Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler
Release Date: March 8, 2011
The Story: 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: Chelsea is popular, athletic and has a great boyfriend. She's the star basketball player on her high school team and it's no secret that scouts are watching her. It's just a matter of time before she's recruited to that top school and is playing for the big time. But she makes a huge mistake when she starts having hip pain. She doesn't tell anyone about it and continues to play her best. That is, until she slips and falls during a game and breaks her hip.
I couldn't necessarily relate to Chelsea's athletic abilities since I have the coordination of a slug chasing cars but Chelsea's pain is so real and honest that it still nearly brought me to tears. One moment she had it all and the next she has a metal plate and will never play like she wants to again. It was easy to feel for Chelsea and to want her to heal, not just physcially but emotionally as well.
Her boyfriend is the sweet and thoughtful and has been there for Chelsea through it all. Their relationship is strained by Chelsea's desire to be spontaneous and to lose her virginity. Despite her attempts to lure her boyfriend into lust, he seems determined to make their first time special and perfect. This is surprising since it's usually the girl who wants this but this part of the plot explains a lot that is wrong with their relationship. They clearly aren't on the same page with their wants and that's what leaves room for Clint to move in.
Clint is an athletic and attractive college student who lives near the resort. He works at the resort during the summer and has been hired by Chelsea's father to get her back into shape. He's had to deal with his own brand of pain because he lost his girlfriend to an awful car accident years before. Clint is still not over this and hasn't forgiven himself for her death and in this, we find that both Chelsea and Clint are in a sense, playing hurt.
I loved watching Clint and Chelsea accept their lives for what they are now. Their healing was painful at times but also beautiful in how they helped one another without even realizing it. Even though Chelsea has a boyfriend the connection she has with Clint is undeniable and it's just a matter of time before their chemistry ignites - or is it? You'll have to read to find out. I loved Playing Hurt and am really looking forward to more from this amazing author.