Fourth Down by Kirsten DeMuzio
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?
Oh Ford. I had forgotten I had wanted to read your story. I was looking through my books I have read the other day and saw Just One Reason by this author. I remembered liking it more than I thought I would and remembered that I enjoyed the little bit of Ford that was in that story. So off I went to get Fourth Down and see what he was all about. And man is this book make me feel so much. I just feel so bad for Ford at times. He is dealing with a lot and he has never really moved on from his career ending injury. No one has really helped him start living again until Poppy comes along. They are so sweet together and oh I just loved them.
Ford was a football star. Everyone loved him, he had big NFL aspirations until the dreaded day when one mistake costs him it all. One moment to make the wrong move on the field and he gets an injury that prevents him from playing ever again at that level. For the three years since then he has been living at home with his mom who is dying of cancer. He hasn't moved on, he hasn't healed, he won't even watch a football game again. Part of it is he feels he let his mom down. The NFL was his ticket to get his mom the best medical help he could so that he could save her. Not that it would have worked necessarily, but he wanted this for her so much. So now he is just tending bar at and coasting through life.
Poppy has had to work hard to be where she is. She works all the time to be able to afford school and housing for herself. She is a nurse taking care of terminal cancer patients. She knows how hard it can be on the family of those who are dying as she was one herself. Her dad died of cancer when she was younger and she had a hard time with it. She is so loving and caring it is just amazing that there really are people like her out there. I can't imagine always having to say goodbye to someone you have grown close to. She meets Ford one night when her friend drags her out to the bar and tries to get her drinks even though Poppy is not 21. Poppy is totally embarrassed, and Ford is none to happy about it. Then to find out that Poppy is the caretaker for his mom the next day....well things don't start off too well between the two of them. Ford is always in a bad mood around her and pretty much tries to never see her.
Ford's mom is so sweet. She knows Ford needs to start living again, and she can see how amazing Poppy is. She can see there is something there and finally yells at Ford to be a better person, stop being such a jerk to her. Then it starts to get pretty cute. He starts being nicer to her and they start to become friends. Ford doesn't think he can do more than that, until one night he realizes he needs her. He needs to be with Poppy. There are lots of obstacles, Ford's mom's death, his new job off in GA, lots of things that make it so this might not work out. Poppy is just so amazing. She just wants the best for Ford. She knew this would never last, but that is what happens. The last half of the book is really heartbreaking. It made me so sad and made me think about how much I miss my dad. It was just...so emotional. The last part was really sad for Poppy and Ford. If they could only communicate better everything could work out. And then it does and everything is perfect. I loved this story. So gave me so many feels. I was a little depressed reading it, but I love that. I like things that bring me down as I am normally happy all the time. I loved Ford and Poppy and this story was just amazing. Definitely go read this book. It is amazing. And now that I have gone and read the authors other books this is definitely my favorite. Ford and Poppy forever.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★3/4