I didn’t really know much about Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler when I picked it up. I ended up being pleasantly surprised! The characters were all going through various difficult circumstances and I ended up being pretty invested in how their stories would turn out.
I did know that Playing Hurt involved cheating because that had kept other people from picking it up. Considering the fact that the book features teenagers keeps me from being particularly offended. Y’all, kids make mistakes. If they didn’t, every young adult book ever written would be incredibly boring.
Chelsea Keyes got a tough break. She has a really promising basketball career in her future, but she took a bad fall in a big game. Now she has a leg full of metal plates and one heck of a downtrodden/bad attitude. Her dad decides it would be good for her to go through this wilderness boot camp type program – so the family packs up and heads off to the middle of nowhere.
Chelsea leaves behind her super supportive (overly so, really) boyfriend who she has depended on to try and get through the summer alone. She doesn’t expect Clint, the person in charge of her activities. He is hot. He is brooding. He has something about him. That mysterious, unhappy, guilty piece of him calls to Chelsea – just as the unhappy, angry, wounded piece of Chelsea calls to Clint. Hello attraction. And then, later on, hello sexytimes.
I loved Chelsea and Clint together, guys. I admit it. I embraced the cheating in Playing Hurt. Feel free to judge. But come on, they were really great for each other! They were both working to try and get past horrible things in their pasts. I love the way they were able to help each other work things out. Holly Schindler had some definite real chemistry at work here!
By the end of Playing Hurt, I really wasn’t that fond of Chelsea’s original boyfriend anyway. All the characters made mistakes – but they all grew too. That is what makes a good story!
I would love to read a sequel if Holly Schindler wrote one! I don’t think there will be and there doesn’t really need to be one – but still. I’d read it.
So, while Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler does have plot points that won’t appeal to everyone, I enjoyed it! I definitely wouldn’t recommend it to everyone. Still, if you’re already a fan of contemporary books – it is definitely worth reading.