**This review is SPOILER FREE**
The Foxhole Court is the first in a YA Contemporary trilogy called All For the Game, and is both written and published by Nora Skavic.
Revolving around the fictitious sport of Exy, a “bastard” cross between hockey and lacrosse, we follow Neil newcomer to the team at Palmetto State. But this isn’t just any team, the coach collects waif and strays, people with talent but who don’t have anywhere else to go, offering them a second, third, or fourth chance. Neil, like many of the others, is running from something, or someone, and while the thrill, and his love of the sport persuaded him to take up the offer, how long can one boy outrun his past?
Let’s begin with discussing the sport of Exy, since it’s impossible to avoid. Now, I am not a sportswoman in any sense of the word, I have never competed in a team sport outside of P.E lessons, so initially I wasn’t sure whether this was a real sport or not. Just for the record it is not. However, you know the feeling when you’re reading Harry Potter, and you’re utterly invested in Quidditch all of a sudden, Exy almost gives me the same feeling. It’s fast-paced, violent, and utterly thrilling, which is a big relief considering this whole book revolves around it. And not just around this particular team, but the rules, the governing board, the creation of the game, and the politics behind it. There’s so much depth to Exy, that you, or at least I, genuinely believed it to be a real sport, and I for one want to watch a match.
While I claim that the book revolves around Exy, there is another element that creeps into play, almost from the very beginning, and ties certain characters together, and that is the mafia. I know you’re probably checking out right about now, but stay with me here, because while it is somewhat crazy, some of the best stories are. Yes, you do have to suspend your disbelief a little, and it does make the book feel a little as thouh it’s had everything thrown into it, I ended up liking this. It adds another layer of depth, and complexity, to both the character and to the plot. Admittedly, I do enjoy mafia-based stories, so I was willing to go along with it, but I think it works fine alongside Exy.
The narrative revolves around the Foxes, the worst team in the league, through the eyes of newcomer, Neil. While the team is made up of ten people, and we do get to meet and interact with all nine other team members, there is a focus on Neil’s relationship with four of the boys in particular, Nicky, Andrew, Aaron and Kevin. Each has their own history, and backstory, some of which is only just touched upon in the first book, and some are fully revealed to us. These boys are fully fleshed out, or at least on their way there, and they reminded me a lot of Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Boys, which given how much I loved that series is as high a compliment as any.
As I mentioned earlier, The Foxhole Court, and the following two books, are self-published by the author, and in my opinion you can tell when you’re reading. There are a lot of elements to this story, and it did remind me a lot of fan-fiction, how the author will just throw everything at their characters. I say this as someone who loves to read fan fiction, and will support those authors to the ends of the earth, but it does have that feeling to it. It doesn’t feel polished and perfect, though you can tell that a ton of work has gone into it, and I really enjoyed this book, and I want to see more people read it.
The Foxhole Court is well worth taking a punt on, if you’re someone who likes character driven novels, and plenty of drama. It’s just touched upon in this first book but there seems like there will be LGBTQ+ rep as we go along, and I can’t wait to see who I’ll be shipping.
The whole series is available via Amazon, and The Foxhole Court is free, so what are you waiting for?
Have you read The Foxhole Court, and if so what did you think? If not, what is your favourite book that revolves around a sport?
Thanks for reading!