Title: Running With Lions
Author: Julian Winters
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQ+
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone
I am here with a SUPER CUTE book recommendation today. Running with Lions came to my attention through @ZanyAnomaly on Instagram where he passionately recommended this on his stories.
And since it was Pride month and I was determined to highly prioritize queer books over others, I picked the book up. It did not disappoint me at all. In fact, it blew me away. I think I finished it in about one sitting, because it is THAT GOOD.
The book mainly follows Sabastian during football training camp over the summer. So, yeah this is a fluffy summer romance but with queer characters who are absolute cinnamon rolls. Especially Sebastian.
Sebastian’s ex-best friend Emir also shows up for camp even though he doesn’t play football and this completely changes Sebastian’s expectations for the last summer camp of high school. It is the one time of the year where they let loose and just focus on football, but having Emir there changes everything.
But since he is (probably) going to be captain and the team is his responsibility, Sebastian sets out to make amends with Emir. Only, things go quite differently than he expected.
As a preface, let me say one thing. This is a rave review and I will gush about all of this book while trying to sound neutral. I don’t know why I’m trying but let’s see how I fail.
Onto the review.
- SEBASTIAN IS PRECIOUS.
Listen!!!!!!!! Sebastian is an adorable, awkward fluffball who cares a TON about his friends and his team and is simply.. jfhguqdcb. I want to wrap him in a blanket and give him marshmallows.
Right from the start, we see how emotional and responsible he is. Sebastian can take responsibility to a fault, which is one of his weakness that we see throughout the book. He takes on a lot on himself and builds high expectations, which can really exhaust him.
To see him accept his faults and slowly let go of the high expectations that he puts on himself was a journey.
Sometimes it’s okay not to be the perfect best friends. Sometimes it’s okay for your friends to take care of you.
I also really liked his character as a whole. His determination to carry the whole team, his resolve to make amends and welcome Emir into the team, and mostly his friendship with everyone. It was so nice to see.
Which brings me to the next point..
- The friendships in this book had my heart.
All of them. The friendships including Sebastian were definitely the highlight but I really liked seeing the supporting characters as well. Even if it was just in the background.
And since this is a camp book, centered on football training, we also see team dynamics and boys standing up for each other no matter what.
It was great. I loved it all.
- The romance gave me ALL. THE. FEELS.
Since Emir and Sebastian are not friends at the beginning of the book, this can definitely be classified as a rivals-to-lovers story. And what a story it was.
I didn’t really ship the characters right from the start. This is not that kind of story. I liked Sebastian and Emir together the more they hung out and started like each other.
It’s an experience we go through with them. And it was HELLA CUTE. Oh man, the number of times I smiled like a loon while reading this book. It was a lot.
This book will definitely to a smile to your face.
- It’s just a really good book.
It’s funny and happy. It doesn’t deal with major issues or really heavy topics and doesn’t have heartbreaks that will make you cry. It’s a lighthearted book following these soft boys who are queer and proud and have each other’s backs no matter what.
If you’re looking for a book to make you happy or even as a comfort read, definitely pick this one up. I can see myself rereading this when I need some cheering up.
It’s just a really nice book and I don’t know what else to say coherently other than READ IT.