New York Times bestselling author, J. Sterling, has been teaching us the meaning of true love and the importance of finding the person you want to spend our lives with. She shows us through her romantic novels, that life is more than what we do, what our jobs are and how much money we earn; that it’s who we have in our lives that count, the person standing with you at the end of the day even when it seems like the world’s falling apart.
One of Sterling’s more popular reads is her bestselling series The Perfect Game novels, where we follow the lives of heart-throb, baseball playing Jack Carter and aspiring photographer, Cassie Andrews, who fall in love along the way, despite their differences, in turning their biggest dreams into realities.
Last October Sterling added to the series with her new novel, The Other Game, adding more drama and romance to the already packed series. In this new book, Sterling takes us back to the start of the love story that inspired us, only this time through the eyes of Jack’s younger brother, Dean Carter (See more on the novel in my previous blog post here).
In a recent interview with Sterling, she told us that the idea of re-writing the original story from Dean’s perspective first arose from a conversation she had with a friend, and ever since couldn’t get the idea out of her head. She said:
“I wrote Dean’s point of view honestly because the story came about in a conversation I was having with a reader/friend. And once that idea entered my brain, I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I had to write it. HAD TO.”
At the end of the original trilogy, there is a final closing chapter written from the perspective of Cassie and Jack’s son, Chance Carter. Most readers expected the next book to be written from his point of view, and many were genuinely surprised that she had chosen to write from Dean instead. When asked about this, Sterling told us:
“Chance simply hasn’t talked to me yet, and I don’t want to force my story for him. When I do write Chance’s book (and I have every intention to), I want it to be awesome. You know?”
When The Other Game was waiting to be released, I wrote a previous blog post about the deeper meaning to Sterling’s The Perfect Game. The message that it’s OK to forgive, not only other people, but that we need to forgive ourselves as well. I wondered whether or not this same message would be throughout her new novel.
When asked, Sterling told us that in fact, this books deeper message is more about the bond of family. The love between two brothers and the importance of having a family in life. She said:
“What message would I like people to take away from The Other Game? I just wanted to show more of Dean and Jack’s relationship. And even though the book is still very much about Jack and Cassie- we get to see how hard that was on Dean. How bad of a position Dean was put in over and over again by Jack’s decisions, but how much he still fiercely loved his brother. I don’t know how Jack would have survived without Dean.”
There’s many different kinds of love that we will find in our lifetimes. There’s romantic love, which is what most of us search our whole lives for. There’s platonic love, the kind of love we have for a best friend. Then, there’s family love.
But I think with having a brother or a sister, it’s even more than that. It’s a kind of love that can be summed up in a phrase or even a sentence.
Brothers and sisters are the best relationships that we can have. And it’s often said that having a brother or sister is like having a friend for life: someone to be there for you even when it’s you against the world; someone you can tell your dreams to, who understands; someone who’s willing to fight in your corner when no one else is.
Sterling teaches us that having a brother or sister there, and having that family bond, can sometimes be the only thing that gets us through our hardships.
When Jack royally messes up with the girl of his dreams, his brother is there to comfort him. Dean doesn’t like what Jack done, hate’s it even, but at the end of the day as hard as it is for him, Dean is always in his corner. Helping him, defending him. Dean is the sole reason that Jack survived through his hardships. Dean was the only person who helped him enough to go on.
This is what The Other Game teaches us: that the bond of a sister or brother, is the most important relationship we can have, and they’re the only people that can get us through the day when everything else seems to fall apart.