Baseball star Will Vandergriff knows any number of women who would happily pretend to be his girlfriend. In a last-ditch effort to restore his good standing with his team’s higher-ups, he enlists the help of his neurotic, goody-goody neighbor. Schoolteacher Olivia Pratt might be a bit quirky and a bit of a loner, but she’s a lot more inviting than she knows. Will hopes that bringing her to his next game might revamp his reckless reputation and help get his career back on track. The only problem? The plan works a little too well. Not only do the higher-ups love Olivia, but Will plays his best game yet. Suddenly his losing streak is a thing of the past, and Olivia is his new good-luck charm. Will feels anything but lucky.
After years of keeping the world at bay, Olivia Pratt is pulling off the ultimate performance—not only reluctantly posing as Will’s girlfriend but also insisting that she’s oblivious to his major-league appeal. But she can only lie to herself for so long. Being by Will’s side feels good. Really good. Maybe it’s finally time to make a pitch for everything she really wants—and to find out just how exhilarating love can be.
The Thirteenth Chance gave me one of the most enjoyable reading experiences I've had in a long time—and as someone who reads nearly constantly, that's saying something!
Here's the thing: The Thirteenth Chance is not deep or insightful. But it's FUN. And sometimes, that's exactly what you need. I stayed up far past my bedtime two nights in a row to read this gem of a novel. Am I paying for it even as I type this? Yes. Was it worth it? Absolutely.
I love the way the novel is written—in first person present tense, alternating between Olivia and Will. Done poorly, present tense novels drive me crazy. But here, Matayo used the point of view perfectly.
Olivia is an odd duck; I'm not sure if I've ever read a book with a more neurotic protagonist. But she is also incredibly likable, and I so wanted her to find her happily ever after with Will. Will is not the type of man I would normally root for in a novel—he's the type of man I would normally root against. He's a bad boy—a player. He's one of those guys who knows he's good looking. But something changes when he meets Olivia, and I cheered him on as he both became a better man and fell in love.
If The Thirteenth Chance simply featured a great romance, it would be a very enjoyable book. But what makes it really stand out is the humor. So many times, I'll pick up a book marketed as a romantic comedy and not chuckle once while I'm reading it. But I laughed out loud many times while reading this novel! My biggest laugh came Olivia discovered one of Will's secrets—I can't tell you more than that because I don't want to spoil anything; trust me when I say it's hilarious!
I read so many books that I rarely go back to any for a second read through, but I can definitely see myself reading The Thirteenth Chance again. It's seriously (seriously!) so fun! 5 stars.
Buy the book.
Read my reviews of Matayo's The Wedding Game (4 stars), In Tune with Love (4-1/2 stars), and A Painted Summer (4-1/2 stars).
Not really. Not even her kids are afraid of her.
She graduated with barely passing grades from John Brown University with a degree in Journalism. But she's proud of that degree and all the ways she hasn't put it to good use.
She laughs often, cries easily, feels deeply, and loves hard. She lives in Arkansas with her husband and four kids and is working on her next novel.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."