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Publisher's Summary

What happened in high school stayed in high school. Until now.

Five years ago Michael Graham betrayed the only person who ever really knew him. Since then he's made an art of hiding his sexual orientation from everyone. Including himself. So it's a shock when his past strolls right into the Harkness College locker room, sporting a bag of hockey gear and the same slow smile that had always rendered Graham defenseless.

For Graham, there is only one possible reaction: total, debilitating panic. With one loose word, the team's new left wing could destroy Graham's life as he knows it.

John Rikker is stuck being the new guy. Again. And it's worse than usual, because the media has latched on to the story of the only "out" player in Division One hockey. As the satellite trucks line the sidewalk outside the rink, his new teammates are not amused. And one player in particular looks sick every time he enters the room.

Rikker didn't exactly expect a warm welcome from Graham. But the guy won't even meet his eyes. From the looks of it, his former...best friend/boyfriend/whatever isn't doing so well. He drinks too much and can't focus during practice.

Either the two loneliest guys on the team will self-destruct from all the new pressures in their lives, or they can navigate the pain to find a way back to one another. To say that it won't be easy is the understatement of the year.

Warning: Unlike the other books in this series, this heartbreaking love story is about two guys. Contains sexual situations, dance music, snarky T-shirts, and a poker-playing grandmother.

©2014 Sarina Bowen (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

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One of my favorite audiobooks of 2016!!

Sarina Bowen absolutely CRUSHED this one, and I LOVED every second of it! To say that I adored The Understatement of the Year would be, well, the freakin' UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE YEAR!

First, I have to put an important message out to all of the lovers of the AUDIOBOOK of Him: Buy The Understatement of the Year in audio format. I'm telling you, it is worth every single penny. For those lovers of Him, you will instantly recognize the voice of Teddy Hamilton, and you will also ADORE the voice of Christian Fox. Listen up all M/M authors: These men should narrate MORE audiobooks! They have voices to DIE for, and they completely made this audiobook their BITCH. I'm in love with their readings, and they have become my top narrators to watch for.

The story was also pure new adult, sweaty hockey player gold. For me, 2016 has been my year of hockey romances, and they are my newest obsession. This book was hockey-tastic. I loved all of the hockey details, but they absolutely didn't get in the way of the romance.

The romance was... gah, amazing. I can go either way with reunited former lovers stories, but this one gutted me. Slow-burn, painful closet, sneaking around... it destroyed me in the best way. I was near tears at times, and I feeeelt for these guys. Their love story wrecked me, and I thought that their chemistry was insane.

I could go on and on gushing about this story, but the bottom line is that Sarina Bowen crafted a beautiful love story and picked perfect narrators to bring it to life. I will forever read Sarina Bowen now because this story blew me away. JUST BUY IT!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Love the duo narration, interesting story

From the blurb we can tell that this is a “second chance” love story. Two boys who fell for each other at the wrong time, have lived apart for years, are now suddenly thrown back into one another’s lives.

Rikker is out and proud, and Graham is still hiding behind beards and denial.

What proceeds is a long and angst-filled romance that hides behind closed doors for the most part, until Graham can’t stand the strain any longer.

**

I avoided reading this book originally because –though it got many 4 and 5 star reviews – several key issues made me cringe. 1) I don’t tend to like re-union love stories. I like the original blush of new love far too much to see lovers find one another again. 2) I didn’t like the YA aspect of this. Too much angst. Not enough sex. 3) The fact that it’s part of a M/F series written by an M/F author.

But… I love hockey stories. I love coming out stories. I LOVED Him by Sarina Bowen and finally – when this came out on audio it had two narrators which really flipped my switch when I listened to Him.

So, I gave it a go.

All in all it wasn’t bad. I agree with the preivous reviewers who noted that Graham and Rikker don’t act like teenagers, but young men with real life problems. However, I never warmed to Graham and felt like he was a big whiny baby for most of the book. Even when he finally makes the right decision, it wasn’t enough for me to really like him as a character.

Rikker was awesome and I wish he’d been more forceful with Graham and earlier on.

The other secondary characters are interesting, but since their stories are all part of the M/F series – I won’t be reading them.

I guess I enjoyed this, but I wouldn’t be tempted to read/listen to it again, because I was pulling my hair out over Graham’s ridiculous inner monologues.

Story 3 of 5 stars

Audio

The audio is the only saving grace (for me) with this book. I loved the alternating voices and really felt immersed in the story. I really liked how well both narrators captured the emotion and it’s great having two distinct voices tell a story like this.

Audio 5 of 5 stars

Overall 4 of 5 stars

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Wanted good read. Didn't expect it to be best read

This audiobook has been in my collection for months, being one of my early purchases after joining Audible. (I now have 200+ titles). After finishing my last one -- which was average and I can't recall the title of it -- I was craving a really good read. I'd purchased "The Understatement of the Year" because it was by the co-author of "Him" (my very first Audible purchase), which I loved, and because the synopsis sounded like it would be similar. So I knew "Understatement" would not likely be a disappointment.

When I started it -- and for the first hour or more -- the problem was that I kept comparing it to "Him"... only I didn't like how closeted Graham was (whereas I loved both of the guys in "Him"), and so I was always mad at him. But then today I came to a startling realization: I am Graham, so completely closeted myself, and I've been subconsciously identifying with him!

Today totally broke me. I'd been on my way home from work and was pulled over to finish the scene I was at. I now suspect it will prove to be the penultimate scene of the book. (I still have around 1 1/2 hour to go). I didn't, as sometimes happens, get merely teary-eyed... I absolutely started balling my eyes out (which delayed my getting home even more!) That has NEVER happened with another audiobook. So I can now say "Understatement of the Year" has surpassed "Him".

My high rating is not just because of that one scene. The minor characters have greater depth. And the subtext is superb. With Hartley, for instance, I don't think even Ricker understood why Hartley took off like he did (that he was angry) but then came back to ask him if he wanted to go get a slice of pizza (that he was pushing back against his own anger). The understatement was truly remarkable writing.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Audio Cherry Popped!

This was my first audio book and I absolutely loved it!!! I'd already read the Kindle version of the book and wanted o try the audio version.

Needless to say I was very happy with it. Teddy Hamilton and Christian Fox were awesome. Awesome awesome awesome. Sigh.

I loved how I could do other things while still listening to the book. Such convenience!

I'm now an audiobook convert. And Happily so!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A+ rating...

My Review:
Overall: 4.75
Performance: 4.5
Story: 4.75

I have so much utter love for this book. Wow, it was absolutely incredible.

The setup for the story is fabulous. Graham and Rikker were best friends in high school...and then more. But one night they weren't as discreet as they should have been and were the victims of a hate assault. Graham took off and abandoned Rikker...who could have died. They never saw one another again...until college. They both play hockey and for a while both were safely hidden in the closet. But then Rikker was outed and thrown off the team at his last college...something the governing body of college hockey did not take well. They transferred him to Harkness, where Graham goes to school.

Graham is DEEP within the closet whereas Rikker has made national news for what happened to him...everyone knows he's gay. As a result, Graham acts like he doesn't even know Rikker, although the chemistry between them is just as powerful as ever. But for Rikker, that's easier to ignore because Graham continues to be such a jerk.

There is so much to love about this book. There are a TON of really complex and angst-filled emotions going on here. Graham is an absolute mess. He won't even admit to himself that he's gay. He has sex with women...usually drunk so he doesn't notice who he's sticking his dick into. As the reader/listener, I wanted to hate him, but he's just so lost and scared about being discovered. He's truly a hot mess. On the other hand is Rikker, who never planned to be out, but now handles it all in stride although he hates being the "gay guy" on the team. He just wants to be a hockey player...easy...done...at least it should be, but that's never the way it works. I absolute ADORED Rikker's character. While he hates Graham's actions, he understands why he's doing what he is. Rikker has amazing empathy.

And then there are the side characters who I love...Bella, the team assistant and resident ho...I did not think I would like her so much, but wow, she turned out to be incredible. She's such a support system for Rikker which is huge since he's basically the outcast at the school. Then there's the team captain, Hartley. I love how he simply accepts the situations Rikker brings in stride.

This book was absolutely fabulous on audio. I highly recommend reading it this way, although I will admit to ordering a print copy of the book for my keeper shelf. I'm looking forward to sitting down and reading the book to see if I enjoy it as much in that format.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Amazing story!

There was nothing I disliked about this book. The story is heartbreakingly beautiful. The narration is Amazing and I wish there was a second book! And third or fourth! I want to know how their lives turn out.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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My first MM is still a favorite of mine.

Any additional comments?

This was my first foray into the world of same-sex romance. Let's just say that I couldn't be happier with the book I have chosen to de-virginize me of this experience. This was wonderfully written, the sex scenes are tasteful--if not a bit lacking, and the characters are likeable. <br/><br/>Rikker is the new guy on the team. Kicked off his previous team when he was outted, Rikker didn't have many options. Luckily, the Coach at Harkness was willing to give him a shot. When he walks into the locker room no one bats an eye. His sexual orientation is still under wraps, but he knows it's only a matter of time before the team finds out. <br/><br/>After a night of serious flirting by Bella? the team manager chick, Rikker takes her to the side to inform her that she doesn't stand a chance because they are both into the same thing--guys. The friendship that builds between these two is awesome. Unfortunately for Bella she doesn't get the cool gay best friend with great fashion sense, but she does get hottie Rikker and his quick banter and good looks. <br/><br/>Graham is just going about his daily life as usual. Avoid long showers in the locker room, keep eyes down, keep up defensive shields. check, check, and check. Easy peasy, right? Yes. But then in walks the one and only person who knows that Graham is keeping a secret. When Rikker walks into that locker room, Graham<br/>becomes nervous. <br/><br/>These two have history, but only they know it. Rikker and Graham do everything they can to stay away from each other, but sometimes your first love is the only love that you want. <br/><br/>I like how this story isn't insta-love. We get enough back story to know that these two have history--lots of history--and we get enough of them in the present to know that they each have their demons to face. <br/><br/>I'm recommending this book if you've ever been curious to see (or read) about M/M romance. Plus, there's a bit of hockey and hockey books are fun (the guys are typically hot!)! ;-)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Narrate more books please!

I've been eyeing this book for a couple of months now. Since it's written by one of the authors of Him, I thought well why not give it a shot. Holy crap is it fantastic! First this is a super slow burn with low amounts of smut (lit. Like 5 scenes), but the story was magnificent. Rikker and Graham are two of the most loveable hardheaded characters ever, and I loved every second of them. I was so mad whenever I had to stop listening to work, or sleep lol.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Hot damn....

What did you love best about The Understatement of the Year?

I loved the narration! I really love teddy Hamilton's work, and I have picked up all his audiobooks that center on MM relationships. Sarina Bowen's ability to write. Story that captures the subtleties of budding romantic relationships among men while also getting the sex scenes right!

Who was your favorite character and why?

John Rikker. Likely it was partially related to The narration, but also because of his insight and willingness to take risks and be vulnerable. I was able to really relate to his character.

What about Teddy Hamilton and Christian Fox ’s performance did you like?

My god, their voices. They really captured the essence of the characters in their narration, which is really important to me. I hate listening to an audiobook where he narration clashes with the character or when it sounds like Siri is narrating the audiobook without any emotion.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When One of the characters experiences a close encounter with a substantial loss, which influences their budding relationship.

Any additional comments?

This is one of the top 3 audiobooks I have ever read. The story is well drafted and there aren't any narrators that could match the characters better than those chosen for this work. Five stars, emphatically and unapologetically!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Statement Of The YEAR!!!

If you could sum up The Understatement of the Year in three words, what would they be?

Denial,Forgiveness,Acceptance.

What did you like best about this story?

How one childhood incident can traumatize and affect two individuals and take them on separate journeys to find themselves and each other again.

Which scene was your favorite?

The scene between Graham and his mom in his dorm room (not providing any spoilers).<br/> Also Skippy's sassiness and his t-shirts.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It had it's moments. Overall it was a wonderful story.

Any additional comments?

Enjoyed audiobook with the duo-narration. <br/>Excellent narrators!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • BevS
  • 07-12-16

The story was better this time around.....

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, if they're prepared to accept that they'll get really annoyed with Michael Graham. The quality was really good.

Which character – as performed by Teddy Hamilton and Christian Fox – was your favourite?

John Rikker definitely. I loved Teddy Hamilton as Jamie Canning in Sarina Bowen/Elle Kennedy's HIM and was chuffed to bits he narrated Rikker.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I was furious with Graham after reading the story in 2015, and this audio mostly made me remember Graham's continuing refusal to grow a pair and come out of that closet. He was with Rikker, his bestie and even though they hadn't said the words, his boyfriend since childhood and they were both the victims of a hate crime...Rikker was beaten up for God's sake, and Graham still said nothing and didn't even visit Rikker in hospital cos he was a chicken!! Have to say though, for some reason this audio book helped me to get a better understanding of Graham's huge mental block regarding that closet and his future.

Any additional comments?

My Goodreads review...Superb narration of a great story featuring 'Teddy Hamilton' who 'was' Jamie Canning for me in Him as John Rikker and a newbie to me, Christian Fox, as Michael Graham. I have to admit it made me see Graham in a whole new less insensitive light, and I sort of get where he was coming from now, although I still felt sorry for Rikker and his woes. This is a fairly new audio book presentation I think, and I am so happy with it. Another winner from Audible.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful