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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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What listeners say about The Understatement of the Year

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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!

29 people found this helpful

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✫✫ 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!

14 people found this helpful

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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!!

16 people found this 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 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.

7 people found this 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.

5 people found this 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

5 people found this 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!

4 people found this helpful

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Beautifully written m/m sports romance

With one flaw, The Understatement of the Year is one of the best m/m audiobooks out there. This is helped by the narration of Teddy Hamilton and Christian Fox, who are simply perfect (although there is one line Teddy Hamilton reads in the voice of the wrong character, but other than that, they're both flawless). Both the protagonists, Rikker and Graham, are interesting and likable, the conflict is believable, and the writing is lyrical. Unlike "Him" and "Us," an m/m hockey series also written by Bowen (with Elle Kennedy), the writing is in past tense, which always works better, and there's no unrealistic "gay for you" storyline here.

There is one issue I had with this book, however, and that's the character of Bella, the student manager of the college hockey team at the center of the story. Bella is a textbook example of a Mary Sue character (except she actually doesn't get the guy in the end). She's sort of a stand-in for the female reader. Several times throughout the novel, characters randomly wax poetic about how wonderful, beautiful, and intelligent she is, sometimes about ten seconds after meeting her for the first time. These are all "informed characteristics," which means that we know this about Bella because we're TOLD this, by the author, as opposed to having it shown. Personally I find her pretty grating, and entirely inappropriate. Switch genders--that is, imagine she's a male student manager of a women's hockey team--and suddenly her actions take on a very different and very, very creepy aspect. I believe Bella is the protagonist of another book in this series, and you could not pay me enough to sit through that book unless Bella is fired from her position for extreme sexual harassment, which she would be if there were any justice in the world.

Anyway, if you find yourself agreeing with me, take heart: it gets much better as the book goes on; Bella sort of fades into the background about halfway through the book, thank God. My irritation with her is enough to knock this otherwise five-star book down to four overall, but I still count it among my favorite of all time. Highly recommended!

2 people found this helpful

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One of the best books I’ve listened all year

One of the best books I’ve listened all year and I’ve listened to TONS! It’s realistic, emotional, beautiful, and a great love story. Love the narrators and the characters.

2 people found this 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!

2 people found this helpful

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  • BevS
  • 07-12-16

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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  • Olive4socks
  • 05-12-22

OH MY HEART !*!*!*!

Good grief I love these characters, I can see them as real people the way Sarina Bowen has written them💘. The whole series has been engrossing. The narration by Teddy and Christian is SUPERB 💗💓💞💕💘

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • HMM
  • 05-31-22

Entertaining

I was entertained but it was nothing special. I could not tell the two characters apart, although there were two narrators.
There were several continuation errors in the track.

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  • JED66
  • 05-16-22

Loved it

The narration was fantastic. Loved these two boys. Bit disappointed about the ending. I would have like to see what the reaction was from the team when they got back to school. But I guess we’ll hear more in the next book

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  • SallyMac007
  • 04-14-22

How did i miss this one?

I'm working my way through the audiobooks in this series as I read them years ago and realized I hadn't read this one. I loved listening to it, great narrators and fabulous characters and story as you'd expect from the author. Listened while working and just sitting on the sofa which I never normally do. Now to the next in the series!

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  • Alison
  • 02-19-22

My favourite of this series

Mike Graham is hiding his homosexuality so when his high school best friend and first crush Johnny Ricker joins the college ice hockey team it's difficult for him to cope with the situation. It's all beautifully written and you really hope that Graham can overcome his fears and let Ricker back in to his life.
I actually read this book first before I discovered that it was part of a series but then I got the rest of the books and started from the first one and read this one again in the correct order. It was still just as good the second time around. These are 2 of my favourite characters and were perfect for each other - they just had to work their way through some stuff first, like in all the best romance books.
I enjoyed the setting of the college and the ice hockey team and the way the characters linked through all the books (you can read them stand alone but if you read them in order you can get snippets of previous or future couples lives intertwining through the current book you are reading).
I really didn't want this book to end and would've been happy reading on and finding out what happened to them after college too. I thought the progression of their relationship and the character development was very believable and quite emotional in parts. Even the smaller ensemble characters were well written.
This author has now populated my wish list and so far I haven't been disappointed - whether they are MF romances or MM ones. Even though I'm a heterosexual female I enjoy MM romances just as much as MF ones - after all love is love, it's the story that counts. Hopefully there are many more series by Sarina Bowen that I've yet to discover.
I should also mention that the narration was spot on - Teddy Hamilton and Christian Fox really added depth to the story and you could feel the emotion coming through in their voices. All in all an excellent book, I'll probably revisit it again & again.

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  • Tracey I
  • 01-26-22

I didn’t think I would like it

I didn’t think I would like this story but it ended up being my favourite out of the series and one I know I will listen to again, the narrators are superb and bring the characters to life and I hope we get to hear more from graham and rikker in the future. Bare will Bella this leads nicely into the next book where you will understand her more.

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  • FBooks
  • 12-13-21

A moving story.

Graham and Rikker characters are fabulously complicated, well developed, likeable and incredibly interesting. They had a lot to deal with just because they are guy. I can't understand why some people are so judgemental and think they have a say in telling them who they can love. Rikker had it the worst as his parents, the two people who should love him unconditional was his biggest disappointment. Thank God for his lovely grandma. This was a well written, emotionally moving story with wonderful supporting characters and the ending was beautiful.

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  • Kenneth Penman
  • 11-26-21

loved it

with this being a romance book with a gay couple i wasn't sure how it would be reading about it with being a straight woman but I loved it its such a sweet and emotional journey the boys go on, it maybe the best in the ivy series

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  • C M Silver
  • 09-17-21

A gem

These narrators are the cream, who can raise any tale to the next level. Even though I have no interest in ice hockey, I enjoyed the interactions and vacillations of these MCs in this well written book. Touching, funny, romantic,. ENJOYABLE

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-17-22

Decent storyline

The story was good. It got a little repetitive as it went on but kept you engaged

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  • Gehrminator
  • 03-20-22

Angsty Goodness

Wow, these boys seriously needed hugs all the way through this story. Their childhoods left them with so much baggage. Of course it was great that they got it together eventually but the HFN was pretty hard to come by. If you are looking for an angsty read then this one fits the bill.

🎧 I found it difficult to distinguish the different characters from these two narrators 🎧

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  • Louise
  • 03-05-22

loved it

This book has it all. It was beautiful and sad and I fell head over heels for these two boys who deserves to find some happiness.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-09-22

Best book in a very long time!!

This book is well written and inspiring to do better in life, to be a better person to others. Highly recommend.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Tine
  • 08-23-20

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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  • Wide Eyes, Big Ears!
  • 08-16-19

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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  • Kelly
  • 08-03-19

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.