Fourth Down (First and Last #3) by Kirsten DeMuzio
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Source: Review Copy from Author
Goodreads • Amazon
During the biggest football game of his life, Ford Walsh makes a split second decision that will change his life. For the worse. Three years later, Ford is still stuck in that moment—when his leg was broken and his dreams along with it. Not able to move on, Ford trudges through his life, each day more depressing than the last.
Poppy Mitchell has dreams of being a doctor, and she will work night and day to get there. Sweet, focused, and hard working, Poppy forges ahead when obstacles get in her way. When circumstances bring them together, Ford and Poppy develop an unlikely friendship. As they grow closer, Ford is faced with another fourth down decision. Will he go after his old dreams when given the chance? Will Poppy sacrifice her dreams for his? Or will she let him go?
**This book is recommended for a mature audience, age 18 and older, due to language and explicit content.**
Fourth Down had, in my opinion, the most unique premise of the books in Kirsten DeMuzio's First and Last series. We'd heard about Ford and his career-ending injury in Just One Reason through Grant and Lindsay, but it was really interesting to see his feelings firsthand. Plus, Poppy's position as his mother's nurse makes for an interesting and endearing progression in their relationship.
Poppy was the female character in this series I most relate to—she's driven, focused, hard-working, and not actively looking for love. Sweet and a little overly nice, she suddenly becomes a lot more interested in romance upon meeting Ford when she shows up to her new home-nursing assignment. Then again, she'd met him once before. It turns out she was the underage girl at the bar on Halloween that another girl (who is, in fact, her best friend Brooke) tried to order a drink for, as seen in Just One Reason. It was a cute tie-in between the two books!
Ford himself was definitely the most dynamic and complex of the male characters in the series. The fallout from his accident has left him a little hardened a angry, but in that wrongly-delicious, angsty way. Watching him as he starts to overcome it with Poppy's help is heart-melting and oh-so-gratifying!
There was a decent amount of turmoil for them, but it never went the way of many romances by feeling petty. Instead, they faced a number of heavy issues around Ford's mother's health and each of their next steps that felt honest and truly difficult to figure out. Even I wasn't sure what they should be choosing. The story did an excellent job of pitting dreams against love and the decision about what's more important.
Overall, I really enjoyed Fourth Down. Fans of the series and NA contemporary in general should check it out!
I am an author of new adult and contemporary romance novels. My husband and I live in Columbus, Ohio with our two young daughters and happy golden retriever. When I’m not spending time with my family, I can be found doing one of my other favorite activities—writing, reading and napping.