“The Foxhole Court” by Nora Sakavic
I'm writing this review in hope that it will easy my mind because it's been
2 5 days since I finished this novel and I can't stop thinking about it. This is hardly that unusual when I read the first part of a trilogy whose two other parts remain unpublished.
But back to Foxhole Court. It is amazingly readable, this is a quality often looked down upon but a good writer knows how to make interesting content digestible and Sakavic certainly had me on page 20 before I realized I was reading on the laptop once again.
The narrator is rather paranoid teenage Neil, well, "Neil" since we are to assume that his name is fake since he's been in the run with his mom since he was a kid. Neil's only indulgence is the revolutionary sport of Ezy, a weird cross of lacrosse and rugby with rules I'm unclear on even after following a match from the edge of my seat (and man, if I could care less about organized sports! but, again, Sakavic, through Neil, made it the most important thing possible). Neil is finishing high school, although it's unclear why since he plans on running and ditching the identity of Neil as soon as he's done and playing Ezy on the school team. He receives a rather unpleasant surprise when his coach tells him he sent a video of him playing to a A-league team, the Foxes, and he's being recruited to play for them. The new star striker of said team is someone from Neil's past who could recognize him and thus jeopardize his life along with his anonymity. Kevin Day is also someone who's gotten to play Ezy, the sport Neil loves, and be famous because of it, that is, from Neil's POV, he has a charmed life.
Kevin’s not even the biggest issue the Foxes have to throw at Neil, though, the whole team is made of people who have fucked up somehow, normally big time (drugs, violence). The craziest of them all seems to be Andrew, short but dangerously violent and on an on-off again relationship with the meds he’s legally obligated to use to control his violent impulses. Neil keeps trying to implement his usual distance with everybody, but his reluctance, his absent parents and his generally paranoid demeanour make some of the already altered Foxes highly suspicious. Andrew in particular seems willing to go to great lengths to find out Neil’s secrets simply for the sake of controlling him. Or that’s what Neil, with way more issues than t-shirts, assumes it’s his motivations. Except... for all his aggression, Andrew also seems to be the only thing between Kevin Day and the life he left behind.
Neil, although he’s supposed to be playing a meek timid boy, will not give in to Andrew’s demands regarding his personal life. He is willing to give Kevin his Ezzy but that’s all the Foxes are getting before he splits. Or is it? The Foxes are people broken and put back together, just like he is, can he really live with them, play with them and spend every single minute with them without starting to grow connect? *
The Foxhole Court is the story of how this boy becomes a person again, how he learns to give a small measure of his trust (but how big it seems to him) to someone else, I particularly like how it’s not a typical hurt/comfort story in which this is done in a romantic relationship but that Neil has to learn to trust a number of people in his life (and how very weird are each and every one of the Foxes), from mentors to frenemies to teammates (and i do not use this word lightly, Ezy being the center of both Kevin’s and Neil’s worlds). I’m dying to read the rest of the saga and find out if he can keep moving forward.