Tuesday, 20 March 2012

playing hurt by Holly Schindler


Synopsis
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?


My review
Playing hurt is a book about loss, love and self-confidence. Both of the main characters lost something they loved in their own way.
Chelsea has lost something she was very good at and something she could build up her future on but now that it’s gone, she doesn’t know who she is anymore.
Clint lost something he loved very much for something that was so important to him, that he stopped doing it because he thinks it was his fault.
They both have to live with the big changes in their life which they don’t know how to deal with, and they stop living their life like their used to.
Clint and Chelsea meet at this time of their lives and help each other to get up again and out of the shadows of their past.

Each chapter of the book is written from a different perspective. One time it’s Chelsea’s and the other time it’s Clint’s, which is really good because you get to know the characters better and see what’s inside their head in different situations.
I really liked getting to know them. The focus isn’t just on one person who tells the story, but two.

Chelsea is an 18-year-old girl who just graduated from high school. Before her accident she was on her way to college with more than one scholarship in her pocket. That all changed and now she’s without a perspective.
As a graduation gift her dad books a three-week summer “boot camp” at a resort in hopes of getting her out again, to do something,  even if it isn’t sport. During her time in the camp she finds back to herself again and falls for Clint even though she has a boyfriend, Gabe.  Soon they start  a secret affair.

Clint is a 19-year-old college student who has a summer job at the resort with his two best friends, and starts his own “boot camp” there.  He was a hockey player until his girlfriend died in a car accident, on her way to one of his games. Since then he hasn’t played any kind of team sport or dated anyone, but is still very athletic.

At the beginning of the story Chelsea has a difficult relationship with her father. Since her accident he seems distant and dismissive. Chelsea however hangs on her past as a basketball-player and how it used to be. She watches old videotapes even the tape of her accident over and over again. Gabe, her boyfriend seems to be the only one who can talk to her and whom she trusts and loves, which makes the separation during the boot camp ever worse.
But all that changes when she meets Clint.
I personally think that the upcoming relationship between the two of them is only based on the looks!  They’re attracted to one another as soon as they see each other and from that moment on it’s all physical. They do lots of activities to find the right one Chelsea is finally willing to do without being afraid. Chelsea and Clint spend every day together and become closer with each second.  There’s a lot of tension, especially because they’re not allowed to go out in the first place because he’s her trainer and she obviously has a boyfriend, but I missed the personal relationship at the beginning.  Clint knows Chelsea’s background story and why she behaves like she does, but she doesn’t know a thing about him. Sure, throughout the book you know everything is going to be fine and Chelsea will find out what happened to Clint, but that’s not enough for me. It’s not all about sex but every time they meet the outcome is always the same. They kiss and try to explore as many of each other body parts as possible.
At the beginning Clint seems like a reasonable guy but a few of his decisions and actions made me doubt him. When he finds out that Chelsea has a boyfriend he doesn’t react.  I got the feeling that it was her decision to make whether or not the relationship should go on and that he would just go along with it.  It’s nearly the same with Chelsea. She keeps saying in her head:  “Why am I doing this? I have Gabe. Gabe is sweet.” And other similar things but she doesn’t do anything to change the situation. 
Ok, I have to admit I’d rather read about Clint and Chelsea then Gabe and Chelsea, because he seems so boring even though she often describes him with the words ‘wonderful & perfect’. I assumed right up until the end that he would be the bad guy and would cheat on her.
What I’m trying to say here is: I don’t like the fact that she’s cheating, Clint doesn’t do anything to stop it and they just carry on because they can’t keep their hands of each other.

But it’s not all about their relationship even though it is a major point!
During their stay at the resort, Chelsea also gets the chance to talk to her father and they fix the problem between them, mostly because Clint encourages her to talk to her dad, finally.

They both overcome their fears.

I really like the ending because everyone comes to their senses and there’s a hint of a reunion.

So, in the end it’s an ‘OK’-book. If you can overlook a few things it’s actually very good. It’s well written, you get to know the characters a lot and everything seems to find its way where it belongs.
Maybe the book is a good example and we should take a step forward and NEVER LIVE TIMIDLY! Take a chance and see what happens, it always gets better
J

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