Book Review: Downed by Jen Frederick (Gridiron #3)

Author: Jen Frederick
Series: Gridiron #3
Release Date: December 1, 2016
Publisher: Self-Published
Get it Here: Only $3.99 on Amazon Kindle!


He’s the guy no one likes…

Despite winning two national championships, JR “Ace” Anderson was sent packing from his old school after losing the trust of his coach. At Southern U, he has a second chance to prove that his college legacy isn’t endless debauchery and selfishness. But his reputation precedes him, and his teammates offer a chilly welcome in the locker room. The one person who is willing to accept him is the very woman he should stay away from—his new coach’s daughter.

She’s the girl everyone loves…

Bryant Johnson’s only goal in life is to make others happy, even at her own expense. One look at her father’s new star quarterback, and she knows that Ace is her next project. With a reputation for being a “jerk whisperer”, Bryant has spent her last three years at college reforming sorry behavior and turning bad boys into the best boyfriends ever. In Ace, though, she’s met with surly resistance and a sizzling attraction she doesn’t expect. Fixing this wounded warrior will be her biggest challenge yet. Not falling for him will be even harder.

Between her big heart and his damaged one, a battle is ensuing. In this game of love, every defense will crumble.


I’ve been following this series since the first book Sacked and have thoroughly enjoyed all the books, even though I’m not the biggest football fan. The teamwork and camaraderie between players is a great add-on to the central romance that happens between the characters in these books. Downed is my favorite of the series so far! There’s something about a story of redemption or reformation that just makes me sigh in happiness. I love the exploration of Ace’s past and how Bryant dealt with her grief for her sister. I think that their characters were much more easy to empathize with than the previous couples, which made their relationship very sweet and easy to read and enjoy.

We begin the book with a sex scene – gasp! But this isn’t really a steamy one, nor is it some random chick/dude. It’s between the main couple! While Ace is trying to have a sexual escape, Bryant’s thinking of how he’s her next project to reform. It’s actually pretty hilarious. They don’t exactly finish the deed but it definitely sets the stage for what comes next. Bryant somehow pulls Ace into a relationship so she can change him from being an asshole to an angel (or something like that). Hilarity ensues.

Ace was transferred from his previous school and has a bunch of problems on his plate. One would be the relationship with his d-bag father, the lack of teamwork with him and the other boys on the team, and the way he treated his best friend Lucy (who was the main character in the first book Sacked). He was a total ass in front of her and took her for granted, which made his a pretty unsavory character in the previous books. But Frederick does a wonderful job in redeeming him and changing the way he viewed his life, especially pertaining to girls. It was so nice the obvious progression from the ostracized one on the team to being a part of their family.

“What I didn’t realize was how much more I’d gain from transferring here. It wasn’t just another championship. It wasn’t the revenge component of defeating the team that had rejected me. It’s that I found a new family – a team that really embraced me, in large part, because I embraced them.”

Ever since the death of Bryant’s older sister due to a man fooling around with her feelings, Bryant’s been taking up “projects” to try to help fix other guys so they don’t break another girl’s heart, like what happened with her sister. But behind all that she does and all the people she helps, she doesn’t let other people help her. That’s caused an emotional barrier to form for her, which is why she finds herself at odds when she starts falling in love with her “project.” She sees Ace’s insecurities and empathizes with him. They build each other up, and her support for Ace also helps him start letting go of his doubts.

“‘Futures are unknowable and uncertainty can be scary as hell. It’s why we’re better together.’”

Ugh this story was just so sweet, as well as the previous books in this series. It was one of my first NA books and I’m so glad I picked it up. Jen Frederick writes such quirky characters and adorable romances; they always leave me smiling and with a full heart. And not to mention those SPICY scenes – yum! Trust me, they’re not all like the unsatisfying scene that the book starts out with (lol). Readers looking for an extremely comfy romance with friendship and family added in definitely need to pick up this series. If you’re a fan of football, that’s also a super plus!


2 thoughts on “Book Review: Downed by Jen Frederick (Gridiron #3)

  1. Haha omg yes that sex scene. It so cracked me up. I’m so glad you loved this one, Aila. I absolutely loved it too and loved how the author redeemed Ace’s character. I was nervous given how much I despised him in the previous book. But Jen Frederick did a great job! I can’t wait to find out who is next!
    Have you read her Woodlands series? You’ll love that one too, I think! It’s one of the first NA series that I read and loved.

    1. I started the first couple books of Woodlands actually! I didn’t like it as much as the Gridiron series though, so I haven’t been catching up with them. 😛 They were still good though. Jen Frederick has definitely become a fast favorite NA college author, haha.

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