Prank wars and fraternities go hand and hand, much like the sometimes friendly rivalry between jocks and nerds. But when a prank between Alpha Lambda Alpha and Sigma Mu Taus goes bad, leaving the ALA’s kitchen with considerable fire damage, the dean has had enough. If the two frats can’t come together and figure a way to end the rivalry, then the dean will have no choice but to end both fraternities.
Alpha Lambda Alpha takes the Quiz Bowl quite seriously, just as the Sigma Mu Taus put all of their effort into their flag football team. In order to placate the dean and save their houses, two members of ALA must compete (no benching them) in the flag football games, and two SMTs must participate in the Quiz Bowl. They will not be alternates. Full participation, or no more fraternities.
Dobbs is the captain of the Quiz Bowl team and now has to take in two jocks, losing team members who actually know what they’re doing in the process. The only way this could be worse is if one of the jocks in question happens to be Knox, star running back — who spends more than enough time running that tight, hot body through Dobbs’ dreams. So, guess what the universe decided to do? Now, Dobbs is stuck with the most stuck up man on campus, trying to force feed the brainless wonder enough trivia to keep from losing their chances at taking first place.
Jesse Knox is holding onto his football scholarship with both hands, studying for his BSN in nursing and staying competitive during the off season. What he doesn’t need is this stupid Quiz Bowl adding more stress and taking away even more of his time. It doesn’t help that the snottier than thou, and snarkier than hell Dobbs is his tutor.
For all that there are two authors in this book, each of them taking different sections, I found the writing to be absolutely seamless. The writing is light and effortless, with a fast paced, tightly focused plot, and the two authors succeed in interweaving the characters of the upcoming stories in the Nerds vs. Jocks series into this cheerful, sweet, and charming romance between Dobbs and Jesse without ever pulling focus away from the main characters.
The set up is standard enough, with an expected us vs them dichotomy rife with preconceptions and misunderstandings aplenty as both Dobbs and Jesse are quick to judge each by their reputations and superficial expressions, assuming motives and personality based solely on the whole jock and nerd stereotype before actually settling down to know each other. A family emergency forces the two of them to spend time together, and emotional exhaustion and the distraction of a charming little brother and a loving family brings the two of them closer together.
Away from their frat brothers — the people they want to show off to and be respected by — they’re able to relax and just be themselves. There’s a particular form of peer pressure that happens in college as people socialize with a variety of friends, all of whom all have their expectations, preconceptions, biases, and behaviors, and their own desires to impress and stand out. People want to fit in, to be welcomed, to have the safety and comfort of friends, and it can make it hard to just let all the posturing and affectation go. Jesse and Dobbs find a kindred spirit in one another and they’re friends before they know it. Their relationship, both before and during the romance, feels easy and inviting.
The Jocks vs. Nerds series may not reinvent the enemies to lovers trope, but the two authors have introduced me to a group of characters I look forward to spending more time with. This is a friendly, happy, and lighthearted romance and I strongly recommend it, especially if you’re having a blah sort of day.