasn’t been a Great American Basketball Novel yet. Well, there is now: The Second Season…Adrian writes with a knowledge and passion for the game, but fandom is not a prerequisite for falling in love with this brilliant, warm, and funny book.”

-The Millions


“Those who have been waiting for a sports book with heart will devour the novel. The fresh story is enhanced by Adrian’s smooth, absorbing writing. A perfect pick for book clubs.”

-Booklist


“The spare, bold latest from Adrian follows a sportswriter as she reckons with middle age…Even the sports-averse will be caught up in the drama.”

-Publishers Weekly


“To borrow a sports idiom, Emily Adrian really stuffs the stat sheet here. She writes as engagingly and insightfully about basketball and broadcasting as she does about work, love, friendship, ambition, motherhood, aging, and the power and frailty of the body. Smart, tough, passionate Ruth Devon is a winning protagonist, and her poignant story is both suspenseful and meditative. The Second Season is a terrific sports novel, yes, but it’s also just a terrific novel.”

-Chris Bachelder, author of The Throwback Special


“Sometimes it is scary reading Emily Adrian because she is honest in a way that hurts. She is brave and she is brutal. You don’t have to love basketball or care about motherhood to love this book, but this book will make you fall in love with both. I’m a goner; I will read anything she writes.”

-Rufi Thorpe, author of The Knockout Queen


“In Emily Adrian’s hands, the most exciting story during the NBA Finals is not on the court, but on the sidelines. This book will draw you in right away and you won’t put it down until you’ve read the final sentence.”

-Tom McAllister, author of How to Be Safe


“Women with ambition, especially in sports, are often told: ‘Be quiet. Shrink. Don’t dream too big.’ Emily Adrian’s The Second Season squashes any notion of that. It shines in its portrayal of a woman protagonist who will not dim her light. This book is brilliant, engrossing and should be read by every person, basketball fan or not. My only wish is that Adrian had written this when I was a young girl, because it would have made me feel seen, encouraged, and understood.”

-Mirin Fader, staff writer for The Ringer and author of Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP


“Sport and bodies and ambition, motherhood and womanhood and obsession: Emily Adrian’s The Second Season masterfully gets you inside the particular thrill of sport whether it was ever capable of thrilling you before, and, deftly and warmly, pulls off the extraordinary feat of forcing you to root for a complicated, unapologetically ambitious fortysomething woman who also happens to be a mom. I loved this novel for its alacrity and its humanity and its humor, its attention to the body, and its willingness to let its characters pursue impossible-seeming dreams.”

-Lynn Steger Strong, author of Want


Praise for Emily Adrian and her previous novel, Everything Here is under Control:


"Filled with compelling characters…Full of texture and authentic human ambivalence."

-New York Times Book Review, on Everything Here is under Control


“A tender novel about early motherhood, small-town life, and the various ways people make their families.”

-The Millions. on Everything Here is under Control


"Emily Adrian is such a uniquely perceptive writer, possessing a kind of X-ray vision that finds the hidden truths inside of us, no matter how painful they might be… an amazing, open-hearted writer."

-Kevin Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of Nothing to See Here


“A book so honest and raw…and yet so appealing and unputdownable and—dare I say, heartwarming…Magic, addictive, brilliant fun.”

-Rufi Thorpe, author of The Knockout Queen 


"Emily Adrian writes with such a keen and sensitive eye, and she's funny, and she is an astute observer of human behavior."

-Edan Lepucki, New York Times bestselling author of California


“A sharp, thoughtful, poignant look at early motherhood, a small town, and the complex, challenging, and beautiful relationships that make up our families both biological and chosen.”

-Lydia Kiesling, author of The Golden State


“Brutally tender, ferociously intimate, astonishingly surefooted, and deeply satisfying…An immersive, irresistible pleasure.”

-Chelsey Johnson, author of Stray City

Praise for THE SECOND SEASON

“Four years ago, in an essay published right here at The Millions, I asked why there hasn’t been a Great American Basketball Novel yet. Well, there is now: The Second...


Marketing Plan

• National and regional reviews, features, and interviews

• Social media campaign

• Literary, sports, and women’s media buzz mailing

• Book club marketing

• Print and digital advertising

• Bookseller and library trade show marketing

• Author website: www.EmilyAdrianBooks.com

• Author Twitter: @adremily

• National and regional reviews, features, and interviews

• Social media campaign

• Literary, sports, and women’s media buzz mailing

• Book club marketing

• Print and digital advertising

•...


Available Editions

ISBN 9781799932147
PRICE $24.99 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

Great read-in-one-sitting book. Loved the main character and the basketball story line. Wonderful, uplifting, feminist book.

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Put this winner on your summer TBR list. Thank you NetGalley and Blackstone for the 5⭐️ exciting, page-turning read. This book will appeal to sports fans, especially basketball, and fans of strong women characters and mothers navigating careers in male dominated industries as they wrestle with the sacrifices they're making elsewhere in their lives. And while purely fiction, was so fun to consider which real life players, analysts and coaches (Doris, Pop, etc.) inspired certain characters. The book reminded me of another one of my favorite books, Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win (elections, politics). This is my first book by this author. It won’t be my last.

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I could not put this down - I finished in one sitting. The Second Season was such a fun read! It has sports, a strong female lead trying to make her way in a man's world, and the constant struggle mothers face of balancing career and home life. I really loved Emily Adrian's writing style and will definitely be picking up more of her work. Thank you so much to NetGalley and Blackstone for the ARC!

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I really enjoyed this book. interesting look at personal growth with basketball and reporting in the background. It was a quick read for me. I liked that is was light, but not undeveloped. Do not mistake light for unworthy of a read. The characters were well developed and the story arc was very well done. I highly recommend.

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Loved this book! In 2021 I want more books with women in sports. This was both addicting & light yet not underdeveloped. I am definitely looking forward to recommending this book and checking out more of Adrian's work in the future.

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It was refreshing to read about a strong, female character - not in some dystopian future or on a made-up planet - but living in the here-and-now, who wrestles with daily challenges like motherhood, complex relationships, body image and a career in a field with few other women in it. I, myself, know and understand little about basketball. But from the first sentence, I was drawn in and captivated by Adrian's storytelling, which reminded me at times of Elizabeth Strout's novel, Olive Kitteridge. I would highly recommend this read to anyone who loves a raw and honest female lead, whether sports are your world or not. A huge thank-you to NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing for the free eARC in exchange for my honest review.

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Ruth Devon had what it took to become a basketball player until she hurt her knee one game. Shortly afterwards, she married the coach and her life started on a different path. Ruth’s husband Lester, was a great NBA announcer and was really good at it. One day Lester decides to call it quits. Ruth wants his position and if she gets it, she will be the first woman announcer in the NBA. Something happens that will change the course of action forever. Something that She decides is worth more than any basketball game... motherhood. This story is well told and very descriptive as well as fast paced. Thank you to netgalley as well as the author/publisher for allowing me to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Ruth Denton is a sidelines sports reporter for the National Basketball Association. At 42, she's fiercely passionate about her profession. She started out as a basketball player herself until a game-ending knee injury. She married her coach, Lester, and they had a daughter, Ariana. Ruth is the absolute best at what she does. With a true interest in the players and the sport, and a near-photographic memory for stats, anecdotes, and personal tidbits, she's achieved celebrity status herself, stalking the players in high heels and pencil skirt, occasionally dribbling an errant basketball, much to the delight of the fans. But it didn't come without sacrifice; she and Lester are divorced, and Ruth's mother virtually raised Ariana, a fact that weighs heavily on Ruth. But is it enough to change her life's trajectory, at this moment when the greatest promotion of all looms in front of her? This was a fascinating story, one that I can't stop thinking about after finishing the book. Ruth's play-calling, the smart, savvy jargon, is captivating. Her descriptions of the athletes, their moves, their challenges--it's just masterful. So interesting, and I don't watch basketball. I even wondered if "Emily Adrian" was a pen name for Doris Burke, the famous real-life NBA reporter this book is so clearly modeled after. But there's a photo of the author in the book, and Adrian tips her hat to Burke in the Acknowledgements. So the author did this all herself. Astonishing. Ruth's emotional conflicts will resonate for any woman who has followed her passion and paid a heavy price, and yet, if she had to do it all over again, would probably not change a thing. Ruth's love for the game and the players is almost palpable. What other choice does she have? Because she's dedicated to her work, conflicts arise. Joel, her boyfriend, a wealthy younger man who founded a record label and now owns a network of luxury hotels, isn't a basketball fan. He wants her around more. Says he's okay not having kids, but Ruth knows he's making the best of things. Her daughter, a budding model, is about to graduate high school. She wants to skip college and pursue her passion, and she's a good businesswoman, obviously getting something from her mother! Yet the profession is fraught. It parallels the high risk/reward dynamic of the young athletes Ruth reveres. Shouldn't Ruth be there to guide her? Would Adrian even let her? (Empty nest alert!) I would suggest the theme of this book is the resilience of love. Even though Ruth and Lester are divorced, they seem like best friends, always supportive of each other. And although Ruth wasn't present for many of her daughter's big moments, her love for Adrian seems to have translated into a strong and self-assured young woman. Even the two main players, Darius and Emory, are bound by a brother-love friendship that prevails over their on-court battles, continuing the theme. There's so much to love about this book. I'm thrilled to have been given the opportunity to read it.

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This was a really cool book. I loved that it was women's fiction, but didn't fixate on a romantic break up, a new romance or motherhood. It really encapsulated so many areas of this one woman's life, proving women can be multifaceted in novels and not just one character stereotype. I haven't read anything by Emily Adrian before this novel, but I will definitely seek her work out again. I think this book will appeal to sports and basketball fans as well as non-sports fans. I did find myself getting a little confused with the timelines a few times as the writing style sometimes veers into a stream of consciousness from the main character, but I was able to easily jump back into the storyline. Overall, I'll definitely recommend this book when it is published this summer.

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“The Second Season” explores female ambition through the story of NBA sideline reporter Ruth Devon. Ruth’s standout collegiate basketball career ended with an injury; she married her coach, became a young mother, and worked her way up to one of the most respected (fictional) women in sports media, frequently the subject of longform magazine profiles. Lester Devon, Ruth’s ex-husband and a famous NBA announcer, is retiring at the end of this season. Ruth wants nothing more than his job — or does she? As her daughter’s high school graduation nears — and the girl’s fledgling Instagram modeling career shows actual promise — Ruth has to figure out which wins: motherhood or her own ambitions. “The Second Season” is a raw dissection of the price of female ambition and the infuriating patriarchy that women with goals must navigate with care. Ruth has the level of ambition and career aspiration that most find polarizing; I find it refreshing. This book calls to mind another of my all-time favorites, “Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win.” It’s only January and I know I’ve found one of my favorite books of the year. One item to nitpick (this is only for the purpose of Netgalley and pre-publication feedback, not my public facing reviews): I believe the author’s characterization of Botox is inaccurate. I have never experienced a 24-hour period of being unable to move my eyebrows; a Botox injection doesn’t take effect for 7-14 days. Some practitioners advise against working out for the first 24-48 hours.

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Wow. I didn't know what to expect going into this novel, about a former Georgetown college basketball player plunged into the testosterone-fueled world of male sportscasting. Adrian sets the book in sports arenas and hotels across the country, against a backdrop of screaming fans and the smell of players. I'm a casual basketball fan, and know very little about sports reporting, but Ruth's story rings true for any woman balancing the sacrifices one must make to progress in a demanding and high-stakes career, with maintaining a home life and being there for their family. All set against the background of the NBA finals, Adrian does a phenomenal job of keeping the book fast-paced and relatable at the same time. I couldn't put it down. A great book for basketball lovers, sure, but any woman navigating a career in 2021.

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Very well written and surprisingly interesting even to a non-sports person. The author tells the story of Ruth who becomes a significant sports broadcaster in what was a man’s domain. Not only her successes are detailed but also the difficult issues of being a wife, mother, partner, coping with all the demands while building an impressive and iconic career. I enjoyed the book and I think women will be able to discuss the inherent conflicts in having it all while suffering from a level of guilt rarely felt by makes. Thank you Netgalley for this interesting and totally original novel.

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I’m obsessed with sports. Maybe not basketball (unless you count Lucas and Nathan’s rivalry as Tree Hill Ravens), but I live for fierce competition on a field, ice, or court. I received approval for The Second Season by Emily Adrian thanks to Netgalley and Blackstone Publishing for this July release, and I was immediately hooked. Description: “A fiercely determined woman is forced to choose between her career in sports broadcasting and motherhood.” The Second Season is the story of 42 year old Ruth Devon, NBA sideline reporter. (The fact that I turn 42 tomorrow is a weird coincidence that made me even more connected to the book!). Adrian’s novel digs into gender inequity and the glass ceiling of women in professional sports, the price of ambition, and a woman’s ability to actually be knowledgeable about sports (I can more than hold my own talk about hockey and football, thank you very much, so this was SO relatable 😊) I thoroughly enjoyed this story and loved the strong, complex woman that Adrian created in Ruth. 4/5⭐️

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This book is a great book about a woman’s life choices and ambitions. The story is told from a strong female character’s perspective about her life as a basketball sports reporter with ambitions to be more. Ruth Devon loves basketball passionately. Ruth has raised through the ranks of basketball broadcasting to become a sideline reporter during NBA games. She is amazing at what she does- creates great rapport with the players, knows basketball better than anyone, and works hard. She works with her now ex-husband, Lester Devon, who is the color commentator during the game. Lester has just announced his retirement from the announcing booth and Ruth wants his job, a job that no woman has had before. The book watches her journey through the 5 games of the finals as she struggles with her desire to reach this goal. It describes her interviews with player and coaches, her relationship with the men in the booth, along with Phillip, her producer. Ruth is beloved by the players and most of the fans, there are some haters out there. You can tell from the book that Ruth really is good at her job. But being good at her demanding job, that requires a lot of travel has not come without many sacrifices. And this book examines some of the sacrifices she has made as a wife, and mother and the sacrifices she is still taking. I really enjoyed this book. It feels like a book that so many women would relate to on some level, even if sports isn’t their thing. The themes of motherhood, relationships, and ambition all couched in womanhood resonate. In the era of women breaking glass ceilings this is a perfect read.

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I will admit I was a little hesitant to read this book because of the heavy sports storyline, but I was VERY pleasantly surprised!! I really enjoyed this book! The story centers around Ruth Devon, a college basketball player turned sideline reporter. Ruth balances motherhood and her determination to get the job she's always wanted. I loved the writing, the characters, and the glimpse into sports reporting. This is my first book by Emily Adrian and definitely not my last!

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The Second Season by Emily Adrian is a winner! Written with so much warmth and incisive observation, Adrian brings to life the obsessions, emotions, and drama of true fandom. The Second Season asks why, how, and whom we watch, while offering a rich and complicated account of motherhood, marriage, and ambition. Adrian’s character study of Ruth Devon illuminates a unique and beautiful female sports mind and the struggle of a woman who claims authority in a male-dominated world. Ruth Devon is a sidelines sports reporter for the National Basketball Association. At 42, she's fiercely passionate about her profession. This was the kind of story that you can't stop thinking about.. Ruth's play-calling, is captivating. Her descriptions of the athletes are wonderful and I don't watch basketball. Ruth's emotional conflicts will resonate for any woman who has followed her passion and paid a heavy price, and yet, if she had to do it all over again, would probably not change a thing. There's so much to adore about this book. Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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An unexpected hit! This book blew me away. I was not expecting that at all. I went into the book blind, not knowing much more than this is a book about basketball, sports reporting and a woman. First, let me admit that I LOVE being transported into worlds I will never be a part of. That is exactly what this story offered me. A glimpse into the world of basketball and sports reporting/announcing. I was caught up in all of it in such a good way! The female lead, Ruth, is a strong, ambitious and totally likeable former-basketball player who has parlayed her love of the sport into becoming one of the first and only female sideline reporters. Her dreams for her future involve much more than she has so far accomplished though. She intimately shares that basketball comes before anything else. Even as she knows it shouldn’t. It is a part of her. I loved how she continually wrestled with her responsibilities to her family and to her career. Ruth was an up and coming college basketball player before a devastating knee injury. She ended up marrying her coach and starting a family. As her husband’s career takes off, she too tastes success. Her husband’s expectation is that she will retreat from her career in order to take care of their daughter. As one can imagine, this does not sit well with Ruth and her ambition does not wish to be tamed. They end up divorced, yet are never far from each other in that they are both entwined in the game of basketball. The book follows their career while their daughter grows up. As expected, being a female in a male dominated industry is fraught with stress, over-examination and doubt. I don’t follow basketball religiously, and there were a lot of basketball games being discussed, but the author did an awesome job of writing those scenes so that fans at any level could understand and enjoy them. To me, the main story was the female struggle between following your career dreams and being a Mom. And the fact that it is a female only struggle. It’s just not the same for males. Either way, something has to suffer. I adored the inner dialog of Ruth throughout. I appreciated all the nuances that the author highlighted in her struggle for success. The ending was superb to me. I don’t really enjoy perfect endings. This one left me thinking about the costs of success and what we are willing to compromise on. I loved every second of this book. Definitely recommend. Thank you so much to NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing for gifting me an advance copy to read and review.

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A sharply drawn portrait of a woman at a crossroads in her life, forced to choose between a career in sports analysis that she has put her life's work into and another chance at motherhood. I am neither a mother nor a basketball fan, and neither of those things mattered. "The Second Season" was engrossing and sharp, and a showcase of Adrian's clear talent.

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A strong lead female character that takes no ... lip ... from anyone. An intimate look into the world of sports and the attitude towards genders. A fantastic read in one sitting.

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While it was a little odd to have 2 non active teams featured in the story (RIP Supersonics...) I loved the premise of this novel. Ruth was likeable - Lester was not, and I found myself rooting for her as she tried to survive an NBA final series as well as life. Excellent debut novel - can't wait for more from this author!

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Challenges of ambition, desire, and parenthood collide with crystal-clear prose and make for a compelling narrative. Ruth is a character who wants things, who knows that wanting things makes other things impossible, and lives in that place of ambiguity. The plot avoids cliche and has a laser sharp focus on Ruth and her experience in the compressed, hectic swirl of the NBA playoffs. While liking sports and ambition will likely help, they are not a prerequisite to enjoying the story. Rather, the author constructs a world in which everything is both heightened and mundane, and the tension pays off very well.

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The Second Season is a book that will both awaken and empower women. It asks the questions we always seem to have to ask ourselves as women. Career or family? Love or career? And why is it always the women that have to give something up? This was just my type of book. I'm a huge basketball fan and to see a woman in the trenches and succeeding in the male dominated field of basketball broadcasting, this was a pleasure to really dive into. Emily Adrian wrote with such a strong voice for our main character, Ruth Devon. She is 42 and still wants the world. She is successful and knows her basketball and the players. She is the woman's voice in the sport that has been dominated by men. I liked that we got a woman's perspective and to see her relationships and how they were affected with the decisions she made concerning her family and career. I was right there with her interviewing players and questioning if I made the right decisions in the past for my child and career. Just when she is on the brink of changing her future, something else throws a kink into her plans. This book was a quick read that took me a little bit to read. It's fast paced but the characters and the story are well developed and easy to relate to. I loved seeing a powerful woman in a "man's world" and succeeding. Give me more women in sports and doing it well, please.

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Following a career-ending knee injury ended her college basketball career, Ruth Devon married her college coach and pursued an uber-successful career as a basketball commentator and sideline reporter for the NBA. During the NBA Finals, something happens to force Ruth to figure out what she wants for her future. It's about a woman who is unabashedly in love with her career, but also raising a daughter. It's about a woman working in a male-domainated profession and having to figure out what she wants in life. And, it's darker and a lot more substantive than I expected! If you loved Charlotte Walsh Like to Win, you might love this one! Note: there is a lot of basketball talk.

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The Second Season is a smart addition to the rapidly growing category of “can women really have it all” fiction. I don’t mean that to sound reductive—however, I find that I’m reading more and more books about women hitting the latter half of their career, or the time in their lives when their children are grown, or the point at which they may be offered the chance to eclipse a husband or an ex-husband, and an existential crisis of sorts ensues. This book is entertaining, especially for basketball fans, and I think this is an important topic to confront, because it’s real. Women are faced with these issues and these choices all the time. Emily Adrian’s writing is great, and I found myself genuinely invested in Ruth and her story. I really liked it. My thanks to NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing for an advance reader’s copy.

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This is a very interesting read. It tells the story of Ruth, a former college basketball star who, through much hard work, has risen to one of the top women in sports media. She is now the sideline reporter for the NBA, but what she most hopes for is to be made the first full-time female announcer of NBA games. When one of the current announcers retires, Ruth goes for the job -- at the same time her personal life is at its own crossroads. The book explores Ruth's journey navigating her professional dreams and her personal life, while providing flashbacks to how she got to this inflection point. A thought-provoking read. Recommended!

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Ruth was a fabulous main characters who was very well rounded. She was dominating in basketball, a male dominated field, when a knee injury took her out. She has to figure out what she wants to be doing with her life, while still loving basketball and raising her daughter.

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This was fascinating!! As someone who doesn’t know much about the NBA, I was completely invested by Ruth’s dilemmas.

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Ruth Devon has spent her whole adult life pursing basketball: first as a college player at Georgetown, then as a radio announcer, and now as sideline reporter. When her ex-husband retires, Ruth makes a play for his job: she wants to be the first female to call NBA games on national television. Told in alternating timelines (the current day NBA finals and flashbacks), Ruth reflects on her life. This was so good. While I don’t understand Ruth’s (or anyone’s) obsession with basketball, The Second Season is an interesting look at being a women in a man’s world, going for the career you want, and being a mom. You should read this! Thanks to @NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing for my ARC! The Second Season is out July 27, 2021.

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This was cute and likeable but I never connected with the characters or felt fully invested. Maybe I should try again? I don’t know this just never clicked for me but had all the right things for a great read.

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What a fun and unique story! Set over the course of an NBA finals series (with some flashbacks), we follow Ruth as she navigates her complicated life juggling her job as a sideline analyst, her role as a mother, her younger boyfriend, and the desire to take her ex-husband's spot in the announcer booth after he retires next season. There was a lot more introspection on Ruth's end than I was expecting. She talks through the clash of her professional and personal aspirations and it was surprisingly refreshing to hear. I also really enjoyed how detailed the descriptions of the game were. I could see how some readers would find it tedious, but I feel like it gave a great look at how Ruth's brain works cataloging every detail of the players. Overall, an enjoyable read!

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I loved this book! It’s the story of a woman’s struggle between being a mother and having a very public full time job. Ruth Devon is a well known former basketball player who is a sideline reporter for the NBA. She asks all the right questions, knows the players and the game of basketball. She wants to call games as an announcer in the booth, but it’s always been a man’s job. She also has a daughter, and she struggles to balance basketball with her family. It helps if you know basketball when you read this book, there are a lot of detailed passages about the game. 4 stars. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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There's so much to love in this fictional tale of Ruth Devon, a sideline reporter hoping (gunning?) to become the first woman to call NBA games on national television. I read The Second Season practically in one sitting, switching between the text and the audio. I could have put it down around the halfway point but honestly, I just didn't want to. As a woman who's long felt a love of sports and journalism in my bones, this is very much the sort of book I'd find easy to love... or throw across the room in frustration. (I'm delighted that my feelings while reading were generally the former.) The book mostly takes place over the course of the NBA Finals (between the Cincinnati Wildcats and the Seattle Supersonics). I so enjoyed following Ruth on the job -- where her ex-husband also works -- as well as in her personal life. She has a daughter about to graduate high school and a boyfriend who wants to get married. Much of the writing was visceral: I could feel the action as if I were watching a real game, feel Ruth's experiences as if I were having them myself. There is one odd scene in which it's implied that boyfriends are watching the last game of the finals, while their girlfriends ask who they're seeing on screen and need to infer what it means to call the games. In a book that otherwise seemed to bat down misogyny around women in sports, it seemed out of place and more than a little off. (Ideally, it'll have already been rewritten and won't appear in the published text.) That and a few clunky spots aside, I loved my reading experience so much I'm rounding up from 4.5 to 5 stars. And because author Emily Adrian really stuck the landing.

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Thank you @netgalley and @blackstonepublishing for the advanced copy to read and review. I never liked the idea that sports belong to men or that women can only enjoy sports superficially, so as a passionate NBA fan this was such a treat. ‘The Second Season’ is a great for those who love strong women characters, honest conversations around motherhood and being a women navigating careers in male dominated fields. Ruth (inspired by the legend Doris Burke 🐐) starred for Georgetown Basketball until she had a career- ending knee injury. She married her coach and pivoted to a new career as a basketball commentator and sideline reporter. Fast forward two decades, Ruth and her now-ex-husband Lester, are two of the most famous names in sports media. The book mainly takes place during the NBA Finals where Ruth is faced with battling motherhood and her ambition to become the first woman to call NBA games on national television. I loved how you are transported into the world of basketball and it was so fun to see the comparisons and inspirations to real life players, coaches and celebrities (Hi Drake). Ruth is honest, ambitious and strong-willed which I admired. She is also beloved by the players and respected among true fans. She is honest in her admission of how basketball and her career are her number one priority but she reflects and shows remorse at some of her shortcomings as a mother. I appreciated the dialogue and transparency Ruth had with herself and her commitment to fiercely fighting for her ambitions. The discussions around the price of female ambition were honest and I loved the plot around the players as well. “That Ruth is a woman who understands basketball should not be remarkable, basketball is a sport that women understand” There were a lot of basketball plays and depictions shown in the book but even if you have never watched a single game in your life, you will still be able to follow. Overall, loved the story and looking forward to reading more by Emily.

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I don't read many books about sports, but I really liked this one! It was a different type of story than what I normally read, but I enjoyed it so much. It made me think about how basketball and sports are important to so many people! I just really liked this story because it made me see how dreams can grow and change.

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In The Second Season, Ruth is a former college basketball star who’s career was cut too short by a knee injury. Her knowledge of the game has made her famous as a sideline commentator and she’s hoping to become the first woman to call NBA games on national television. But like a lot of working women, Ruth is a mother and her teenage daughter is needing her mom to be around. Last year, I read Everything Here is Under Control by @emily_a_adrian and related so much to how the mothers in the book were written/. They felt so real to me, like people I knew or like myself in a younger parenting phase. Once again, she has penned a character who is relatable as a mother who wants it all but is going to have to make choices, ones that won’t affect most men. It’s such a great observation of family and the things we’ll do for those we love. • • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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The main character of this novel, Ruth Devon, was a successful college basketball player who, after a career-ending injury, married her coach and had a baby, but then became an NBA sideline reporter and analyst. Most of this book is set during the NBA finals when Ruth’s daughter is about to graduate from high school, and Ruth is pursuing a job as the very first female NBA announcer while at the same time grappling with thoughts about how her career has affected her motherhood and other relationships. Ruth is a terrific character, not perfect by any means but feels very real, and this book really explores interesting themes regarding the balance between pursuing a demanding and successful career and being a mother - would make a great book club book. The basketball games and commentary also came very much to life, though I think this book could also be enjoyed by someone who is not a sports fan.

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Whether or not you are a basketball fan, you will love this book about the choices women have to make when balancing a demanding career with motherhood. Ruth Devon lives and breathes basketball. She played at Georgetown University, but was sidelined in her senior season with a major injury. She married one of her coaches (after he left the university), got pregnant with her daughter Ariana, and fell into a career calling games on the radio. Years later, Ruth has (almost) reached the pinnacle of her career. She is a sideline reporter for NBA games, working with her ex-husband, who is a color commentator. She occasionally gets to call a game from the booth, and now that her ex-husband is retiring, she wants to get his job. Her daughter is almost grown and is pursuing a career in modeling after she graduates from high school. But there may be a spanner in the works of her plan to become the color commentator (or several spanners, really). She has to decide what is most important to her - her child? her significant other? her career? How can she balance all three? Will the network give her the job she so obviously deserves, or will she lose it to another former coach (like her ex-husband) because of prejudice and the assumption that no one wants to listen to a woman call an NBA game? Is she ready to "retire" and be a mom again, or does she put her career first once again? Ruth obviously is fantastic at her job, but she still feels inadequate because that keeps her from her child. Any woman will tell you that this is not a conversation men typically have with themselves; they rarely agonize over missing important milestones because of work. But women are expected to be both a mother and a career woman, not missing a beat in either role, which is, quite frankly, impossible. Or they are judged for not being a "good" mother or "good" employee for having to choose between the two. I loved this book because whether or not you agree with Ruth's choices, it makes you think about what you would do in her place (or what you have done in similar circumstances). It underscores how much family needs can derail the career of a woman, unless she has tremendous familial support (as Ruth does), and how women often must decide, family or career, while men are offered the opportunity of both because they have a partner willing to take up the slack. This is especially relevant right now, when scores of women had to leave the workforce to take care of children and oversee their virtual schooling during the pandemic. Thanks to Netgalley for the advance copy of this insightful book.

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This book was very well done. I love reading books with journalists as the main character but a sports caster was a new one for me. I had to scan some of the basketball talk instead of REALLY reading it because it was lost upon me but the story itself was very enjoyable.

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I was not expecting to like this story as much as I did! Super fun main character, Ruth. She's full of life and passion and I want to be best friends with her!

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I really enjoyed this book. With the thousands and thousands of books being published each year, I really love when an author takes a somewhat common story or relationship to explore, and sets in a non-traditional set of circumstances. This book isn't just about a woman working with her ex-husband in an arena mainly dominated by males. It is set on the sidelines and in the announcing booths of the NBA, which adds such a high profile, high stakes backdrop that it immediately heightens the tensions of each relationship, each line of dialogue, and each discovery. When Ruth is forced to choose which direction her life will take unexpectedly, it strikes right at the heart of a dilemma that women face every single day.

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This was one of my favorite reads of the year. The struggle between motherhood and career, traditional gender roles, and being a woman in a male/dominated field was incredibly well written.

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I very much enjoyed this as a reader, woman, and sports media producer. Recommend to anyone interested in one of the three! Thanks to #netgalley for the copy!

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