by Meryl Wilsner
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Pub Date 19 Sep 2023 | Archive Date 03 Oct 2023
St. Martin's Press, St. Martin's Griffin
* USA TODAY BESTSELLER *
A sapphic rivals to lovers rom com for fans of Ted Lasso and A League of Their Own, where two soccer teammates are at odds before falling in love as their team gears up for the World Cup.
Grace Henderson has been a star of the US Women’s National Team for ten years, even though she’s only 26. But when she’s sidelined with an injury, a bold new upstart, Phoebe Matthews, takes her spot. 22-year-old Phoebe is everything Grace isn’t—a gregarious jokester who plays with a joy that Grace lost somewhere along the way. The last thing Grace expects is to become teammates with benefits with this class clown she sees as her rival.
Phoebe Matthews is too focused on her first season as a professional soccer player to think about seducing her longtime idol. But when Grace ends up making the first move, they can’t keep their hands off of each other.
As the World Cup approaches and Grace works her way back from injury, a miscommunication leaves the women with hilariously different perspectives on their relationship. But they’re on the same page on the field, realizing they can play together instead of vying for the same position. With every tackle the tension between them grows, and both players soon have to decide what's more important—being together or making the roster.
The perfect blend of funny and steamy, Meryl Wilsner’s Cleat Cute is about being brave enough to win on and off the field.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 1315 members
Another hit by Meryl Wilsner! I love sapphic sports romances so imagine my delight seeing the author's next book was this. Both characters had great chemistry from the beginning and I love a good friends with benefits to lovers. I also appreciated the lack of unnecessary drama. Instead, the "conflict" was more funny. Plus, the steaminess of the love scenes?! 10/10.
Fans of Meryl Wilsner's previous books will love this too. 5 out of 5 stars.
I don’t even know where to begin! Cleat Cute was such a fun and exciting read. It has the perfect amount of romance, drama, and just enough spice! I absolutely loved Grace and Phoebe, and I especially enjoyed the the secondary characters like Gabby, Madeeha, and Fish. I almost wish Wilsner didn’t write such interesting secondary characters because I just wanted to keep reading about them!
Cleat Cute also has it all if you’re looking for diversity and representation. Wilsner always does an excellent job writing queer and poc characters, and in this book they focused a lot more on neurodivergent characters. It was refreshing to read a book that included all of these characters.
My only problem with this book is that I wish it was longer! We obviously got a lot of Grace and Phoebe interactions throughout the whole story, but I would have loved to read more of them actually together in a relationship. I just didn’t want this story to ever end!
Cleat Cute is not one to miss. It’s Wilsner’s best book by far and I can’t wait for it to come out!
CLEAT CUTE was an absolute joy to read. this sapphic romcom was a hilarious & tender exploration of doing what you love on your own terms, chasing your dreams, and falling for who you least expect.
I was truly surprised to be offered the chance to review this ARC for Meryl Wilsner’s new book. Cleat Cute comes out September 19, 2023 and it is definitely worth checking out. I love how dimensional and relatable the characters are in this book. They feel so feel to me. I loved getting to know more about soccer and the love Phoebe and Grace has for the sport is seriously contagious. I found myself wanting to know more so I could join in with their excitement. I found myself really invested in the plot to this and the spicy scenes were just an added bonus. Wilsner is perfect at balancing the sweet with the spicy and blending it all together to make a really amazing book. Thank you so much to the author and St. Martins Press for the chance to review this book.
I fell in love with Meryl’s writing after reading Mistakes Were Made so I went into this one with high expectations and I can say I was NOT disappointed! Phoebe and Grace are badass women, they’re funny, sexy, complex, and well rounded characters I immediately wanted to see end up together. From the start I’m rooting for them both off and on the field and seeing a relationship that allows for people to be messy is such a breath of fresh air. Also, seeing neurodivergent characters on the page made me feel seen, as an AuDHDer myself. Seeing characters who struggle the same way I do and still being successful humans made me so freaking happy. Seriously, I can’t wait for this book to drop so I can read it all over again! Thanks so much to Meryl and St Martins Press for the ARC!!
I have been a fan of Meryl Wilsner's books since the first one I read, but I think that Cleat Cute is their best yet. Grace and Phoebe are delightful characters, full of fun and flaws. Wilsner's specialty of idiots to idiots who are also in love is present here to its fullest extent. They're so stupid (affectionate). The soccer information is incredibly well done. People who are already fans of the sport will delight in the myriad of references to real life WOSO events, though readers without the background knowledge will still understand the structure of what is happening.
As usual, Wilsner juggles a variety of identities and life circumstances with ease, flowing them naturally into the plot and characterization of the main cast and supporting characters. The world feels well-rounded and fully descriptive. And the sex scenes--scorching, unsurprisingly, as well as touching and enlightening.
Cleat Cute is hot, funny, romantic, and engaging. It's a home run. Or a bicycle kick, or something soccer-y and extremely cool and good.
Meryl Wilsner has done it again! Cleat Cute is an adorable romance that combines some of the best aspects of her previous work; with amazing steamy scenes like in "Mistakes Were Made" and heartfelt "workplace" romance like in "Something to Talk About" (if you count a soccer field as a workplace) Grace and Phoebe are the best characters. I loved the undiagnosed ADHD x undiagnosed autism power couple representation, as well as the (not-so) hidden themes of prioritizing what you want in life. Overall, so cute, perfect amount of steam, and you will be sucked into this story- I read this in less than 24 hours! Thank you St. Martin's Press for the advanced copy!
As my most anticipated book of the year, I had the highest of high expectations for this one. Which is almost comical considering I know negative zero about sports. Truly Meryl Wilsner is the only human who could write anything about the sports ball and I get so excited to read about it. You'll be happy to know that they absolutely knocked it out of the park!
Grace and Phoebe were both such well rounded characters. While each dealt with either ADHD or autism, it wasn't harped on or made to be a huge barrier to their relationship. If anything, it was truly done with such care and wholesomeness. While keeping the usual Meryl-sizzle, we also see them showing love by assisting each other with doctors appointments, schedules, and various other things they struggled with. The LGBTQ+ representation was also perfectly done! Inclusion of transgender, bi, etc characters just added an extra layer of inclusion to an otherwise normal sapphic romance.
Did I mention the 🔥🔥?! All I can say is good thing it's hot here because I needed a cold shower after some of Grace and Phoebes encounters!! This is truly one of if not the very best Sapphic romance of the year! The only downfall is another year or so until their next release. 😭
Thank you to NetGalley, Meryl Wilsner, and St. Martins Press for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Give me more books like this!!! I will definitely be reading more by this author. After being a bit let down by a YA queer soccer book recently, I was so happy with this NA queer soccer book. This book is sporty, spicy, and so very fun! There is a lot of inner monologue-ing, but I honestly enjoyed being in the characters’ heads. Phoebe and Grace feel like old friends at this point. I have a hard time reading ebooks (even though I wish my brain would just let me read them as fast I can pour through physical books and audiobooks), but that did not hinder my love for this book. Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC!
Cleat Cute is the sapphic soccer romance I didn't even realize I needed so deeply. As a queer romance reader and women's soccer fan, this was a perfect read for a World Cup year. The grumpy-sunshine, veteran-rookie dynamics between Grace and Phoebe were a delight to read. I also really appreciated the unexpected neurodivergent representation.
Meryl Wilsner does it again! And this time they got me to care about sports!
This book has a really sweet progression of the two main characters relationship and their banter was a joy to read.
I absolutely adored this book! I feel like Meryl Wilsner only gets better and better with each book! It was a sweet romance with a happy ending and two very likable but still flawed characters. It was so entertaining and enjoyable to see the characters grow both separately and together and to get to watch their journey. It made the end even more satisfying. Absolutely would recommend to anyone!
I have a new favorite sapphic romcom! I devoured this book - I absolutely love it! Phoebe - rookie to the team - and Grace - veteran and captain - are the cutest ❤️I love the way their relationship develops and the way they grow as individuals. Theirs is a beautiful love story about finding what you love, being out publicly, and learning to adapt to and grow in unknown situations. I found myself identifying personality-wise with Phoebe and dating-history-wise with Grace. Finding bits of myself in the characters definitely endeared their story to me more, and gave me the hope I need to pursue my own dreams. Again, I absolutely love and adore this book - I will definitely be getting a physical copy when it comes out to add to my collection. We need more sapphic sports romances in this world!
Cleat Cute is the perfect romance novel for fans of Ted Lasso! This sapphic sports romance between soccer rivals turned (sort of) friends with benefits is such a great read. Meryl Wilsner is back with a spicy FF romance that brings the spice to these complex, multi-faceted characters. Cleat Cute is an opposites attract romance between a grumpy veteran soccer star and a sunshiney rookie on the team. These two are so cute together and I love their banter so much! I cannot wait to read what Wilsner writes next :)
I didn’t know how I was going to feel about this book since it’s based on soccer, but I will literally love anything Meryl Wilsner writes. They did such a fantastic job of embodying both ADHD and ASD/OCD. Phenom and Hendy are such goals!
I loved this! Very sweet and very cute. Love the exploration of how different being out can be for different people. Great sapphic read! Loved the characters and the side characters.
“Cleat Cute” was the heartwarming romance I needed in my life right now! I feel like I have been a Grace most of my life and resonated with being the responsible one, more introverted and rigid. There were times in the book that Grace’s friends and loved ones talked to her and it felt like they were talking to me too. Grace and Phoebe’s romance isn’t perfect- it is two people who have faults and obstacles which all of us do. I loved the representation of different gender identities and will definitely be recommending this book to my friends!
I was absolutely obsessed with this one. Such a cute story, a high priority purchase for all collections looking for sapphic representation.
This book was (phenom)enal! A dual-POV story from Pheobe and Grace - two new teammates on the New Orleans Women's Soccer team. It's a heartwarming story with funny banter and hilarious miscommunication (not in the way you think - it's cute!) I highly recommend this lgbtq+ romance to anyone who loves love and some great spicy scenes.
HUGE thank you to Meryl Wilsner, St. Martin's Press, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ARC!
SO OBSESSED WITH THIS BOOK!!!! Wilsner made me realize that I should’ve been a passionate women’s soccer fan all along. Such a beautiful grumpy/sunshine, rookie/veteran love story. “Cleat Cute” was an effortless read with gloriously steamy wlw scenes. Within the first few chapters, I was equally in love with Grace and Phoebe. My favorite part of the book was how well Wilsner wrote about neurodiversity. I absolutely CACKLED when Grace mentioned autism TikTok because that’s what I was thinking the entire book.
Fantastic read and I can’t wait to read the rest of Wilsner’s backlog!
Wilsner does it again, bringing us yet another super sexy romcom with delightful queer characters getting in their own way. With a deft hand, Wilsner manages to create two complicated, neurodivergent characters without making the story about their neurodivergence. As they navigate their unexpected romance, both Phoebe and Grace are endearingly chaotic and earnest, leaving the reader cheering them on while also screaming, "Just use your words!" Steamy sex scenes round out this delicious sapphic romance and will keep readers turning the pages until the end.
Honestly, it's been weeks since I finished this, and I'm still not sure I have my emotions together enough to write anything resembling a coherent review. Everything about this book is perfect. I am so deeply validated as a queer, neurodivergent person. It's sweet and lovely and sexy and wholesome and filled with care and sapphic yearning. To see 'diagnosed' neurodivergence is one thing, to see two people unaware of their own and muddling through until finding each other is quite another. The miscommunications were absolutely on point for the AuDHD relationship, as was the deep tenderness that came in reconciliation. But more than that, these are two whole characters with such beautiful histories finding themselves. I just... squeeeeeee. Meryl has officially ascended to the ranks of auto-buy author for me.
For anyone who is a fan of the USWNT and sapphic rom coms this book is perfection! The characters are developed so well and as a reader you cant help but fall in the love with them. All the nods to past USWNT players was fantastic. Of course Meryl nails the spicy scenes as they have with any of their previous books! Would highly recommend!
I know that every time I read a Meryl Wilsner book I end up saying it's my favorite, but this one is actually my favorite. I didn't think I need a sapphic soccer romance but oh boy was I wrong. This book was truly everything to me. Grace and Phoebe were both exceptional characters, and I love how Wilsner explores both of their flaws. Plus, the dynamic between all the other members of the team really added to the story. The ratio of sweet to spicy was perfect, and really made me fall in love with the friends with benefits to more than friends trope! This book has yet again proven that I will read absolutely anything Meryl Wilsner writes.
I am completely obsessed with this. Like had a laundry list of tasks to complete and instead convinced myself I'd do them after one more chapter only to end up realizing that it was way too late to do anything other than read so I miiight as well just finish the book obsessed. I loved how unique each of the characters felt, and I loved how the relationship grew while each of the women individually grew into themselves as well. It felt like a standalone, but I would love to see side characters get their own books just so we can check back in on Grace and Phoebe!
This book is what Bend It Like Beckham should’ve been!
Phenom rookie Phoebe gets drafted for a New Orleans soccer team and starts a friends-with-benefits situation with veteran star player Grace. Of course, things take some turns when they start to catch feelings. Hilarity and some miscommunications ensue.