Ruth Devon starred for Georgetown Basketball back in college—until she injured her knee, married her coach, and found a new career calling games on the radio. Twenty years later, Ruth and her now-ex-husband, Lester, are two of the most famous faces in sports media. When Lester decides to retire from the announcers’ booth, Ruth goes after his job. If she gets it, she will be the first woman to call NBA games on national television.
For now, Ruth is reporting from the sideline of the NBA finals, immersed in the high-pressure spectacle of the post-season. But in a deserted locker room at halftime, Ruth makes a discovery that shatters her vision of her future. Instantly, she is torn between the two things she has always wanted most: the game and motherhood.
With warmth and incisive observation, Adrian brings to life the obsessions, emotions, and drama of fandom. The Second Season asks why, how, and whom we watch, while offering a rich and complicated account of motherhood, marriage, and ambition. Adrian’s character study of Ruth Devon illuminates a beautiful basketball mind—and the struggle of a woman who claims authority in a male-dominated world.
“Coupled with several NBA eye winks, The Second Season weaves an intriguing tale of ambition and family…I found the novel to be immensely readable, keenly accurate in its depiction of life inside the show-business beast, and a frankly welcomed look at this world from a non-male-centered perspective.” —The Athletic
“Women with ambition, especially in sports, are often told: ‘Be quiet. Shrink. Don’t dream too big.’ Emily Adrian’s The Second Season squashes any notion of that. It shines in its portrayal of a woman protagonist who will not dim her light. This book is brilliant, engrossing and should be read by every person, basketball fan or not. My only wish is that Adrian had written this when I was a young girl, because it would have made me feel seen, encouraged, and understood.” —Mirin Fader, staff writer for The Ringer and author of Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP
“To borrow a sports idiom, Emily Adrian really stuffs the stat sheet here. She writes as engagingly and insightfully about basketball and broadcasting as she does about work, love, friendship, ambition, motherhood, aging, and the power and frailty of the body. Smart, tough, passionate Ruth Devon is a winning protagonist, and her poignant story is both suspenseful and meditative. The Second Season is a terrific sports novel, yes, but it’s also just a terrific novel.” —Chris Bachelder, author of The Throwback Special
“An ironically funny, high-stakes novel about a woman trying to become the first-ever female announcer in the NBA…With wit and verve, Adrian traces a dilemma familiar to many women: work or parenthood?…Absolutely irresistible, The Second Season is a fast-paced, fascinating character study. Readers of Emily Henry or Taylor Jenkins Reid are sure to love Emily Adrian.” —Shelf Awareness
“Four years ago, in an essay published right here at The Millions, I asked why there hasn’t been a Great American Basketball Novel yet. Well, there is now: The Second Season…Adrian writes with a knowledge and passion for the game, but fandom is not a prerequisite for falling in love with this brilliant, warm, and funny book.” —The Millions
Emily Adrian is the author of two critically acclaimed young adult novels, Like It Never Happened and The Foreseeable Future, and two adult novels, Everything Here Is under Control and The Second Season. She lives in New Haven, Connecticut, with her husband, her son, and their dog, Hank.
Nicol Zanzarella is an Earphones Award–winning audiobook narrator and a theater and television actress. She has appeared in productions of Richard III, Romeo and Juliet, The Winter’s Tale, Cousin Bette, Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, and many others.