Kulti by Mariana Zapata

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“Trust me, I’ve wanted to punch you in the face a time or five.”

When the man you worshipped as a kid becomes your coach, it’s supposed to be the greatest thing in the world. Keywords: supposed to.

It didn’t take a week for twenty-seven-year-old Sal Casillas to wonder what she’d seen in the international soccer icon—why she’d ever had his posters on her wall, or ever envisioned marrying him and having super-playing soccer babies.

Sal had long ago gotten over the worst non-break-up in the history of imaginary relationships with a man that hadn’t known she’d existed. So she isn’t prepared for this version of Reiner Kulti who shows up to her team’s season: a quiet, reclusive, shadow of the explosive, passionate man he’d once been.

Nothing could have prepared her for the man she got to know.

Or the murderous urges he brought out in her.

“Sal, please don’t make me visit you in jail. Orange isn’t your color.”

This was going to be the longest season of her life.


Kulti was a wonderful read. I loved this book so so much. I wasn't expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. It just sounded okay to me, but oh it was wonderful.

Sal grew up loving soccer. She played, she watched, she was obsessed with Reiner Kulti. He was everything. She hero worshiped him. She was going to marry him one day. Until he broke her heart when he married someone else. And now she finds out that he is going to be her new coach. She is half excited, half unhappy with this new development. No one has seen or heard from him in a while and now he is going to show up and coach them? What will it be like? What will he be like? Well, turns out he is a jerk. And gets on Sal's nerves something fierce. What did she ever see in this guy??

Kulti has had a bit of a rough time. Something happened that kind of destroyed him. He is not that same passionate guy she used to watch. Instead he is quiet and reclusive and doesn't seem to talk to anyone (or even want to). He is really hard on Sal and she can't figure out why. But somehow, through all of the annoyances that are Kulti, they start to become friends. This is definitely not a fast-paced insta-love book. No this is a very slow burn that I loved so so much. At the beginning I kept thinking how in the world is this going to turn into these two falling in love? I don't see it. They hate each other, or at least Sal hates him, there is nothing romantic about them, it is just...odd. Maybe they could be friends one day, maybe, but even that seems to be a stretch. But it works. It flows naturally and somehow they figure it out and by the end it was wonderful.

This story is told only from Sal's point of view and it was lovely. While I would have loved to know what Kulti was thinking at times, it was probably better we didn't have it. Sal is wonderful and the two of them together? Amazing. That and Sal's family, her father in particular, oh I loved them. Her dad is just as big of a fan of Kulti as she was and it was so much fun to watch. Sal and Kulti build that grudging friendship, they have a great back and forth and that eventually leads to more. I loved this story. It is a longer book, but it never felt long. I got to the end and didn't want it to be over. I still wanted more. Overall this is a fantastic read. So much love for this wonderful slow burn. I had heard so many great things about this author before reading this and I am so happy to find that they are all true. Wonderful. Go read this book.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


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