Offsetting Penalties by Ally Mathews

Offsetting Penalties by Ally Mathews

Isabelle Oster has dreamed of being a prima ballerina her entire life, so when the only male dancer backs out of the fall production, she’s devastated. Without a partner, she has no hope of earning a spot with the prestigious Ballet Americana company. Until hot jock Garret practicing stretches in one of the studios gives Izzy an idea, and she whips out her phone. But does she really want this badly enough to resort to blackmail?

All-state tight end Garret Mitchell will do anything to get a college football scholarship. Even taking ballet, which surprisingly isn’t so bad, because it means he gets to be up close and personal with the gorgeous Goth girl Izzy while learning moves to increase his flexibility. But Izzy needs him to perform with her for the Ballet Americana spot, and he draws the line at getting on stage. Especially wearing tights.

Offsetting Penalties by Ally Mathews

This young adult romance involves an aspiring football player and an aspiring ballet dancer. They’re thrown together when our hero – recovering from an injury – is encouraged to take up ballet to help with his football – his flexibility in particular.

Unlike most young adult books I’ve read recently, this one was written in the third person.

I like books where the characters have particular ambitions and talents they’re working with. I didn’t have a normal childhood or adolescence, with everyone in my family involved either in the theatre or elite sport, and I’m always going to pick up a book with these themes.

It seems the author knows a thing or two about American football, but not enough about ballet to convince me. As you would expect, I know NOTHING about American football (other than that they wear scaffolding when they play!), but it seems she did a good job with that aspect of the book.

The heroine starts off highly unlikeable, blackmailing the hero into dancing with her by filming him in the ballet studio and threatening to show it at school. Nobody who does ballet would ever do anything like this. I knew guys who kept their ballet lives a secret, and not even the meanest person at the studio would have been awful enough to do what she did.

Thankfully, the nastiness is resolved fairly fast, because I wouldn’t have been able to keep reading otherwise.

Now, I’m always going to be nitpicky with the ballet, and it’s no different here. I’ll just mention three things, though:

#1 It’s a ballet barre, not a “bar”, as it is referred to a number of times. You hold it; you don’t drink at it!

#2 I was horrified by the personal “ballet” lessons the hero received. Ballet is dance, not “stretching”. The guy walked into the studio cold, and with zero warmup was stretching beyond his (very limited) capabilities. A guy who can’t bend to touch his knees has no business throwing a leg up on a barre over a metre high.

This wasn’t ballet; it was muscle-tearing!

#3 No, people don’t wear princess costumes to ballet class. This is what ballet students look like when they’re in the studio:

Kiyanochka_02 Ballet Class Ballet Students


Entangled’s Crush line is category romance for teens, so this is a shortish read, where the action moves along at a pretty fast pace. Offsetting Penalties is a decent little read to pass an afternoon – just don’t nitpick like me!


Review copy provided by NetGalley.


One thought on “Offsetting Penalties by Ally Mathews

  1. Pingback: The Week: 19th – 25th March – Sonya's Stuff

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