Category Archives: Authors

How I Fell in Love with Football by Reading Susan Elizabeth Phillips

by Erika Tsang

Thanks for joining us for a discussion of IT HAD TO BE YOU, this timeless Avon Books classic!


Confession: I actually read NOBODY’S BABY BUT MINE, the third book in the Chicago Stars series first. I hadn’t realized there was a first book then, and by the time I finished Jane’s and Cal’s story, I was so in love with the Chicago Stars that I started from the beginning.

And fell in love with the Chicago Stars all over again.

Another confession: I don’t like football. I don’t understand football. I’m not even one of those people who will sit through the Super Bowl for the commercials.

But Susan Elizabeth Phillips has this way of sucking you in and making football fun. Take, for instance, the scene where the team’s new owner Phoebe Somerville had to perform certain rituals because the players were superstitions:

“Miz Somerville, we haven’t met but I need you to slap my butt.”
“Miss Somerville, you gotta – Your father — … Before every game, he always said, ‘Eat shit, you big bozo’.”

I laughed aloud.

And what about the scene where Bobby Tom explained the importance of football:
“Football lets out man’s natural aggression. If it weren’t for the NFL, we’d probably have gone to war with Russia half a dozen times in the last forty years.”

But IT HAD TO BE YOU isn’t just about football.

A few years ago, a friend couldn’t stop talking about Friday Night Lights on NBC and urged me to watch it. I told her that I wasn’t into football, and she said adamantly, “But it’s so much more than just football!” I eventually gave in, and my life changed.

Because like Friday Night Lights, IT HAD TO BE YOU is about family (lonely teenager Molly pretending that her mother is Danielle Steel), friendship (that scene where our hero Dan went to confront the man who had hurt the love of his life, and the guys who insisted on going along for “moral support”…), and best of all, love (when Dan did the thing he said he’d never do, but does it because of Phoebe ).

If you haven’t yet read Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Chicago Stars series, trust me; it’s so much more than just football. I’ve only touched on the tip of the iceberg here; there are so many gems you need to discover for yourself. From the witty dialogue to the emotional rollercoaster, IT HAD TO BE YOU may just have you falling in love with football.

And if you *have* read this series, and IT HAD TO BE YOU in particular, what is your favorite scene? Please share!