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Bookish Ames

She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.
~~Louisa May Alcott

Playing Hurt - Holly Schindler I haven't come across too many contemporary YAs where the heroine is a sports player, so I was waiting eagerly for the library to get their copy. I'm so glad I read it, it was good.

Chelsea Keyes was the star basketball player in her hometown. She had a bright future with plans to attend college on a sports scholarship. She's going places...or she was, until she fell during a game and broke her hip. Now everything is changed. She's no longer comfortable in her own body, her relationship with her dad is beyond strained. She still has her amazing boyfriend who stuck with her through everything. But she can't get over what could have been.

Clint Morgan is an ex-hockey player with a broken heart. He goes to college and works, but doesn't have much of a life beyond that. He went into a funk when he lost someone close to him tragically. His friends despair of his workaholic ways when he comes up with his latest scheme, a boot camp to get people into shape. Can a girl with a broken hip mend a broken heart?

This book. OMG. Layers and layers and angst and lust and yeah, definitely a book for a more mature audience. But so good!

At the heart of it all is Chelsea and Clint, two very wounded individuals who have these hard, brittle exteriors that no one has been able to crack. When they first meet, they are definitely not what the other expected. And that's the first crack, I think. Then when Clint tries to push Chelsea to pick up a basketball, her shell cracks a little bit more.
"Show me what you've got," Clint says, casually swinging his arms and clapping his hands once in front of his hips.Doesn't the moron know that just touching the ball has caused the worst kind of ache to thunder through me? That it's like touching the warm skin of a man I love while he shakes his head, telling me no? That's what it's like for me to hold this basketball. It's like looking into the eyes of the man I love, who suddenly refused to love me back. You can't have me.

Then Chelsea pushes back, unknowingly, because Clint is attracted to her. And he hasn't opened himself up to anyone in a long time. But his growing attraction to Chelsea threatens his sense of self and his flinty exterior cracks a bit more.

Now, I'm going to tell you straight out - Chelsea is on her family's annual summer vacation when she meets Clint. So her boyfriend who stuck with her through everything is waiting for her back at home. And this is something that Clint and Chelsea both have to come to terms with. I relished the developing relationship between Chelsea and Clint though. If infidelity is a big no-no for you, then steer clear of this book. But if you don't mind when teenagers make mistakes and learn from them, then things aren't as bleak as they sound then, are they?

Also enjoyable was the broken relationship between Chelsea and her father. His hopes broke just as much as her hip did. She was his star. Chelsea feels like he's mad at her for what happened. She couldn't be more wrong. I liked seeing how they finally came back to understanding each other.

Playing Hurt is not your typical YA romance. I highly recommend it.