My Beautiful Struggle + [strange]

Review: Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler

Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler
Publisher: Flux (March 8th, 2011)
Reading Level: Young Adult
Paperback: 312 pages
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 of 5 stars

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?

Review: Playing Hurt is one of the first sports-related books I have read. It's honestly something I have tried to avoid in the past because of my lack of sports experience but I'm glad I didn't pass this one up. This book introduces us to Chelsea, who was just terribly injured while playing in a basketball game. Now she doesn't really know what to do with herself as she learns to live without the sport she loves.

Her parents decide to take a trip to a resort and pay a young boy to train Chelsea. Once she meets Clint she is instantly smitten. Another part of this book I enjoyed was the alternating chapters. As much as this book is about Chelsea's journey, it's also about Clint's. He has a tragic past, that includes a sport as well, and he needs some therapy of his own. While Clint works on getting Chelsea to try new things, Chelsea helps Clint open up his mind to new possibilities.

They don't have the perfect connection throughout this book. They often fight and disagree on what Chelsea should be ready to try. If the entire story was based around this I would have loved it 100% because this made them seem more real. However, one part of this story I did dislike. Chelsea had a boyfriend. He was an amazing guy and I didn't feel like she should have cheated on him. I know many many stories deal with cheating and that's fine, but it just made it a little more difficult for me to connect with the characters. I had a hard time sympathizing with her situation just because of this fact. I just wish she would have told Gabe the truth earlier on.

I will say that Holly Schindler is an outstanding author. This is my first time reading one of her books and her descriptive details and interesting characters made this story flow nicely. Her writing made me long for the summer and being at the lake. The friends and family of Chelsea and Clint were a fantastic addition to this story. They helped round everything out and helped me get a better feel for the main characters.

Playing Hurt is a dramatic tale a romantic summer love and two characters hoping to feel something again. Holly Schindler created a wonderful setting that easily pulls in the reader. Now I know that I must move Holly's other book, A Blue So Dark, much further up on my reading list.

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