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The Understatement of the Year

Series: Ivy Years, Book 3
Length: 8 hrs and 50 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (30 ratings)

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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.

What listeners say about The Understatement of the Year

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    3 out of 5 stars

Good. Good sums it up.

I should start by saying Him / Us is one of my favourite books of all time, this book felt like it’s cousin but one who lived too far away for them to be close but they looked a like. It was a good book. Good. Just good. Like cold pizza, it’s good, it’s fine, but the wow wasn’t there and neither was the heat. Anything featuring either Teddy Hamilton or Christian Fox though is brilliantly narrated so they get 5 stars! The book, it was cold pizza.

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Bowen, Hamilton and Fox = a winning combination

What is it about masculinity that can cause toxicity? Bowen explores the pressures within a varsity ice hockey team who has a gay player forced on them and the pressures on the two gay players on the team: John who has come to terms with being gay and out, Graham who hasn’t and isn’t. I was very moved by some of the scenes in this book. Good story, great main characters, phenomenal narrative performances!

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Narration is fantastic

I LOVED The Understatement of the Year - there was just the right amount of angst between Rikker and Graham, I only wish there was more of them together. As soon as I finished this, I went straight to Extra Credit, and to the novella about Rikker and Graham. I adore these 2 guys, and was so happy there was more to their story. ALSO - The narration for the audiobook for The Understatement of the Year is SO GOOD!! After finishing the ebook, I decided to purchase the audio, and the narrators were fantastic. Bella was an interesting secondary character. I'm excited to see what happens next in her book, and what angst she has to go through before she finds her own happy ending.

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Profile Image for Heather K (Dentist in my Spare Time)
  • Heather K (Dentist in my Spare Time)
  • 20-11-2016

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!

15 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for 🎧 Cyndi Marie 🎧
  • 🎧 Cyndi Marie 🎧
  • 11-03-2019

✫✫ 5 Stars ✫✫

BEST BOOK IN THE SERIES!!! Ok so I love them all so far but this one is awesome! I have tried a lot of M/M books and just couldn't get into them until I read Sarina Bowen! She write the best M/M love stories, her characters are always manly and normal every day guys who fall in love with each other. They don't go over and above to make sure every one knows they are gay, they just want to live their lives like everyone else and that leaves me with a happy heart every time. These two are the perfect mix of friends & lovers and the best part for me is when a love story has history. The sex is crazy hot and I love the dirty talk! The narration is perfect! I really liked both of the narrators so much!

9 people found this helpful

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  • 🎧Pam Audio-Fanatic🎧
  • 27-03-2019

HIM & US had a BABY, Understatement was BORN

Rikker & Graham I swear to G - O - D it was like HIM and US had a baby and this book was made. If you haven’t read either HIM or US.. You are missing out big time. This book will break your heart and put it back together. So much happens and you are left feeling happy and hopeful. I wished it hadn’t taken me this long to find this series. Rikker and Graham both go through some eye-opening things and their feeling toward each other is just part of that. It is all about accepting who and what you are, and dealing with it even if it is not an easy thing to do. I had tears, I had joy, I felt love and I felt pain. This book really goes to show you that even if you know who you are, there is still going to be ongoing struggles. I felt huge sorrow for Bella, and I am happy to know she gets the next book because she was so supportive but she was hurt too. Fantastic narration just as the last books. I mean hello Teddy and Christian!!

13 people found this helpful

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  • Morgan A Skye
  • 10-07-2016

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

5 people found this helpful

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  • G. Eggleston
  • 20-07-2017

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 of the Year" 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, being 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 had pulled over so that I could finish the scene I was at before getting home. 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 over what I was reading... 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 that "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. POSSIBLE SPOILER FOLLOWS: Regarding subtext in "Understatement of the Year": There is a scene with Hartley in which I don't think even Ricker understood why Hartley took off like he did. (He was angry) But then Hartley came back to ask him if he wanted to go get a slice of pizza. (He was pushing back against his own anger). The understatement in that subtext was truly remarkable writing.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Santy O.
  • 02-09-2016

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!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Smitten with Reading
  • 13-08-2016

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.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Miguel
  • 05-07-2016

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 people found this helpful

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  • Corey Mackenson
  • 02-01-2019

Good read/listen

Sarina Bowen is a good writer and the plot held up well. Having said that she has several characters that border on offensive, in particular the main female character whose boundaries are non existent. She puts hands all over everyone and if any man did this sort of thing he be arrested and lose his job. She sleeps with most of the team she manages and is offended if someone she's attracted to sleeps with someone else. Even so the book is excellent. The narration is outstanding.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Brandi - Let's Read Romance
  • 06-07-2017

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.

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.

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.

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
becomes nervous.

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.

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.

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 person found this helpful

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  • BevS
  • 12-07-2016

BRILLIANT narrations...much better in audio. 👍👍

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, and want to smack him upside the head BUT also feel really sorry for him at the same time. The quality was excellent. One of the best audios I've ever bought to date. 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 BUT Christian Fox ran him a very, VERY close second. Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry? I was furious with Graham at first 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. 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 completely shell-shocked and in denial. Have to say though, for some reason this audio book and Christian Fox's narration in particular helped me to get a much better understanding of Graham's huge mental block regarding that closet and his 'gay' future. Graham was obviously suffering from some sort of PTSD as a result of the ordeal he and Rikker went through. And yes, the story did make me cry...Rikker's loneliness was almost palpable and Graham's inability to process what had happened in the past was heartbreaking. 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 AUDIO IS *DEFINITELY* IN MY TOP 5 AUDIOS OF ALL TIME Congrats to all concerned. 🎉🎉🎉

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-09-2020

I loved it

I loved how well written this is, and the narrators where amazing. Teddy Hamilton is one of my personal favorites. I also really liked Graham’s character development. Coming out of the closet and learning to get rid of the self hate you have for yourself based of your sexuality is not easy and I loved how the author portrayed that. It made me feel sorry for him, yes there where things that I didn’t like him hat he did to rikker, but that didn’t make me hate him, just hope he can make up for the terrible things he did since being given a second chance. Really really enjoyed it.

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  • Christopher Young
  • 26-07-2020

Title matches the book perfectly

I started off enthralled by the characters and although Graham took a long time to come round I fell hard for both main characters. Their development and the passion was amazing. The loved & hated how long it took to come around for Graham. But somehow it completely made sense and touched in all the right places! I do hope there is more with these characters because I’m dying to know how it all turns out!!

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  • Clare Doran
  • 26-05-2020

This book has one of my favoruite characters EVER

Lemme just say it right now; I would die for Johnny Rikker. Graham can kick rocks quite frankly because he's so far in the closet he's come out the other side of Naria. He pulls his head out of his ass too late in the game for me. Especially after everything Rikker has went through. I put this off for way too long and sped through it in one sitting. Sigh.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 12-09-2019

Loving your best friend

While suffering from a head injury I listened to this audio as I love the book. Hearing it made me smile as it sounds perfect.

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  • AliE
  • 10-09-2019

Excellent

This is one of my go to books. The writing and story are both excellent. It is wonderful to be able to listen now as well.

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  • Suzanne Christie
  • 24-05-2019

Loved it

Sarina Bowen can do no wrong in my eyes, yet another fantastic mm story. I loved this second chance romance story and really felt for both guys throughout the story. The relationship was believable as was the journey these guys went on to get their happy ending. I thought the dual narration was great, both personalities really came through.

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  • Mrs D
  • 18-03-2019

Graham & Rikker at Harkness

MM NA romance about hockey players with a shared past. Teddy Hamilton & Christian Fox read Sarina Bowen... nothing more to say. 😁🧡💜💚🔥