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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Review: Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler

Playing HurtPlaying Hurt
Written by Holly Schindler
Release Date: March 8, 2011
Publisher: Flux (Llewellyn Worldwide Ldt.)
Travelling ARC provided by author....THANK YOU!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary (Courtesy of Barnes and Noble):
Star basketball player Chelsea "Nitro" Keyes had the promise of a full ride to college—and everyone's admiration back home. Then she took a horrible fall during senior year. Now a metal plate holds her together and she feels like a stranger in her own family.
That summer, Chelsea's dad hires Clint, a nineteen-year-old ex-hockey player and "boot camp" trainer, to work with her at a northern Minnesota lake resort. As they grow close, Chelsea finds that Clint's haunted by his own tragedy. Will their romance end up hurting them all over again—or finally heal their heartbreak?

I really liked this book. The characters seemed so real and the relationships they had were so true to life. The sports terminology was even 100% accurate...score one for Holly! Full review after the jump. WARNING: SPOILERS!

I've been lucky enough to become interweb buddies with YA author Holly Schindler, who is not only a totally cool person, but an amazing writer. Her debut novel, A Blue So Dark, is chock full of top-notch reviews, and her sophomore novel did not disappoint. Playing Hurt was really enjoyable, and I'm sad I had to send the travelling ARC on and didn't get to keep it to read again.

I'm not like many book bloggers in the sense that I could care less about not reading spoilers before I read a book. In fact, I seek them out, because I can't stand not knowing what's going to happen. True to form, while I was waiting for the travelling ARC to arrive, I went searching for Playing Hurt reviews, hoping to catch a few spoilers and see what I had to look forward to. One thing I saw in a couple of reviews was that some bloggers didn't like how physical the relationship between Chelsea and Clint was, especially because of how short a time they knew each other. It wasn't too long ago that I was 18, and in my experience, teenage relationships tend to be intensely physical. The phrase "making out like teenagers" had to come from somewhere, right? I thought the intense attraction between Chelsea and Clint was totally accurate and made sense, considering this was a summer romance that both characters were kind of using as a way to get over their respective "injuries." So that was totally not a complaint for me.

Chelsea and Clint were both very likable, realistic characters. I really felt for Chelsea and her experience with the career-ending injury. The effect it had on her personal relationships was heartbreaking and totally relatable. I really felt for her in her dealings with her dad and the separation she felt from him after the injury. I totally understood her dynamic with Gabe from the beginning, even if the two of them totally didn't see that they were just friends. I know exactly what it's like to be Chelsea Keyes, even if I never was a star basketball player, because I've absolutely been an 18 year old girl. And I know exactly what it's like to be drawn to a guy like Clint...I've been there too. Clint was the kind o guy you could project the guy you're into on, because he had it all. He was perfect in his imperfection.

The story moved along at a good pace. I normally have a hard time with the first third of books, but Playing Hurt took off right from the beginning. I had no trouble getting into the story, and Holly's writing was smooth and entertaining. She knows how to play on all the right emotions, and she combines sadness, fear, love and humor so effortlessly. Playing Hurt is a top drawer read, and you should all go pick it up right away. You can snag it and Holly's first book at the Things Liz Loves Amazon store using the links below. Stay tuned for more Holly Schindler, since we'll be a stop on the Playing Hurt blog tour next month!


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