Author: Holly Schindler
Release Date: March 8, 2011 (paperback)
Overall: 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?
I've had the most difficult of times writing my review of Playing Hurt... but only because it was so amazing and I could never dream to even partially serve it any justice. So I shall try my best to convey what could only be my gushing thoughts on the novel because it's one of those hidden gems you just have to share with everyone!
A year ago, Chelsea Keyes was the shining star of her hometown with a scholarship to play college basketball and a perfect boyfriend, Gabe, by her side. And then in a horrible accident on the court, her dreams of playing basketball were gone... and Chelsea was left feeling like a stranger in her own family. As a graduation gift, her father takes the family to a northern lake resort where he pays for a three-week summer "boot camp" program to help Chelsea get back on her feet and focused once more. But when Chelsea meets her new nineteen-year old trainer Clint, a young man with his own haunted past, she can't ignore the immediate attraction she feels for him...
I'm not going to lie, I had some doubts in the beginning about Chelsea and Clint. I'm not usually one that enjoys seeing a girl practically fall for a boy on the spot, especially when she already has a devoted boyfriend back home... but there was no denying the connection these two feel for each other. They're both tormented by their pasts and seeing them slowly open up to each other left me hoping they could heal some of the pain neither should have deserved to still feel. There is something just so right seeing Chelsea and Clint together.
It was Holly Schindler's wonderful execution and believability in drawing this pair ever closer together that left me swooning and craving for more as we see the passion ignite between Chelsea and Clint. The romance could be considered more geared towards older YA readers but you wouldn't want it any other way. A glossed over version would have been just so wrong so I appreciate Holly Schindler's skill with words all the more.
When not lost in the story, I was completely in awe of Holly Schindler's absolutely beautiful writing because it is simply perfection. With Holly's vivid descriptions and a distinct cadence in her prose, Playing Hurt comes to life before your very eyes as the words seem to effortlessly flow off the page! I mean, I think it's impossible to not be swept away in some fashion by this moving tale that captivates you from the very start.
Playing Hurt has instantly earned a place among my favourites! It's more than just a summer contemporary novel filled with romance... it's also a novel with substance that tackles the difficult obstacles that fate sometimes has in store for you. And now that I've finished reading Playing Hurt, there is only the waiting game as I eagerly anticipate Holly Schindler's next novel.