Can first loves really be forever?
Nolan Lennox was strong, a survivor. She’d stood up to those who tore her down and found her purpose in life when she was at her lowest, her heart broken. And she was rewarded with the fairytale ending she’d always dreamed of. She spent four years loving Reed Johnson, the popular quarterback at her small town high school, earning his friendship first and, eventually, his heart. But fairy tales are fiction, and life…well, real life is messy. Can Reed and Nolan’s love survive the growing pains that come along with truly growing up?
I received Going Long from the author in exchange for an honest review. Going Long is the sequel to Waiting on the Sidelines.
Waiting on the Sidelines is narrated by Nolan alone, but Going Long alternates between Nolan’s voice and Reed’s. It’s good to get a look inside Reed’s head for once, instead of just Nolan’s. (There’s an interview with Reed here but it contains MAJOR Waiting on the Sidelines spoilers, so you should not read it if you haven’t read that book yet. I’m serious! Don’t do it!)
Reed starts the book, picking up two years after the end of Waiting on the Sidelines. I was initially disappointed that Going Long didn’t start immediately after Waiting on the Sidelines, but Reed fills in the important information. There’s another change, too: Waiting on the Sidelines covers Nolan and Reed’s entire high school years (I loved that!), but Going Long only covers one year of college, and most of it takes place in the first semester of Reed and Nolan’s junior year of college.
They’re still attending different colleges and Reed’s considering entering the pro draft after football season. It’s a big step for him, and for Nolan, who worries about what her own future will look like. She has career plans, but she’s not sure how they mesh with Reed’s pro football dreams. Nolan wants to avoid discussing or even thinking about the draft and of course Reed is excited about it.
I feel like Nolan lost a little bit of herself somewhere in the first two years of college. The Nolan from high school seemed a lot stronger, although she wasn’t dealing with issues quite as intense as the ones Nolan faces in Going Long. Communication has often been a problem for Nolan and Reed and that, combined with a 100 mile distance between their schools and busy college (and football) schedules, takes its toll yet again. I wanted to shake them both at different times! Jealousy is a factor, too. It comes from both sides and could all be solved with a little communication, but it doesn’t take much for things spin quickly out of control.
All of Nolan’s good friends from high school are still in her life, even those at other schools (Sean and Becky). It’s great to see that she still has those strong friendships. There’s nothing like old friends who will take care of you when you need it and tell it like it is when that’s what you need.
There are a few side stories, mainly Reed’s family relationships with his father, his mother, and even his brother Jason. It’s interesting that Reed gets the family stories instead of Nolan, but I’m not complaining. I always did love his father Buck, so any Buck storyline gets a thumbs up from me! There’s one scene with Buck yelling at Reed and Jason that I love. It must be difficult as a parent to see your children not getting along, especially as they enter adulthood and prepare to move on with their lives and create new families of their own.
While nearing the end of Going Long I was torn between hoping for a third book and being afraid that Nolan and Reed don’t have any more story to be told. An epilogue wraps everything up nicely and I don’t need another book about them anymore, although I certainly wouldn’t refuse to read one if another ever pops up! I’m definitely going to be looking forward to whatever Ginger Scott publishes next, whatever the story.