Have you ever happened upon a book that gets stuck in your mind and you can't seem to move on until you've gotten your hands on it? Playing Hurt was one of those types of books for me. I'd troll through my TBR list looking for another willing victim, and I'd pass this and think to myself "man, I really want to read that book now!" I finally couldn't resist any longer, and bought it at B&N. I started it last night after my munchkin went to bed, and while I wasn't extremely pleased with it, I wasn't entirely disappointed either.
Chelsea is recovering from a horrific accident in which she is now held together by a metal plate and is struggling to deal with life with no basketball. She is a senior, and for a graduation present her parents decide to book a family vacation to a outdoorsy resort in Minnesota. Chelsea's father decides to sign her up for a boot camp, without her knowledge. Clint, her trainer, has also experienced personal tragedy of his own and the story focuses on the two as they overcome fears and learn to live and embrace life again.
Ms. Schindler's story is well developed. The characters have no glaring deficiencies, and the setting is beautiful and she described it in such a way that I felt like I was there. Chelsea and Clint seemed to be normal teenagers, coping with hurt and loss. The relationship between the two was very steamy. I could feel the physical connection and the desperate want. It was actually quite graphic for a young adult novel, I thought. I'm no prude, and I enjoy a good, lusty scene every once in awhile, but I'm just not sure they have place in the young adult genre. I think there are more eloquent ways of telling us what is going on, without being so descriptive.
Chelsea left a boyfriend back home, and it added a skeevey side to Chelsea's character that didn't sit well. Perhaps she was a confused teenager filled with angst, but my sympathy for her dwindled throughout the story. I am still grimacing slightly thinking about her character, even after I finished the book. Clint, on the other hand, was every young girl's dream. Heck, every old girl's dream too! He was sexy, heart-felt and real. The kind of guy every girl wishes they could run into on a summer vacation.
And the ending. It was sort of a happily ever after, but sort of not. I needed some sort of closure and I didn't get any. Or at least, I didn't get the closure that I was looking for. It felt like Ms. Schindler left me hanging, and I'm pretty sure that this is a single novel, with no sequel. Slightly frustrating.
So really, Playing Hurt was worth the read, I'm just not sure it was worth the buy. It contained a good message, and the chemistry was actually pretty good. I just wish the circumstances were different (the whole boyfriend thing) and the ending didn't leave me thinking "that's it?". I'd recommend it, but I wouldn't rush out and read it right this minute.