Release Date: March 8, 2011
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
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?
Playing Hurt is the perfect summer read. Told in alternating point of view between Chelsea Keyes, a star basketball player whose athletic dreams were dashed when she took a horrible fall during her senior year of high school, and Clint Morgan, an ex-hockey player whose own personal tragedy caused him to abandon the sport. When these two met at a lake resort in Minnesota where Clint was working and Chelsea went to vacation with her family, the chemistry between them was palpable and soon they are having a really hot summer fling. The thing was, both were broken and have a lot of issues to figure out before becoming whole again. Chelsea also has a pretty serious boyfriend waiting back home. But Clint and Chelsea can't deny that one makes the other feel again like no one else can...
I love a good contemporary young adult romance and Playing Hurt is just that: a really, really good romance. The plot was simple and a straight up romance but very absorbing nonetheless, with characters you really grow to care for. Chelsea and Clint were really likable and you feel for them. Both characters felt very real--I don't play sports or experienced a tragedy like they had but I related to both of them anyway. I was also caught in their romance--Chelsea and Clint had some very steamy moments together (nothing as sexually explicit as a romance novel but this book is steamier than most young adult novels) and you know these two belong together. I thought having the alternating point of views was a good choice here--I really liked knowing first-hand what was going through each character's mind about each other and their emotions. The ending was okay and I was happy (especially for Chelsea), but I would have liked more of a closure--an epilogue would have been nice to tie everything up nicely. I'm hoping the author will revisit Chelsea and Clint in a future book and we'll get to see how they are doing (if not as main characters then maybe secondary).
I really liked Playing Hurt a lot and I am definitely looking forward to more from the author. If you love contemporary young adult romance that is extra steamy then you are going to devour this book right quick and will be wishing for a romantic summer fling of your own. 4 out of 5 stars