Book Review Alert!!! - Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler
First of all let me just initiate this review, by saying that I'm super excited about the fact that my blogger buddy Kiwi was able to convince Holly Schindler to send us a copy of this book. This is completely un-trodden ground for us, considering how we're just starting out and all, but never the less, the author was compassionate enough to mail us a copy of the book along with a few decadent gifts and believe me, we squealed like little kids oblivious to the probing glares of the people around us.
So this was a small note prior to the review, and it is completely dedicated to thanking Miss Holly profusely for granting a petty desperate wish we've been clinging on to like stubborn children, and really lighting up our summer. Thanks Holly, you made two little, nerdy Indian girls astonishingly happy!
Honestly we love you,
Halinor Everdeen Cipriano
Now what you're all probably waiting for,
The review to Holly Schindler's second novel - Playing Hurt, now ensues...
I was really awaiting the arrival of this book with numbing eagerness, and boy did it look beautiful! I adore the cover, it's got this very thought provoking image, which really allows the versatility of forming little stories in your head, and I just love that! (Just so you know it also feels like velvet, and doesn't crease, all you people out there would love to devour the fact wouldn't you? I know I'm infatuated with it!)
Anyway, where was I before I got carried away like that... Ah yes! So yeah, I did love the cover, and I really did love to finally get my hands on this book...
Playing Hurt really isn't about suspense, and leaving you on an edge, the characters' pasts are revealed gradually but without any mountains of suspense gaining momentum. You're pretty much aware of the fact that both the protagonists are brutally scarred by malicious incidents that occurred in their past. Chelsea (one of the protagonists) has her tale covered in the very beginning, but it takes you a while to fully revel in Clint's past.
So here's a brief run through on my tumultuous emotions in the first half, and also a bit of the plot. (Now I'm not giving away any spoilers so don't hide away!)
Chelsea had the perfect life, the perfect boyfriend, the perfect dream and the perfect college all planned out. The world was really coughing out it's finest for her. She was revered and worshiped, and her accomplishments were preached far and wide. Chelsea was the star player in her school's basketball team, and she really knew how to dish out a good game, but when it came upon her to prove herself in senior year, she found herself in the emergency room with a gruesome metal plate holding her hip together, and preventing her from crumbling like a fragile fountain. With her hopes mirthlessly spat on, Chelsea finds herself with nothing to do, but to drift along life like a bobblehead.
Clint Morgan seems like a model child, he's gotten straight A's, two steady jobs (not to mention another in the making) and a beautiful place to call home. Only problem is, that he's broken on the inside and works himself silly just to stay sane.
So there you have it, two people who are very very sad, and really don't have purpose, that is until they meet at a Boot Camp (organised by Clint) and begin to struggle, fight and chew against the bonds that restrain them, hoping finally that they can stop plummeting.
What I really loved about this book was the way every scene was so vividly described and laced with wonderful instances, that you could see the images and people dancing before your eyes, I really adored Holly's amazing choice of words that made the simple storyline incredibly enchanting. It seemed as though everything was given wings and was promoted from basic to structured. Someone as simple as Chelsea, a girl with dreams left unfulfilled, was taken to a point where she developed into so much more. She became a girl who was passionately in love, who was riddled with guilt, who was basking in oblivion and who experienced the jagged pull of new emotions and experiences. It was great! Clint stayed pretty standard throughout, (or at least that's what I perceived, but I know it wasn't intended that way...) he was a sad young man, to a now liberated young man, who was able to love again... I pretty much saw that coming. But that's the magic of this story! You know what's going to happen, it's just that the roads leading to the grand finale are a little more elaborate and intricate than you thought. I was startled by the sophistication of Holly's writing. it really puts her way ahead of other's in her game. The story really builds, even though the storyline stays the same, it's like one brick, but with different shades of scarlet. The routes leading to the pleasantly realistic ending were riddled with flowers that bloomed to surprise and enchant you. I couldn't help but read the story in one sitting, all owing to the fact that you wanted to experience more. That's what this book is... One big emotional roller coaster ride, that has little messages blinking discreetly here and there. It teaches you a lot, but the values are different for everyone.
Read this book if you want to discover a new side of you, and learn to expose yourself to the raw, steely taste of reality before it slams into you in the real world. Playing Hurt is a shortcut to building a hard exterior around you, that could help you stay rooted even in the most horrifying trials, and that is the best thing I could possibly look for in a book. The only disappointing part was the fact that, certain bits of the story weren't dealt with as appropriately as they should have been. Events, and people seemed placed at the convenience of the heroes and they just popped in and out, blankly without the electricity that Clint and Chelsea seemed to posses so generously. Naturally with two such capable protagonists, you would expect more of everything. I won't say it isn't provided at all, it is...it's just that I loved Holly's style so much, that I probably have these inhuman expectations of her grasp of human emotions now... So most of my issues are purely relative...
But honestly, read it because it's insightful, witty and really is an uplifting summer experience.
I Know this becomes tiresome, but hey it's a tradition, and we wouldn't want to break one of those now would we? Therefore, I think this book is deserving of: THREE AND A HALF STARS!!!!
with great respect and love and all that gooey stuff,
Love and Fist bumps forever (can't leave that out now can we? it's my signature line!),
Halinor Everdeen Cipriano XOXO