Rowena's review of Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler.
Main Character: Chelsea Keyes
Love Interest: Clint Morgan
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?
I've been wanting to read this book for what seems like forever, since long before the book came out but I haven't been able to get around to it before now. Ames read and reviewed this book already, you can read her review here and after I read her review, I just knew that I was going to like it.
And I did.
This book follows Chelsea Keyes, star basketball player who's college plans are nixed when she gets injured during a game. As a graduating gift, her Dad buys her three week vacation to a lake town in Minnesota. He also signs her up for a three week boot camp with Clint Morgan and these days, Chelsea isn't looking forward to much. Clint Morgan is back for the summer to work at the lake resort where he's worked at for a long time. He's a changed man these days because he hasn't gotten over his ex-girlfriend Rosie. His friends are at a loss as to how to help him and he seems to work too much to keep from falling into a depressed funk.
When Chelsea shows up in Minnesota, his first client for his boot camp, things change. For Chelsea. For Clint. For everyone, really. You see, Chelsea has a boyfriend who's been totally supportive of her injury and she loves him but her reaction to this new guy is something she wasn't expecting but not exactly something she can run away from. Clint hasn't been able to date anyone since Rosie because he's not over her and he's not over what happened. He's being pursued by Kendra, a girl that he practically grew up with but he's not even a little bit interested in her. Nobody is more surprised than he is at his growing attraction to the girl with the broken hip.
I need to stop reading these kinds of stories because as much as I say I hate infidelity, I keep reading stories about it and loving the heck out of them. Holly Schindler is another author (in a long list of authors) who haas made a liar out of me. I really adored the relationship that blossomed between Clint and Chelsea. They're both complex characters that are going through complex problems and I found myself unwilling to put this book down. I had to know what was going to happen next.
Schindler did a fabulous job of telling Clint and Chelsea's story. I was right there with the both of them, in their heads and hurting for them, wanting better for them and fighting the attraction to each other with them. I loved that they were both fumbling through their own lives with their own problems and were able to help each other over the course of Chelsea's vacation there.
I will say that this book is for a more mature YA audience as there are some pretty steamy scenes in this one but I adored it. My one gripe with this book and it's not really with the book but with Chelsea. I thought she took way too long to figure out what she was going to do with both guys. All the while that Brandon was pissed off at Chelsea for what she was doing, I was right there with him. Not really pissed off but disappointed but even as I was disappointed, I couldn't help but want her with Clint. I just wish it wasn't at the expense of Gabe. Gabe was good to her and didn't deserve all the cheating business and this is where I was torn because even though I was totally Team Clint, I was disappointed in the way that Chelsea went about that whole thing.
Still, this was a fabulously written story that will keep you turning the pages and sighing all over the hot dang place. It was entertaining, the characters were real and their stories were captivating and I'm definitely going to be reading more by this author. I definitely recommend this book to lovers of contemporary YA stories but there's steamy love scenes in this book so beware.
..and that's your scoop!
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Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com