by Allana Luta
“Shit happens to the best of us,” goes a saying, and Lester Torres, a now-starving student-artist, cannot agree more. The family business has reached a steady decline. His parents are distraught. His education is at the risk of being put on hold because tuition’s too expensive, impractical. Something they are no longer able to afford. Unwilling to give up, he tries to apply for an athletic scholarship in the hope of keeping the dream alive. He was in the high school badminton varsity team, after all. Might as well put his dormant skill to good use, right? He aces the first few matches, winning them in a breeze, and thinks that he’s got this scholarship in the bag already. Easy as pie.
Enter a talented player by the name of Wency David, and Lester misses a serve for the first time in a long while. Read reviews: Goodreads
WHAT I LIKED
The combination of badminton and a young gay protagonist was really exciting. The summary did not give any hint of the story involving a gay character so I was pleasantly surprised to discover that THIS was the main conflict. I used to be a badminton player (in case that picture above didn’t give me away) and I’ve also tried writing from the queer POV (read: “Excuses“) so you can imagine my delight when two topics I loved were in one story.
Match Point Mishap had potential, it really did. Madelyn keeps Lester’s painful history with badminton a mystery long enough to keep the reader curious but does not hesitate to reveal it at the proper moment. There are secondary characters that make the story rounder: Lester’s best friend Jude, his girlfriend Jessica (yep), his parents, and his new teammates—I thought they were effectively used to give the story more meat.
I liked that the conflict is layered. It’s not just about having conservative parents; Lester himself is in great denial. He’s got a freaking girlfriend, for goodness’ sake! There’s also the possibility of losing his scholarship if their coach finds out there’s something going on between two of his male players (there’s a rule that relationships aren’t allowed in same sex team members), so there’s that for added pressure.
Even though I really liked the premise, it fell short for me. I have no problems with the story itself but there were certain words and phrases that were constantly repeated throughout: lilting, though, biting/worrying his bottom lip, knows like the back of his/her hand, just to name a few. Reading these over and over again brought me out of the narrative so much that I couldn’t concentrate on the page anymore. It was frustrating because the story had so much promise and could have been explored more but I felt the writing was lacking.
There were also typographical errors all over. I’ve noticed this in a lot of self-published books but I would have easily forgiven it if not for the reason in the previous paragraph. If I were deep into the story, I would have just shrugged these typos off.
Match Point Mishap had the potential to be a wonderful book but the technicalities of it all stopped it short from being an enjoyable read. As much as it pains me to say this, the story was there but the right words weren’t. ☁