The Dating Playbook
by Farrah Rochon
Release Date: August 17, 2021
Reviewed by PJ
When it comes to personal training, Taylor Powell kicks serious butt. Unfortunately, her bills are piling up, rent is due, and the money situation is dire. Taylor needs more than the support of her new best friends, Samiah and London. She needs a miracle.
And Jamar Dixon might just be it. The oh-so-fine former footballer wants back into the NFL, and he wants Taylor to train him. There's just one catch—no one can know what they're doing. But when they're accidentally outed as a couple, Taylor's game plan is turned completely upside down. Is Jamar just playing to win . . . or is he playing for keeps?
Farrah Rochon's The Boyfriend Project was one of my best books of 2020. I loved it. I loved The Dating Playbook even more.
Taylor and Jamar are such a wonderful couple. I loved their journey from trainer/client to friends to lovers to lifetime partners. Their relationship is so sweet, sexy, and genuine. I really liked these two and cheered them on from beginning to end. I appreciated the fact that Rochon gave them each complex - and realistic - issues to overcome, and stumbles along the way, before reaching their happy ending. It gave their story a realism that allowed me to view them as people dealing with the anxiety, guilt, fears, and family complexities that so many of us face in life. It made me want to be their friend. I was so proud of Taylor for all that she is and the courage it took to finally face her fears and realize all can be. And Jamar. Wow, what can I say about this guy? Let's go with this: Everyone should have a Jamar in their life. Yes, he is just that special and yes, I adored him. He captured my heart just as securely as he did Taylor's. I'll let you discover why when you read the book. He deserves to be savored, one page at a time. ;-)
One of my favorite aspects of this series is that it not only features romance but also equally important female friendships. The three women - Samiah, Taylor, and London - who meet in book one are the heart and soul of this series. Watching their unlikely friendship (they were all unknowingly dating the same guy when they met) strengthen and grow, alongside each of their romantic relationships, makes my heart so very happy. Kudos to Rochon for continuing to give this very important part of their lives the attention and nurturing it deserves.
Some weighty issues are dealt with in this book yet it is not a heavy or angsty story. Rochon keeps things moving, sprinkling humor (I'm still laughing over the kitchen scene with Jamar and his parents), snappy banter, sizzle, and fun throughout the story without sacrificing the depth of emotion some of those weighty issues demand. It's a balancing act that the author executes with perfection.
Two other facets of this book that I enjoyed are the authentic diversity (a Black author writing Black characters) and the representation (a character with hearing loss, another with learning disabilities), seamlessly woven into the story, not with a blinking "look what I did here" neon sign, but as a natural part of everyday life, as it should be.
For all these reasons and more - football and a love of Disney cannot be overlooked - I not only want to walk in this world and be friends with Farrah Rochon's characters but also with the author herself. I cannot wait to discover what she has planned for London.
The Dating Playbook has my enthusiastic recommendation. The romance is this book stands well on its own but for a full appreciation of the evolving friendship among the three women, I would suggest reading the books in order. Whether you begin with The Boyfriend Project or jump in with The Dating Playbook, you have a great read ahead.