Hands Down by Mariana Zapata

Summary of Book: Bianca and Zac were childhood bestfriends and meant to be in each others lives forever until one huge misunderstanding tore them apart. Now, ten years later, they come colliding back into each others lives and Zac isn’t letting her get away again.

This is one of those books where the second you finish it instead of closing it and starting a new book, you reopen this one and read it all over again.

“If every person weighed their dreams against someone else’s, nobody would ever dream at all.”

I knew what to expect when I began reading this and I was not disappointed. Not only is this a perfect slow burn, friends to lovers, master piece but it was laugh out loud hilarious, had my heart in my throat and both pissed me off and made me happy cry tears at the same time. After reading all eleven of her books, I’ve come to notice a particular patterns within her books so I know what to expect whenever I pick up something from her.

“Things changed. People changed. Life changed. I knew it and accepted it.”

One, first and foremost, probably my all time favorite thing, was the banter. The banter is something that I know I can count on. Mariana Zapata has a way of creating characters that are perfectly perfect for each other, that are two perfectly fitting puzzle pieces and are best friends as well as lovers. I think, banter wise, that this may be my favorite book out of all of them. They literally threw farts at each other and it wasn’t weird or gross. It was actually cute. I almost expected it in a weird way, that’s just how compatible and goofy they Bianca and Zac are with each other. From the moment they spoke to each other it was clear they were perfectly perfect and destined to be.

Zapata does some great dialogue and even better inner monologue. One of the best. Whenever one of her characters are thinking or going through a problem it’s never fast, never a one paragraph and done kind of thing. I love that. It’s real. It’s raw and I feel like I’m working out the problem right along with them. The only problem here was that the issue between Zac and Bianca was a one conversation sort of thing that literally spanned the entire 529 pages of the book and I definitely skimmed through some of that inner thinking there for a bit. While the inner monologue is always amazing, it does tend to drag longer than it should.

“Because you hadn’t asked about me in forever. Because you hurt me when I was seventeen and forgot about me. But mostly, because he knew I didn’t want to see you, and maybe Boogie loves us both, but he loves me more.”

The side characters, again, as always, were amazing. They made the book just that much better. Boogie and Connie were hilarious and so damn loveable. If I didn’t hate Lauren like Bianca does, then I’d want a book about Boogie because I kind of fell in love with him a little bit. Connie was the perfect older sister, protective yet playful and their banter was just as amazing as the rest. Don’t even get me started on Zac’s friends, especially CJ. CJ! Where is his book because I need one now!

Last but not least and one of my favorite parts… The crossing of characters from other books. Oh lord. I’ve gotten little tastes over the years like Kulti from Kulti going into Locke’s tattoo shop from Under Locke. Dianna from Wait for It being related to Jasmine from From Lukov with Love, small things like that. But when Aiden and Vanessa from The Wall of Winnipeg and Me showed up on Zac’s doorstep… Cue the internal screaming! This was one of the best parts of the entire book! Closely tied to that was when Bianca and Zac saw Jasmine and Ivan Lukov at a Halloween party, dressed as Morticia and Gomez… I about died. I literally happy screeched like a cat and woke my dogs up. That’s how damn happy that made me.

“I really had missed the guy, despite everything. But there was a reason why amputees’ survived and thrived; you learned how to live without.”

You know what I absolutely would love to see? A book where the characters some how knows all of the other characters… I don’t think I can physically handle them all in one book but I’m willing to try!

One other thing that I will say is that while Zac is a football player… there’s not much football in it. I was prepared to classify this as a sports romance not only because it’s Zac but because of the cover but I was wrong. There were some moments of sports but not enough to fulfill my sports romance need. I also thought the book was a couple hundreds pages too long because the ‘drama’ was stretched out that far when it wasn’t really necessary. Also, I really, really could read and entire book about The Lazy Baker. In fact… If I could read a book only about The Lazy Baker I would. I so would. Out of all the business Zapata has put her characters in, this was the best one.

“Didn’t you hear what I said? Worryin’ about you is like… lovin’ the goddamn sun on my face, kiddo. Like breathin’. It’s never not gonna happen.”

All in all, a four star book. What saved it from the drawn out misunderstanding was the side characters that were just as developed and hilarious as the main characters and the banter. Again they literally threw farts at each other so… what’s not to fall in love with there?

“My whole life, I’ve felt like I was missin’ somethin’, tryin’ to find somethin’. I don’t know how to explain it, and now, it feels like I found it, Boog. It was right in front of my damn face all along.”

I still stand by my claim that Zapata is the Slow Burn queen but I’m also beginning to realize (late to the party I know) that she’s up there with being a Banter Queen as well.

If your a first time reader and your looking for hilarious, out of pocket banter, a slow story of two people that were tore apart finally coming together, and amazing side characters then this is the story for you. I would also say though that if you want to read this then I’d highly suggest reading The Wall of Winnipeg and Me first. You don’t have to read any of Zapata’s books in order but to appreciate Zac as much as he needs to be appreciated, then you should read The Wall of Winnipeg and Me first. It’s also the best book known to man so there’s that.

“Did you steal my damn heart, run off with it, and say I’ll see ya later? ’Cause the answer to that is yes.”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Read more about Hands Down by Mariana Zapata here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54216251-hands-down

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