The characters fell flat for me, leaving me detached from their trials and successes. The subplots are weak and often baffling as to their purpose and resolution. I don't like sports but I LOVE sports movies. I love the prevailing hero, the winner against all odds. What I love about sports movies is also what I look for in fiction. I want a hero. I want an underdog, at some point, to come out on top announcing victory against all odds. I didn't find a hero here. All the potential in the world exists for a number of heroes, but alas, not one comes forth with the passion of a big win. Main character, Joséphine, never takes her power back with the fervor I hoped to see. I want to jump up from my chair and shout "Atta girl!" or some other like sentiment but there's none of that here. Just quiet acceptance of the potential to make an impact and then the final curtain falls.
This novel is right on the verge of taking its place among my favorite sports-movieesque novels, it just never quite makes it. Perhaps the most poignant aspect of my disappointment is that Pancol created characters struggling with some very difficult and heart wrenching challenges but even with the groundwork all laid, the passion in those trials is missing and the opportunity to create dynamic, vibrant, lasting characters is missed. The emotions are mentioned but more as credits rolling by. I couldn't feel for characters written without feeling.
You will find an official plot line description at: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/809094664.