Thanks to Tara at Ficiton Folio for including me in the Playing Hurt blog tour!
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 was so excited to get Playing Hurt and to participate in the blog tour. I really enjoyed reading this book and have marked it as one of those fun summer read books to read at the beach, by the pool or laying in the shade in the grass. It brought back so many youthful memories to me as I read it. Although I didn’t personally identify with the sports injury, loss of scholarship torture, I did find the friendship/boyfriend dynamic and youth identity issues were bringing back very familiar memories.
The characters were really quite likable. I certainly could put a face to both Chelsea and Clint. They both harbored so much pain that unless you have such a deep pain like that you just really can’t comprehend. They were able to chisel through calloused outer layers to each others’ cores and expose a connection that rarely happens but is so unforgettable. Although Gabe had been her faithful beau, I couldn’t help but see deeper into him. Something between their characters was just ‘off’. In the end I think I had him figured out and was glad that Chelsea did too.
I found that there were a couple of lines from the book that I really liked and I thought I would include them here…
“The heart is a compass, steers us back to the thing we loved the most.”
“History is who we are right now. I mean, just because a chapter of life is over, it isn’t gone…”
Both of these quotes are powerful, no matter what stage in life you are at. I really enjoyed Holly’s writing style and can officially be considered a fan. What I liked most about Playing Hurt was that it wasn’t just about not getting what you wanted, giving up or a fun summer romance. It was about healing, growth and maturity.
I hope that you are able to take the time to pick up Playing Hurt. It is certainly is a book worth reading!