I wanted to see for myself if everything I've heard, if the reviews I've read really hold some truth in them, and I was delightfully surprised because this book lived up to my expectation and more.
Title: Playing Hurt by Holly SchindlerChelsea's got a bright future ahead of her, she's popular, she's talented, and she's the star of her team's basketball team. She's got a lot of good things going for her, a bright future to look forward to, but all of it changed because of an accident. All of a sudden there's no scholarship in sight, no future, and having taken away the chance to play the sport she loved hurt Chelsea in a lot of ways. She was sent into a boot camp in hopes that she will heal, and she meets Clint, her physical trainer, who suffered devastating loss as well, and of all the things that could have happened to her, Chelsea fell in love.
Release Date: March 8th 2011
Published by: Flux
Source: Holly (for the book tour!)
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository
Summary (from Goodreads):
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 was able to relate to the theme of this book better because I'm a big fan of basketball. My older brothers play, and I see my twin brother in Chelsea, both having devastating injuries that just might never heal enough to let them be able to play the sport they love ever again and the pain that comes along with realizing that truth.
The doctors were able to put her back together but Chelsea was more broken and vulnerable than ever. When she was sent to a boot camp she met Clint, and together they formed an unlikely bond, both hurting and dealing with losses and love. Both struggling to fill the void that was left by the painful losses they've suffered and still continue to suffer from.
Through it all they fell in love, but will they be able to survive this added complication to their lives or lose more? Gabe was Chelsea's boyfriend, and she was aware of what she was doing with Clint while she still had Gabe, but I felt that Holly was able to bring out why Chelsea's relationship with Gabe had to stop to make way for Clint, and made the readers understand why it had to end up that way. If anything, Chelsea was being honest. I am not a fan of cheating, nor do I think that "two-timing" is good, but sometimes you need to know the difference of just being in a relationship for the sake of having one and recognizing (and falling) when the right person for you is there.
Told between Clint and Chelsea's alternating points of view, I loved how Holly was able to weave through both Chelsea and Clint's thoughts, letting the readers dive into their emotions and the way they think head on. I was deeply engrossed with the story, felt the tension between both Chelsea and Clint, with steamy scenes that adds to the intensity of their emotions for each other.
I loved how Holly was able to draw out the emotions of the characters and just transform them into words which the readers can almost feel radiating off the pages as they read on further in the story. You can feel Chelsea's pain throughout and that's what made reading this book more memorable for me.
Playing Hurt is a story about loss and moving on, acceptance and healing and of love and it's complexities. Holly's writing style is so beautiful, deep and compelling at times. With multi-dimensional characters and real, honest issues, Playing Hurt is a bittersweet, emotional, yet hopeful story that will leave a mark in us, basketball fans or not. If you are looking for a satisfying, good read, here's a book you should definitely read!
Content (plot, story flow, character):
Stunning: Worthy of a Goddess' Praise!
Don't be fooled by the cute looking cover!
Don't be fooled by the cute looking cover!