I had no idea what to expect from this book and don't care for soccer. Thankfully, while the story centers around a football fan and a football player, it didn't go into excruciating detail about football itself. I've also never read a book from an Aussie writer before and had a lot of fun reading the Aussie-isms and regional slang, none of which I had to look up to understand.
The characters are well-drawn and believable, and their relationships felt authentic. I immediately loved all the characters and it was clear that Simon and Deacon were going to change each other's lives. They commit to each other completely, and it's convincing everyone else of this that created much of the tension in the first half of the book, as well as the fact that Deacon was a closeted pro-football player.
I was worried at first that it was going into the realm of fantasy once Deacon came out, but the honeymoon proved to end rather brutally. If a pro-sportsplayer ever did come out, I can very well imagine the series of events taking place in real life that the characters experience here.
Is it perfect? No. The author on a couple of occasions repeats himself within a few paragraphs, and there is the cliche "misunderstanding" that separates the characters. Still, I didn't feel that it was contrived or forced. Simon had already proven that he's more than capable of being pigheaded, and Deacon had shown his flaws previously as well. The resolution certainly stayed away from cliche - even poking fun at all those Hollywood endings.
The most telling indicator that I just read a great book was that it stuck with me for many days after reading it. This is one to re-read and enjoy again and again.