Playing Hurt – A Book Review

Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler

Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler

Earlier this month, I had mentioned being part of the Playing Hurt, and here’s my review of the book.

What is the book about?

Star basketball player Chelsea “Nitro” Keyes had the promise of a full ride to college-and everyone’s admiration in her hometown. But everything changed senior year, when she took a horrible fall during a game. Now a metal plate holds her together and she feels like a stranger in her own family.

As a graduation present, Chelsea’s dad springs for a three-week summer “boot camp” program at a northern Minnesota lake resort. There, she’s drawn to her trainer, Clint, a nineteen-year-old ex-hockey player who’s haunted by his own traumatic past. As they grow close, Chelsea is torn between her feelings for Clint and her loyalty to her devoted boyfriend back home. Will an unexpected romance just end up causing Chelsea and Clint more pain-or finally heal their heartbreak?

My Review

I loved that Chelsea was not the everyday kind of school girl. She is a goal-oriented achiever, she is not the cheerleader waiting on the wings cheering her boyfriend on in sports. She is the STAR, and her boyfriend, a school paper journalist is the one on the sidelines cheering her on. I think this is an awesome setting, and considering this is a YA book, it provides a nice message that sports is cool.

However, once Chelsea’s injured, she needs to get used to not being in the spotlight, but more important, she needs to get used to not being able to play basketball competitively for some time. She’s still fairly content with her overly romantic boyfriend Gabe, but is getting restless with her family who are also struggling to cope with the changed scenario.

And then comes the summer camp, and the promise of a sweet, forbidden summer love. Clint is her physical trainer hired to give some customized training to help her get back to her old fitness levels. He also has a traumatic past behind him, and is not really looking for love. How these two choose to address the chemistry between them, and whether their romance will remain a summer romance or something longer lasting, and how they are able to heal the fears from each other form the basis for the rest of the book.

The story in itself is fairly simple, no major twists or turns, or any dramas. However, that’s what I ended up liking about the book. Unlike most YA novels, this is a slow, leisurely read. The writing is also wonderfully lush, and captures the beauty of summer camp in remote forested area of Minnesota. The story is also told from both Clint and Chelsea’s alternating points of view. This gives the focus of the book on both the characters, which is good. In fact, I really ended up liking Clint’s voice better, he seemed such a more mature, and genuinely all-around nice guy, whereas Chelsea sometimes comes off a little whiny.

I liked this book, it is well-written, and the characterization of the people is good. If I had to nit-pick, I would probably say the pacing could be improved a wee bit. My interest flagged a bit in places, where the story is just not taut enough.

Other participants in the book tour are:

Do follow the Holly Schindler book tour on our blogs.

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