Friday, August 05, 2011

Review: Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler

Title: Playing Hurt
Author: Holly Schindler
Publisher: Flux
Pages: 303
Release date: March 8th 2011
Genre: Contemporary YA; romance
Source: Bought at The Book Depository
Find out more: Amazon ; Goodreads

Goodreads description:
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 immediately 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?

First sentence:
A camera winks at me from high in the bleachers like we're sharing a secret.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Even though I loved Holly Schindler's debut, A Blue So Dark, I wasn't sure whether I was going to like this one. Playing Hurt sounds really different from A Blue So Dark, and I was kind of worried about the sports aspect, because that's just not my thing. But there was no reason to worry - the topics of Holly Schindler's two novels are really different, but I loved Playing Hurt just as much as A Blue So Dark! The sports aspect isn't that big of a deal, either - yeah, the two main characters are both athletes, but basketball and hockey are talked about like any type of passion and later something they're scared of, not specifically as sports.

Like in Holly Schindler's debut, the writing is amazing - rich and beautiful. I wish I weren't so lazy and had written down some quotes to show you how great it is, but as it is you'll just have to take my word for it: Holly Schindler's prose is beautiful.

Other than the writing, the characters are what really carried the story, for me. Playing Hurt is written from alternating perspectives, and both Clint's and Chelsea's narratives are great. Both characters are very likeable in the beginning - I felt for Chelsea and could relate to her. Usually, it's a little harder for me to relate to male main characters, but I connected with Clint just as much as I did with Chelsea! He's so lovable, but still seems realistic.

Later on, though, I became frustrated with Chelsea. I think she should have felt more guilt for cheating on Gabe, her boyfriend back home. She did think of him a lot, but once she said something about how she loved Clint but didn't want to break up with Gabe because their relationship is so comfortable - that really annoyed me. She frustrated me again when she blames Gabe for their relationship not working out - I loved her romance with Clint, but what she does is still wrong, and it's her fault. That made me like Chelsea less towards the end - if her guilt had been elaborated on, I think she would have been an even more likable character.

The romance between Chelsea and Clint is great, definitely swoon-worthy. Despite Chelsea's relationship with Gabe, I felt myself rooting for Chelsea and Clint to get together. The development of their relationship is so natural and relatable, with ups and downs but without any unnecessary melodrama. Their feelings for each other are adorable, and I liked reading both of their thoughts about the other one.

I also appreciated that Playing Hurt isn't only about their romance, but also about both of their character growth. I loved reading about how both of them changed over the course of the vacation and learned to deal with their fear. I would have liked to know more about Chelsea's relationship with her family, how that was affected by the accident and how it changes because of Chelsea's character growth. Those aspects are mentioned a few times, but I really would have liked to have seen that elaborated on more.

If you mind sexual content, then I need to warn you this book probably isn't for you - there are quite a few sex scenes. I generally don't mind sexual content because, well, that's just a normal part of life, in my opinion, but I could see that it would be a problem for some people.

Even though there are some things I would have liked the author/narrators to talk about more (Chelsea's guilt, her relationship with her family), this is a great read with beautiful writing and fully-developed characters. Playing Hurt is an adorable summer romance, but also a great exploration of character development. I definitely recommend it, and I'm looking forward to what Holly Schindler comes up with next!


  1. Great review! I've heard some amazing things about this book, and I do have it on my shelf.

    I just havne't read it...oops! I'm going to get on that soon, your review convinced me!

  2. I've seen this book around a lot, and heard tons of great things about it. Your review is making me want to go out and get my own copy!! Another book that'll be on my endless wishlist(:

    Awesome review!


  3. This sounds like a great book. I'm loving contemporaries! Romance + character journeys = Epic read.

  4. Great review, looking forward to reading this

  5. I really want to read this book. It's on my "to buy" list when I get some spare money :)

  6. Oooh! I have been so excited to read a book by Holly Schindler (I bought A Blue So Dark recently). I'm glad to see a review of it. You make it sound so amazing, it makes me so excited to start reading it asap! Thanks for the great review! ^_^

  7. Love your review! This is definitely the book I want to win in your giveaway :)

  8. As a lover of sports and Schindler, I think I'd enjoy this book too.

    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

  9. I like your review. I haven´t read Playong Hurt but I want to.

  10. You've convinced me to read this book now :) Great review! :)

  11. I would love to read this book!

    Laura Ann Dunks

    lauradunks at googlemail dot com


Please leave a comment - I love to hear what you think!

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