May 30, 2011

REVIEW! Playing Hurt. +GIVEAWAY!

*Provided by the Playing Hurt blog tour!

Playing Hurt
Holly Schindler


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?

My rating: 5 stars.


Finally, a YA book that doesn't shy away from mature themes! Where have you been, Ms. Schindler, and why hadn't I read your books yet?

Yes, Playing Hurt deals with mature themes, specifically those of the sexual kind - in this instance, it's both sex and the act of cheating.  Which is not your typical YA storyline in which the main character searches for the "one" or his/her soulmate.  Instead, it's about discovering new love through rather unnacceptable means. And while I certainly don't condone cheating, neither does the book. Playing Hurt offers a gritty, but realistic, portrayal of a different kind of self-discovery journey. 

Chelsea actually grows as a character.  So does Clint.  They're neither monotonous nor stationary. Aside from their cliché appearances - totally gorgeous, tall and tan - they really do mesh well together.  Sure, it's insta-love. But there's more to it. There's depth - something that usually gets overlooked.  Their problems are entirely different from one another's, yet they're able to come together in more ways than one. 

My only gripe is that the sports take a bit of a backseat within the plot. The story is about both Chelsea and Clint going through this boot camp program, but there's hardly anything boot camp about it. And considering Chelsea's self-discovery revolves around life after basketball, and Clint's after hockey, I came to expect more of an inclusion of sports.  Unfortunately, the expectation falls short. There are sports, of course, just not as much as you may think.

Other than that, Schindler's writing is very fluid with beautiful descriptions that aren't overdone. The pace keeps steady and the minor characters get just enough "air time." Playing Hurt is a great rollercoaster of emotions, all neatly packaged and presented to its readers.

Love it!


As the last stop on the Playing Hurt blog tour, I have the honor of giving a copy to one lucky winner! (** Paperback, slightly worn from previous travels.)

* ENDS at midnight, 6/13/11.
* Winner will be chosen by and e-mailed.
* Do not have to be a follower, but it's much appreciated!

You can fill out the form HERE.


  1. Great review! It sounds like a really great book. I'm ok with insta-love if there's a good story with it. I don't think I'd mind that there isn't a whole lot of sports. Sports are not my thing, LOL.

    Thanks so much for the giveaway! Yay!

  2. I feel like I'm more stringent on my standards for contemporary novels as I don't have to suspend as much disbelief when reading them. But this book sounds like something I'd be able to get lost in. Thank you for the heads up!

  3. I think I'm more into contemporary books that don't tackle romance as the primary subject. I'm just allergic to mush. Hehe. But I do appreciate beautiful writing.

  4. Thanks so much for this giveaway! Great review too!!! I follow on twitter and now GFC as well. I just did my first book review on my blog so I love reading other reviews to get a feel on a book to see if it's worth my attention. Your review got me interested in this book!! Thanks so much! :)

  5. Ooh, great review and it's totally made me want to read the book even more. Thanks for the great giveaway! :)

    FYI, you might need to request to follow me/friend me on Twitter and Facebook, as they are both locked to privacy.

    Suz @ A Soul Unsung


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