Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler

Title: Playing Hurt

Author: Holly Schindler
Publisher: Flux
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: March 8, 2011
Overall: 5/5
Source: Canadian Book Tour
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:
Unable to cope with losing her ability to play basketball, Chelsea Keyes tortures herself endlessly by replaying the moment the accident occurred in her mind. Chelsea was already physically weak from putting herself through so much training, that after slipping during a game, she falls and breaks her hip. Chelsea continuously blames herself for not being more careful in preventing it from happening. Now graduating from high school, having a supportive and seemingly perfect boyfriend, and a brother who cares for her and just wishes she would move on with her life, Chelsea simply refuses to forget and let go of the past.
Clint begins in a similar emotional state as Chelsea does, although his source of tragedy is very different. Clint struggles with coming to terms with the loss of his long-time girlfriend in a car accident years ago, and loads himself with endless work to try and forget it even occurred.
This all changes the instant Chelsea and Clint meet at a lake resort during the summer. Clint is hired by Chelsea’s father to help her get back into shape. Throughout their time together, they develop great chemistry and although Chelsea has a boyfriend back home, their attraction to one another is undeniable.
Playing Hurt is a moving story about two broken characters that together find ways to heal their wounds, face their fears and ultimately discover what true love is.
My favorite element of the novel is the way Playing Hurt is written in alternating perspectives through Chelsea and Clint’s eyes. By presenting each of their perspectives, I was able to connect to the characters on a more personal level and was captivated from the first scene about Chelsea’s athletic past until the very last line of the novel.
Holly Schindler detailed the characters’ lives, thoughts, and emotions perfectly. I personally felt a greater connection with Clint’s story; however, I enjoyed watching both Chelsea and Clint grow throughout the novel. Also, I must say that although the secondary characters were not as focused on as Chelsea and Clint were, they also played important roles, which was another great element of the novel.
I admire Holly Schindler’s fantastic ability to bring her characters to life and have her readers experience Chelsea and Clint’s emotions along with them. The main lesson presented within Playing Hurt, is to take chances and not being afraid to live your life no matter how much it may frighten you.
I believe Holly Schindler is a wonderful story teller with a fantastic way with words. I am definitely looking forward to reading more of Holly Schindler’s work. I recommend Playing Hurt to anyone who enjoys contemporary Young Adult fiction and a wonderful summer romance.
Must Read!!! Loved it!!!
**Please Note: This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.**
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