Title: Playing Hurt
Publication Date: March 8, 2011
Source: Finished copy provided by author for book tour
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 have to first give a huge thanks to Holly Schindler for allowing me to host this awesome blog tour and for providing a copy of Playing Hurt! I’m so happy to help promote this amazing author and her second YA novel.
Warning: This review contains spoilers!!
And now for the review. My friends, Holly Schindler has done it again! She originally blew my mind with A Blue So Dark and her raw portrayal of the struggles with mental illness. And now, she has tore my heart out with Playing Hurt, yet another in-depth look at the less pretty side of humanity – cheating.
Yes, cheating is a big part of this book. And yes, it is a very wrong, selfish, terrible thing to do to someone and I would never condone it. But it still happens in life, and it happens often. Instead of avoiding it or sweeping it under the rug and pretending it doesn’t exist, Holly confronts it head-on without holding back. It may make some people uneasy and uncomfortable, and that’s what I love about it. We all face moral decisions everyday, and we don’t always choose the right path. Did you always make the right choices when you were 18?? I know I didn’t…
As you read the story and learn more and more about Chelsea’s struggles, you begin to understand her feelings and her actions. You may, probably, not agree with her decisions, but you can at least understand her a bit better. The same goes for Clint and his dilemmas with his past. The relationship that blossoms between the two was complicated, fascinating, and heartbreaking all at once. The fact that they are both out of high school adds to the effect of this more “adult” content and it is not something we see in YA very often. Holly also portrayed Gabe’s character spot-on and made it clear that Chelea’s actions affected him in a big, big way. No one wins when cheating is involved, and the growth that the characters go through is intense but incredibly accurate.
If you are on the fence about reading this book because of the subject matter, I encourage you to give it a shot. If you are looking for an incredibly real and raw story, Playing Hurt is the book for you.
Be sure to check out the other awesome reviews on the tour here!