I’m not sure exactly where the author intends Nothing Ordinary to fall in their series, except as a prequel perhaps.
It was originally written as a series, then re-edited, new material added, and now re-released just as the first book in the series was arriving. So it acts as a informative lead-in for Pietro’s story. Much of Pietro’s history and his relationship with his brother is relayed here. So if you loved that book like I did, it’s worth it for that alone.
But this is Gabe and Ezra’s story. So the events run almost concurrently to those in Switch – Hitter (Hit and Run #1) . Many scenes will seem familiar if you’ve read the other book.
Gabe, the older brother who, due to a car accident, lost his career in the Major Leagues, his marriage, his self esteem. He’s now a private school high school volleyball coach, angry, and alone. Not a happy man.
Ezra Mandel , the new culinary teacher is many things:
A culinary genius.
A first-time teacher.
An anxious mess.
He looks the same age as his students and has a deep case of social anxiety, made worse by an
abusive ex. None of those elements make him think his experience as a teacher in high school is going to go well.
It doesn’t. He runs into Gabe in the teachers lounge on his first day who yells at him to get out, thinking Ezra’s a student. It goes downhill quickly from there.
This story of opposites attract, enemies to lovers has a lot of promise. Each man has problematic areas to their character. Gabe is dealing with issues of self esteem, anger, loss of career, and even sibling jealousy/envy. He feels he’s never good enough. Anger is his fall back emotion.
Ezra is full of anxiety, a people pleaser who can’t tolerate loud voices, especially those raised in rage. His low self esteem pounded into him by an abusive ex who enjoyed hurting him. A culinary genius who can’t stand the pressure of the kitchen.
These are all complicated elements and needs it’s equal in storytelling. While Lindsey did a good job dealing with Ezra’s anxiety (therapy, communication, meds) and Gabe’s issues of career loss, low esteem, and envy, I not sure Gabe’s elements got addressed enough. Of all three characters who had emotional issues, (Ezra, Pietro, Gabriel) , Gabe is the only person not seeing a therapist. I kept thinking anger management classes were the least he needed. If you have to continually excuse a teacher’s behavior because he’s “complicated’?
Flags , people, flags.
Which brings me to a couple of major concerns or issues I have here. And spoilers territory ! I like these characters. I do. I find them sympathetic, mostly.
Lindsey has both Pietro and Gabe use their celebrity influence as MLB players, past and present, to make important local changes. Include a trans player on a team against the Administration’s wishes, push rulings, whatever. They use what they’re are , rich and well known, to make changes. Over and over. They are local boys made great. Point made.
Even if Gabe feels like a has been, he’s not.
If Lindsey had just explored all the ramifications of these two polar opposites getting together, it would have made for a fascinating story.
But there’s another ugly element thrown in. One of an attempted sexual assault. It happens, it’s over. And other then a very minimal amount of mentions to the aftermath. Done. Yes, Therapy. Yes. Fired. Yada. Yada. But basically , that’s it for such a serious topic.
To my mind, if you’re going to introduce such a sensitive and horrific situation, (it happens on the page, but is swiftly dealt with), then I think there’s an obligation to make this section as relevant and responsible as possible. Gabe and Pietro have the influence to have this person arrested, he’s a sexual predator, who’s been in a high school.
But there’s no follow through here. On any aspect really of this situation.
It’s pretty much glosses over considering the gravity and scope of the scene.
I just didn’t get it. The story flies quickly to the end, and Gabe and Ezra’s HEA.
I didn’t read the serial so I have no idea which sections were added and what’s original. But if the assault scenes were added afterwards, it makes sense, because they don’t feel as thoughtfully written as Ezra’s anxiety or Gabe’s relationship with Pietro.
So it’s worth reading if you want to read the entire Hit and Run series and want all the background. This is great for that.
Read it for Ezra, and yes Gabe. I’m sure we will be seeing them again later on in the series, not just in Pietro’s story, which I highly recommend.
Hit and Run series:
✓ Nothing Ordinary #0
✓ Switch-Hitter #1
◦ Line Drive #2 – out July 2022
Ezra Mandel is many things:
A culinary genius.
A first-time teacher.
An anxious mess.
And helplessly attracted to the rudest, most grumpy man he has ever had the misfortune of meeting.
Ezra knows his first semester ever teaching at a private school is going to be a disaster. What he doesn’t expect is to get into a rivalry with the volleyball coach who can’t stand him. But the more he gets to know Gabriel Bassani, the more he starts to realize his pain is a lot deeper than the surface of his skin.
And Gabriel is a complicated man. He’s lived in the shadow of his MLB star brother for most of his life, his past marriage was a disaster, and he’s long-since stopped believing in love. But Ezra—persistent, beautiful, irritating Ezra—is the kind of man who refuses to give up, and Gabriel isn’t sure if he wants to beg him to stop, or beg him to keep going.
Whatever they have isn’t ordinary, but then again, ordinary isn’t something either of them has ever wanted.
This book features a low-angst, slow burn, enemies to lovers romance with a nervous sunshine culinary professor in his first year of teaching, a grumpy ex MLB player with a chip on his shoulder the size of Wrigley Field, a gaggle of students who enjoy making bets on the teacher’s lives, and a happily ever after that just might feel like a world record breaking home run.
Nothing Ordinary is a previously released serial novel in the Hit and Run series, now with 15,000 words of revised and additional content.