Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Understatement of the Year (The Ivy Years, #3)” as Want to Read:
The Understatement of the Year (The Ivy Years, #3)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Understatement of the Year

(The Ivy Years #3)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  9,486 ratings  ·  1,267 reviews
What happened in high school stayed in high school. Until now.

Five years ago, Michael Graham betrayed the only person who ever really knew him. Since then, he’s made an art of hiding his sexuality from everyone. Including himself.

So it’s a shock when his past strolls right into the Harkness College locker room, sporting a bag of hockey gear and the same slow smile that
Kindle Edition, 308 pages
Published September 29th 2014 by Rennie Road Books (first published September 16th 2014)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Understatement of the Year, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Sarina Bowen Absolutely! Each book in the series is a standalone.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,486 ratings  ·  1,267 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Understatement of the Year (The Ivy Years, #3)
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)

Sarina Bowen absolutely CRUSHED this one, and I LOVED every second of it! To say that I adored The Understatement of the Year would be, well, the freakin' UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE YEAR!

First, I have to put an important message out to all of the lovers of the AUDIOBOOK of Him: Buy The Understatement of the Year in audio format. I'm telling you, it is worth every single penny. For those lovers of Him, you will instantly recognize the voice of Teddy Hamilton, and you will also ADORE the voice of
Jul 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-audios
5 stars!

 photo 3163C3DF-90EE-46E5-8FDF-B16D1E505F87_zpsdhv1b3jb.jpg
What happened in high school stayed in high school. Until now.

Graham and Rikker… two hockey players. One openly gay. One not. I’ve officially read every book in The Ivy Years Series except the last, and I can say with absolute certainty that this is my favorite to date. There was something so special about this story. It’s friends to lovers, it’s second chance, it’s M/M, it’s about finding yourself and accepting who you are.

Rikker is seriously the best character. I loved that he
Jennifer Kyle
Aug 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: m-m-f-f-reads

"Getting along together was never the problem with you and me," he said. "We're both easy. It's just the rest of the world that's hard."

[image error]

**This story can be read as a stand alone.**

Mission accomplished. I have just read my first m/m book and I seriously loved it. However, since it is my first I don’t have anything to hold this story up against in terms like is it same old story, etc. Regardless, I enjoyed Rikker and Graham’s story immensely and thought it was a great addition to
~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~
There are so many phenomenal reviews for this book already. Because friends I trust gave this book 4+ stars, I decided to give it a go even though I tend not to like M/M books written by M/F authors.

But this one didn't read like "chicks with dicks" at all.

Kudos to Sarina Bowen for a well-written, realistic story about two gay hockey players, one out to much publicity, another closeted and self-hating.

Michael Graham and John Rikker are well-rounded, complex characters. I adored Rikker, his
Bumped to 4.85 stars, that ending still frustrates me

This story is so entertaining and the Audiobook is AMAZING! i still can't believe it is narrated by two narrators. This is dual narration perfection.


Bumped to 4.5 stars
I enjoyed the audio book , the narrators did an amazing job.

Graham....Oh this guy ....Reading for a second time i actually felt sorry for him.. he was so deep in the closet that he did not know anything else other than loneliness.

Rachel Reads Ravenously
4.5 stars!

“Getting along together was never the problem with you and me. We’re both easy. It’s just the rest of the world that’s hard.”

 photo understatement of the year.png

This series keeps getting better and better! The Understatement of the Year is a male/male romance about hockey players Rikker and Graham. This story parallels the second story, following the same timeline but not connecting all too often. When Rikker and Graham were in middle school they were best friends. Entering into high school their feelings
Sep 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing


“Getting along together was never the problem with you and me,” he said. “We’re both easy. It’s just the rest of the world that’s hard.”

“Understatement of the Year” is book 3 in Sarina Bowen’s series “The Ivy Years”, but you can read it as a standalone.

“Understatement of the Year” it’s a second chances/friends to lovers story. It’s a heart aching and at the same time a heartwarming story about two boys who try to be together in a world where unfortunately homophobia exists.

Optimist ♰King's Wench♰
Reread 9/2018

I actually did the audio this time and it gave me all feels. Again. Even though I knew what was going to happen! I think that calls for bumping this sucker to the all time faves list.

Christian Fox and Teddy Hamilton breathed life into Graham and Rikker. I had forgotten how much I liked Bella in this book. Still bummed about her book but... *shrugs*

Overall a helluva read that I would recommend til the cows come home if you like feels, second chance AND unrequited to requited love or
Sep 29, 2014 rated it really liked it

In a nutshell, this is the love story of two 21 year old boys who fell in love as teens, were separated at 15 years old for six years because of a hate crime, and had a very long and painful road back to one another because of a tremendous amount of guilt and more than a little PTSD. Set in the world of Ivy League College Hockey, there is a lot of testosterone flying around and tempers get out-of-hand. Mix that with alcohol, a college staple, and you have the makings of a disaster for a gay man
Melissa (Ever So Mela)
The Year We Fell Down Book 1 Review

I honestly think this author has potential. Her books could be awesome if they only they didn't have those little things that annoy the hell out of me. See, I think I'm very biased when it comes to GFY and OFY. I am ridiculously lenient cause they're my guilty pleasures. They are usually OTT and unbelievable but I can never say no to one.

Warning: It's a bullet list cause I seriously don't have time to write a long ass review. Why I even read this when I should
Review written July 21, 2016

3.8 Stars - Touching sweet sport romance with two lovely young hockey players. Absolutely well worth my audiobook listening time

The Understatement of the Year is a quite popular "boys loves boys" romance from September 2014 in a mixed m/f & m/m series. Written by the same author, Sarina Bowen as the newer (and better) stunning sweet Him-book (4,5 stars from me). A book we all M/M readers still remember.

I'm a fan by Ms. Bowen's light style by now. There
4 Second Chance Stars!
This is the third book in The Ivy Years series. I haven't read the first two books in this series and while reading this I didn't seem to mind that I hadn't.
Rikker and Graham are best friends when they are kids. They spend every moment together. They go to the same Christian private school, playing video games, same church and even on the same hockey team. One night when they are teenagers they are wrestling over the remote and they both discover that they are attracted to
* A Reader Obsessed *
3 Sad Stars

I’m gonna be honest. I didn’t enjoy myself while reading this book, and I really really wanted to love this hard because 1) hockey, and 2) Sarina Bowen.

All the points goes towards the writing. Bowen’s words and how she unfolds the story is superb as always. The relationship progression between Graham and Rikker is complex, tragic, heartbreaking - filled with bitterness and anger and so much regret. It was a terribly painful story of friends to lovers that started while these two were
Wil Loves Books!

“Getting along together was never the problem with you and me,” he said. “We’re both easy. It’s just the rest of the world that’s hard.”

This is one of my all-time favorite books. I make an effort to revisit it every once in a while. It’s just so perfect. This time I listened to the audio and Christian Fox and Teddy Hamilton, who are definitely in my Top 5 of male narrators, are simply magical. I’ve always felt this book needs a sequel. I hope someday it happens.

** Original Review
Anyta Sunday
Jun 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To say this book is good is the understatement of the year!

Smooth writing, smooth, sexy reading. I loved that it had a solid plot-line, solid romance, solid sexyness, and solid emotion. ;) That's a win for me, folks.

I will have to state this first – I could be a snob reader sometimes especially when dealing with new-to-me author who self-published. This book will not even in my radar because 1) The author self-published, 2) The author writes in YA/NA genre, and 3) The first two books in this series are M/F. However, when a friend who is also a very tough reader gave this 4.5 stars and her review title is “Recommended”, well, I took notice.

Guess what? This one was GOOD.

Okay, first thing first, even if this
Mar 31, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq, sports
I wanted to like this so much, but it was a battle between ups and downs. I found myself from emotional to bored in a blink. Not to mention the frustrating times!
So, just kindly ignore me and read all Five and Four Stars reviews from my hmmm... over 50 friends !!
4.5 stars

Do you know those movies or books that just nail a certain time in your life perfectly? Even if it’s not exactly the life you led, you are immersed in the vibe and years you were there. There are thousands of books written about the college experience, but there are few I relate to or take me back to that time. I didn’t play sports, I’m not a gay male, and I live nowhere near where the MCs live and yet…I lived and breathed COLLEGE and all those pains and joys of that time in this book.

Kaje Harper
4.5 stars. This book does fine as a stand-alone.

This is a second-chances story. Two boys were falling in love in high-school, just beginning to see what that meant, when a horrible night broke them. They each got past it in their own ways, but Graham in particular is emotionally scarred and afraid. So much so that he has turned the event into a lesson, an ultimatum that he cannot be gay, must not be gay. He's tried to suppress the past and any feelings he has for other men,

And then five years
Oct 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

3.5 stars

I enjoyed so much about this book. It's a solid NA/college/second-chances/first love/hockey story. And most of those things work for me. And the writing was solid, the story interesting, and the pace maintained itself throughout for the most part.

Problem is, I had one major issue with the book. Something I could probably overlook if it didn't happen to be one of the MAIN characters...Michael Graham. I'll get back to that.

Rikker and Graham were friends growing up until one tragic night
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2019
Sigh, adorable and indeed heartbreaking!!! I seriously love sport themed books and this one did not disappoint. My heart went out to both mc’s. I read this in one sitting it was THAT good!!
Jacqueline's Reads
Apr 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jacqueline's Reads by: Bella
Shelves: sports, 4-star-books, m-m
4 Finding Yourself Stars

M/M is growing on me. It’s not the type of book I instantly pick up, but I can honestly say every time I pick up an M/M book that is recommended to me, I really like it. So, I’m making my way through the Ivy years series and this is Rikker and Graham’s story. Each book can be read as a standalone.

The thing that I really liked about this one is that it’s a love story. It’s about guilt, prejudices and acceptance. There are a lot of layers to this book and it’s a beautiful
This book wasn't too bad overall, but it kind of exhausted me.

I liked the writing style (it was fresh and it actually read as NA) and the story was fast paced. And even though I don't know the first thing about hockey, those bits it didn't get in the way at all.

My biggest issue (and what ended up wearing me out) was that I disliked Graham from the beginning, and as the story progressed my impression of him only got worse. He was young and he was traumatised, and I was expected to cut him a lot
Stacia (the 2010 club)
3.5 stars. I had a review but it got eaten, so I'm not doing the entire thing over.

In a nutshell : Twas good. I'm a fan of the "friends to lovers" shtick when it's done well, and I think it was done well here, if from a slightly reverse perspective. I think the relationship pairing was a good one and the guys were extremely easy to relate to. Ya know - the kid's in school, playing hockey, just trying to get by...then wham, an old flame walks into town. Simple stuff - not overdone. I like that.
Lost in a Book
Once again, I didn't review this when I read it before. *shrug* But, it's one of my favorites and the audio did NOT disappoint. Teddy as a narrator can do no wrong in my book but Christian Fox held his own. This will definitely be an audio I revisit when I'm in a slump. Definitely recommend.
Elise ✘ a.k.a Ryder's Pet ✘
*Had so much potential*

The story follows Michael ‘Mike’ ‘G’ Graham (21) and Johnny ‘John’ ‘Rik’ Rikker (21). These two might pretend that they don't know each other, but they have a close past. Five years ago Graham betrayed Rikker and then Rikker moved away. Now, he shows up in the Harkness College locker room and gets introduced as a new hockey player for the team. This scared the hell out of Graham as Rikker is the only person who truly knows who Graham is and what he has done. But ignoring
Mandi Schreiner
Sep 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m
I very recently wrote a blog post gushing my love for the Ivy Years series by Sarina Bowen, so it should be no surprise that the third book in this series gets an easy A grade from me. It’s so well done that I just want to read it over and over again. Let me set it up.
As teenagers, Graham and Rikker were best friends and as they got a bit more mature and spent more time together, their friendship turned into a romance. Still not truly understanding their feelings for each otherbut knowing for
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘

2.5 stars. You never know when a harsh truth will punch you in the face. Here's mine : Reading The Understatement of the Year, it made me aware of something I am not happy about : I have double standards. I wish I could slap myself, but that doesn't mean it's any less true.

See, Rikker is so in love with Graham that he's willing to accept everything : he forgives him the fact that he doesn't want to acknowledge him in public, accepts to be his hidden secret at night, bears the sight of him
Re listen 19 December 2018: Still one of the best audiobook narration ever!! Total comfort listen!!


I can't believe it took me so long to pick up Bowen's "The Understatement of the Year." I absolutely loved it! I'm a huge fan of m/m romance and of her "Him" series. Although not as graphic as that series or other novels in the genre, it was still sexy as hell. The relationship between Graham and Rikker is well developed and fleshed out through flashbacks which serve to explain their
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Goodbye Paradise (Hello Goodbye, #1)
  • Hello Forever (Hello Goodbye, #2)
  • Heated Rivalry (Game Changers #2)
  • Power Play (Scoring Chances, #3)
  • Empty Net (Scoring Chances, #4)
  • Wicked Lies Boys Tell
  • Breakaway (Scoring Chances, #1)
  • Blindsided (Fake Boyfriend #4)
  • Deke (Fake Boyfriend, #3)
  • Strong Side (Eastshore Tigers, #1)
  • Fake Out (Fake Boyfriend, #1)
  • Winging It
  • Crashing the Net (Crashing, #1)
  • Save of the Game (Scoring Chances, #2)
  • Crossroads (Crossroads, #1)
  • Hot Head (Head #1)
  • Trick Play (Fake Boyfriend, #2)
  • Collide (Blackcreek, #1)
See similar books…
sarina bowen
Sarina Bowen is the USA Today bestselling author of 30+ books, including: the True North series, and the Brooklyn Bruisers. She's the co-author of Him/Us and the WAGs series with Elle Kennedy. She's the author of The Ivy Years series, and more!
Are you looking for a friends-to-lovers story or maybe even a secret baby book? You can read a list of Sarina's books broken out by trope and style.

Other books in the series

The Ivy Years (6 books)
  • The Year We Fell Down (The Ivy Years, #1)
  • The Year We Hid Away (The Ivy Years, #2)
  • The Shameless Hour (The Ivy Years, #4)
  • The Fifteenth Minute (The Ivy Years, #5)
  • Extra Credit: Three Ivy Years Novellas (The Ivy Years, #6)
“He kissed me between the shoulder blades. “Getting along together was never the problem with you and me,” he said. “We’re both easy. It’s just the rest of the world that’s hard.” 30 likes
“Every kiss still felt like a gift, because I knew how much they cost him.” 20 likes
More quotes…