Apr 3, 2011

Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler

Author: Holly Schindler
Genre: Young Adult
Published: March 2011

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?

Have you ever happened upon a book that gets stuck in your mind and you can't seem to move on until you've gotten your hands on it? Playing Hurt was one of those types of books for me. I'd troll through my TBR list looking for another willing victim, and I'd pass this and think to myself "man, I really want to read that book now!" I finally couldn't resist any longer, and bought it at B&N. I started it last night after my munchkin went to bed, and while I wasn't extremely pleased with it, I wasn't entirely disappointed either.

Chelsea is recovering from a horrific accident in which she is now held together by a metal plate and is struggling to deal with life with no basketball. She is a senior, and for a graduation present her parents decide to book a family vacation to a outdoorsy resort in Minnesota. Chelsea's father decides to sign her up for a boot camp, without her knowledge. Clint, her trainer, has also experienced personal tragedy of his own and the story focuses on the two as they overcome fears and learn to live and embrace life again.

Ms. Schindler's story is well developed. The characters have no glaring deficiencies, and the setting is beautiful and she described it in such a way that I felt like I was there. Chelsea and Clint seemed to be normal teenagers, coping with hurt and loss. The relationship between the two was very steamy. I could feel the physical connection and the desperate want. It was actually quite graphic for a young adult novel, I thought. I'm no prude, and I enjoy a good, lusty scene every once in awhile, but I'm just not sure they have place in the young adult genre. I think there are more eloquent ways of telling us what is going on, without being so descriptive.  

Chelsea left a boyfriend back home, and it added a skeevey side to Chelsea's character that didn't sit well. Perhaps she was a confused teenager filled with angst, but my sympathy for her dwindled throughout the story. I am still grimacing slightly thinking about her character, even after I finished the book. Clint, on the other hand, was every young girl's dream. Heck, every old girl's dream too! He was sexy, heart-felt and real. The kind of guy every girl wishes they could run into on a summer vacation.

And the ending. It was sort of a happily ever after, but sort of not. I needed some sort of closure and I didn't get any. Or at least, I didn't get the closure that I was looking for. It felt like Ms. Schindler left me hanging, and I'm pretty sure that this is a single novel, with no sequel. Slightly frustrating.

So really, Playing Hurt was worth the read, I'm just not sure it was worth the buy. It contained a good message, and the chemistry was actually pretty good. I just wish the circumstances were different (the whole boyfriend thing) and the ending didn't leave me thinking "that's it?". I'd recommend it, but I wouldn't rush out and read it right this minute.


Barbara said...

Hmm, so maybe a no go on this one for me? I just finished Gayle Forman's new book and it was so loaded with boyfriend/girlfriend angst, I don't think I could stand any more of it for a while, especially if the h is a pain in the rear.

lol @ the image of you trolling your TBR list looking for a "willing victim."

Caitlin said...

You know.. I don't think I'd waste my time on it if I were you. Especially since you are already reluctant about the challenge anyway, I'd save your time for the epic novels. Like Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. That would be my #1 rec for you! I'm pretty sure you aren't going to be able to avoid all the boyfriend/girlfriend angst in any YA novel, though. ;-)

I've heard tons of good things about Gayle Forman's stuff, but I haven't checked it out yet. If I Stay just sound so depressing and I'm having to gear myself up for it. I'm pretty sure that's not a good sign...

Barbara said...

Where She Went was pretty bad (the sequel). I had to read it twice just to feel good about it. If I Stay was almost worse because the bad stuff happens after you get attached to everyone. Honestly...I wouldn't read it.

I've had Anna on my Kindle for ages. I just haven't had the interest. I don't know why on earth I signed up for the challenge. I do paranormal YA. Not straight YA. lol I do have a bunch of Sarah Dessen (not sure if that's a good thing, ha) already.

Caitlin said...

Anna is a wonderful story! I loved it and it made me happy. But, that doesn't mean that it would make everyone happy either. So maybe give yourself five chapters or something, and if you hate it you can always stop reading it.

Sarah Dessen is great, and she has plenty of books to choose from. I can only read one of her books every six months because her stories tend to all be the same. I need to time in between to forget. Like childbirth, kind of. ;-) And there is a ton of bf/gf angst in her noves, so you might be rolling your eyes frequently. Or cursing, whatever is your pleaure!

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