Olly has grown up with hockey all around him. His father and his brothers are involved in the sport and not playing was never an option, even through injury. Olly’s now a professional hockey player and he’s having a rough time. Transferring to a new team can always be difficult, but Olly left his last team on bad terms and he can’t seem to get his head back in the game and find his way. Olly feels he has no choice but to hide because when his former team members found out he was gay, the news set off a storm of retaliation that Olly has yet to recover from. His new roommate is Benji and while Olly is determined to keep to himself, he certainly notices how good looking Benji is.
Benji is living his dream playing professional hockey and he’s looking forward to everything his rookie season has to offer him. Benji sees that Olly is struggling and offers support in the small moments that Olly lets him in. As the men spend more time together, Benji becomes protective of Olly and while he wants to be around him all the time, he can’t put a name to what he’s feeling — until their closeness ignites a spark that neither of them want to put out. But Olly hasn’t told Benji everything and a relationship between the two of them might alter their future in ways they aren’t ready for in the world of professional sports.
If you like hockey books with a lot of on page game time, Season’s Change offers plenty. We meet Olly as he’s coming onto a new team and he’s a mess. He’s been playing professional hockey for four years and he hasn’t found his groove because he’s always looking over his shoulder. After what happened with his last team, he’s on edge and he can’t sleep and he knows he needs to pull his game together but he’s struggling. Spending time with Benji soothes him in ways Olly can’t think about, but he constantly has to hold himself back with Benjj as well, as Olly has no plans to come out to anyone. As the book goes on, it becomes more clear that Olly has a lot of mental health issues to work through and I didn’t feel his issues were given the proper treatment for the severity of what we are shown.
Everyone likes Benji and he’s also a good hockey player. Benji finds himself drawn to Olly and their relationship is a slow build. The entire book is slow. Olly and Benji’s relationship is a slow burn as they establish a friendship and trust, but the entire story moved slowly. It takes too long to find out exactly what happened with Olly’s last team and it takes too long to understand where Benji’s attraction lies and the story spins around on itself too much for my liking.
There are several side characters that didn’t add much for me here, between other team members and Benji’s sister, and there were too many threads of storylines going on that didn’t go anywhere. The men also play for a fictional professional hockey league, with fictitious team names. But when they are watching football, they reference real football team names, and that didn’t all work for me. The POV changed between Olly and Benji, which I like to see, but there was never a clear indication that it was changing, and I had to reorient myself at times to figure out whose head we were in. The emotion also stayed the same throughout the book and no matter what was going in the story, everything came across as being on the same level.
The book did have its moments and picked up in the last 20%. However, I found it too slow overall with not enough relationship shown by the end of the book. The romantic arc for Olly and Benji didn’t feel complete to me and while there is another book coming in the series, it has not been revealed if Olly and Benji’s story will continue there.