ISBN-13: 9780738722870
Publisher: Flux
Published: March 2011
312 pgs
Source: Personal Library

After reading Holly Schindler’s debut novel, A Blue So Dark; a well-thought and emotional story between a fifteen-year-old girl and her schizophrenic mother (my review), I just knew I have to read her next release, Playing Hurt, which was out in March. Holly Schindler’s writing not only entices her readers but her story and the characterisations captivate you as well. You couldn’t help but to feel connected to her characters, though they are merely fictional characters. Reading Playing Hurt has once again evoked such emotions in me, but the feelings and all are very different as compared to A Blue So Dark.

Basketball player Chelsea Keyes has a bright future ahead of her and that she is ready to attend college with her athletic scholarship, but her hopes are all shattered into pieces after a horrible fall during the game. What is left of her is a fractured hip (which she has slowly recovered after the surgery) and a low morale which makes her miserable the more she thinks of it. Instead of a triumph life she has dreamt of, she now feels her life is nothing although she is comforted by the fact that she has a sweet and caring boyfriend, Gabe, who is always there for her whenever she needs it.

Hoping to restore her cheerful and positive spirit, her parents decided to send her for a three-week boot camp program at a northern Minnesota lake resort. There, she meets her trainer named Clint; a nineteen-year-old ex-hockey player who like her, is haunted by his past after his girlfriend died in an accident. Truth be told, she isn’t feeling too keen about the program and her worst fear is that accidents would befall on her again if she participates in any activities.

Clint, on the other hand, feels that work is the only thing in his life ever since of the passing of his girlfriend, Rosie. Unlike Chelsea, he gave up sports because it reminds him too much of Rosie and the accident. He simply didn’t have the heart and mind to play hockey despite the fact that Rosie’s accident has nothing to do with him or anything. Nevertheless, Clint and Chelsea are drawn to each other the more they spend time together and getting to know each other along the way. But as the three-week program is almost up, does that mean that their love and togetherness is coming to an end as well?

Told through Clint’s and Chelsea’s POVs in alternating chapters, Playing Hurt is a lovely story of two young characters’ journey towards finding hope and love, and also about exploring and finding their identity. Holly Schindler has once again captivated me through her wonderful storytelling but what made this a satisfying read is that these characters seemed real and honest to me through Holly’s skilful writing as she is able to capture the feelings and every emotions through their dialogues and you couldn’t help but to feel for them. I have to say I felt refreshed after reading this book as there is an uplifting note to it. However, I have to confess I wasn’t sure about Chelsea’s attitude to love as I got the impression that she and Gabe are in love from the beginning and that how could she falls for another guy she only knew for three weeks. But as I read further, I noticed that it is the connection that she feels with Clint (and vice versa) that speaks for everything and I felt myself rooting for them thereafter.

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Did you miss reading my post on my interview with Holly Schindler? Here's the link.
8 Responses
  1. Beth F Says:

    Sounds like an emotional read. I'm not hugely into sports but I think I'd like this anyway.

  2. Sandy Nawrot Says:

    Don't you love it when you discover an author and you then embark on a mission to read their books? I need to make more time to do that. I've read some incredible books and later I wonder why I never pursued them at greater length.

  3. Sandy Nawrot Says:

    Don't you love it when you discover an author and you then embark on a mission to read their books? I need to make more time to do that. I've read some incredible books and later I wonder why I never pursued them at greater length.

  4. The Bookworm Says:

    It sounds like a good one. Its great when the author makes her characters seem real. Nice review!

  5. Ceri Says:

    Aww, this sounds sweet. It's been a long time since I've read a nice story about two characters connecting like this. :) I have never read anything by this author before but I'm going to keep her in mind and check her out now after your reviews, Mel. :)

  6. Violet Says:

    I haven't read anything by this author either. I really love the story and wouldn't mind reading an uplifting book too :)

    I'll keep it in mind.

  7. Darlene Says:

    This sounds like such a great story -- wonderful review Melody.

  8. Julia Says:

    I know you already told me about this book, and I thought it was interesting. I'm glad she end up with the person I was rooting for ;)

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