Release Date: March 8, 2011
Age Level: Young Adult, 16+
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Buy: Amazon | Indiebound
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?I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I read this while traveling, and I barely noticed that one of my flights was delayed 2 hours. It was so, so good. The characters are flawed and realistic, the romance between Chelsea and Clint is... HOT.
I'm actually surprised at how much I loved Playing Hurt considering that the protagonist Chelsea cheats on her boyfriend Gabe. Her family goes to a lake resort for 3 weeks and she is able to convince herself that having a fling with her "trainer" Clint while stringing along her boyfriend is fine. I wanted to slap her more than once. I do not condone cheating, but yet I found myself sympathizing with her. One of my favorite characters was her brother Brandon because he called her out on all her BS. I wanted to give him a high five... or fist bump.... something!
Chelsea and Clint are both broken. Chelsea is physically and emotionally broken after getting injured and having to say goodbye to her dream of playing basketball. She's a mess, trying to figure out what to do with herself. Clint has never quite recovered from his past, and even though he's supposed to be helping Chelsea get stronger, they end up helping each other heal. Schindler described the emotions of the characters so beautifully and perfectly. She made me cry. In public. And I might have a bit of a crush on Clint :).
The great writing and pacing made it difficult to put this book down. It's all you could want in a summer read! I'm really looking forward to reading Schindler's first novel, A Blue So Dark.