[REVIEW] Playing Hurt – Holly Schindler

Holly Schindler
Playing Hurt
Lllewellyn Flux (US: 8th March 2011)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Kudos to the book for having a female athlete as the main character. Male sportsmen are abundant, particularly in romance fiction, but sporty women are still far less common.

Chelsea is a basketballer in a small town where high school sport is a very big deal. Scouts are in the crowd for a big match, and an accident lands her in surgery.

The physical rehab is one thing, but the psychological rehab is seemingly more difficult. The Keyes family’s lakeside vacation sees Chelsea acquire a personal trainer, Clint. He gave up hockey after a tragic accident, but there’s nothing physically stopping him. Needless to say, Chelsea and Clint both become psychologically rehabilitated, thanks to their relationship.

Though shelved as YA, this seems more New Adult. It’s written well, particular in its depiction of the woodsy setting, and the family conflicts ring true.

But while Chelsea and Clint consolidate their relationship, they mistreat other characters. Clint leads on another girl into thinking she has a chance with him, even though he has no romantic interest in her. As for Chelsea…

She doesn’t break up with her high-school boyfriend until she gets home from her vacation, after they have a hotel room encounter. So the entire time at camp she cheats on him with Clint, though Clint doesn’t know Chelsea’s already in a relationship.

Though Chelsea and Clint share true love, that’s no excuse for them disrespecting others, and thus it’s difficult to like or care about the pair. And Clint’s trauma, while real, doesn’t seem like a connected-enough reason to give up hockey.

Whilst the premise is alluring, the characters themselves bring down the story. It’s still a great read, but not entirely loveable.

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