Friday, April 29, 2011

Review: Playing Hurt

Playing Hurt
Released: March 08, 2011
Published By: Flux
Young Adult
Pages: 311, Paperback
Source: Purchased, Read.Chat.Love Book Tour

Overall: Fabulous! 

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?
My Thoughts:

Having a working title really worked well for Holly Schindler's second YA novel, PLAYING HURT. The title is what initially drew me to read the synopsis of this book. Being a hockey fan is what continued my quick forming obsession with getting my hands on the story of Chelsea and Clint.  Take those two initial attachments to this book and pair it with a very simple yet lovely cover and having Holly Schindler's name printed across the front and I was sold from the get go.

Our two main characters in PLAYING HURT, Chelsea and Clint, are both individuals who were facing two similar losses and facts of life, yet it affected them differently allowing the whole situation to come full circle.  Where one character could mend the mind, the other could mend the body, then together they could mend their hearts.

Chelsea was a likable character, despite her questionable behavior at times and her defiant inability to communicate.  Throughout her story I could feel her emotions, her confusion, her frustrations.  Holly was brilliant in bringing to life a character that many people could relate to, including the complex emotions and situation that young adults find themselves facing.

Clint, with a story much sadder than Chelsea's, was an even more likable character and helped keep her story grounded.  The simplicity of Clint's personality and the complexity of his relationships with those around him really painted him as the good-guy, the guy you wanted everything to work out for.  Clint grew, just like his female counterpart.  His evolution was really endearing to see and I truly adored him as a character.  (Did I mention he had a certain swoon-worthy factor that totally amped up the story?)

One theme in PLAYING HURT I really noticed was personal growth.  Across the board, every character had room to grow, to understand, to accept and even to love.  PLAYING HURT wasn't a mindless story based on insta-love or a superficial plot. PLAYING HURT was real.    

What I got after I opened this book was not what I expected at all.  I thought I'd be getting a nice and fluffy story of the mediocre, superficial sort but I was wrong.  If there are a few things I've learned about Holly Schindler it is her affinity for keeping it real and her ability to bring to life the raw moments.  Charming, raw and real.  Holly Schindler's PLAYING HURT is a great summertime read that is full of real emotions, real people and real situations.


Holly Schindler |Website| |Twitter| |Blog|
YA Outside the Lines  (YA group blog)
Smack Dab in the Middle (Middle grade group blog)


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