Published by Spencer Hill Contemporary on April 21st 2015
Also by this author: Game On (Lewis Creek, #2)
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In the small town of Lewis Creek, baseball is everything.
Especially for all-star pitcher Austin Braxton, who has a one-way ticket out of town with his scholarship to a top university. All that stands between him and a new start is one final season. But when Austin starts flunking Chemistry, his picture-perfect future is in jeopardy. A failing grade means zero playing time, and zero playing time means no scholarship.
Enter Marisa Marlowe, the new girl in town who gets a job at his momma’s flower shop. Not only is Marisa some home-schooled super-genius, she’s also a baseball fanatic and more than willing to help Austin study. As the two grow closer, there’s something about Marisa that makes Austin want more than just baseball and out of Lewis Creek—he wants a future with her. But Marisa has a past that still haunts her, one that she ran all the way to South Carolina to escape.
As Austin starts to peel back the layers of Marisa’s pain, it forces him to look beyond the facade of himself and everyone he thought he knew in his town. What he sees instead is that in a small town like Lewis Creek, maybe baseball isn’t everything—maybe it is just the thing that ties them all together.
In this edition of mini reviews, I’m going to talk about two books: Play On and Whatever Life Throws at You. Both of these books centered around baseball and I loved them! Anyway, I hope you enjoy my brief reviews about these two special books that are both filled with memorable characters and romance.
First up is Play On, which focuses on Austin Braxton, a high school pitcher in South Carolina who has already earned a top scholarship to play baseball at college the following year. However, his grades are failing and pretty soon, his scholarship and his senior year baseball career in general is at risk. He meets Marisa Marlowe, a new girl in town who is working at Austin’s moms flower shop. She offers to help him with chemistry and the two gradually get closer. The first thing I want to say is that I loved Austin’s character. He is the narrator of the book, and I loved being inside his head. He’s an intelligent guy who falls for Marisa extremely fast. I loved that he wasn’t portrayed as a big player despite the fact that his small town considered him to be their own personal celebrity. Marisa takes awhile to warm up to since we don’t get to see things from her point of view, but I felt like her secret struggle was handled really well.
So to sum it up, I enjoyed this book because it was easy to read. It had two incredibly relatable main characters and also well rounded supporting characters, like Austin’s best friends from the baseball team. The story definitely had some dark moments with what Marisa had to go through, but I felt like Austin handled it and truly helped Marisa as much as anyone could. This was a complicated story at times, but it never felt too heavy to me.Whatever Life Throws at You by Julie Cross
Published by Entangled: Teen on October 7th 2014
Also by this author: Third Degree, You Before Anyone Else, Off the Ice (Juniper Falls, #1)
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Life loves a good curveball…
Seventeen-year-old Annie Lucas's life is completely upended the moment her dad returns to the major leagues as the new pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals. Now she's living in Missouri (too cold), attending an all-girls school (no boys), and navigating the strange world of professional sports. But Annie has dreams of her own—most of which involve placing first at every track meet…and one starring the Royals' super-hot rookie pitcher.
But nineteen-year-old Jason Brody is completely, utterly, and totally off-limits. Besides, her dad would kill them both several times over. Not to mention Brody has something of a past, and his fan club is filled with C-cupped models, not smart-mouthed high school “brats” who can run the pants off every player on the team. Annie has enough on her plate without taking their friendship to the next level. The last thing she should be doing is falling in love.
But baseball isn't just a game. It's life. And sometimes, it can break your heart…
Wow, Whatever Life Throws at You is SO good. I’d been meaning to read it for a long time now because I’d heard a lot of positive things about it, but I simply didn’t have much time or money. I finally broke down and bought the ebook and I’m beyond glad that I did. From the start, I was hooked in completely. I didn’t read this one in just one sitting because I wanted to take it all in and absorb it. It’s just one of those stories where you’re so sucked in that you don’t want it to end. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what made it great because there’s various memorable parts to the story as a whole. Let’s leave it at this: Whatever Life Throws at You is one of the most mesmerizing and compelling books that I’ve read all year.
I’ll lead with this: Jason Brody is the man. He’s a lot more of a manwhore than Austin in Play On, who seemed to be more of a commitment guy from the start. But then again, Jason isn’t in high school, he’s a nineteen-year-old rookie for the Kansas City Royals. Once he starts becoming close friends with Annie, he focuses less on hook ups and more on what he has with her. I think my favorite part of the story was the development of being just friends to more. This has always been one of my favorite tropes, but it worked way better than I expected to in this situation. Annie was also a great protagonist, and I loved getting to see her character grow. I also loved the relationships that she had with her father and her grandmother. Her father was such an amazing guy, I’d have to say that he’s definitely become one of my favorites in YA to date. This was a fast paced novel that was never boring and I loved all the baseball terminology that was eloquently placed. Additionally, I liked the use of track because Annie is a runner, which also becomes a big bonding point between Annie and Jason. To summarize, it’s a novel that obviously utilizes sports in a natural way. It’s definitely the best YA sports book that I’ve read and Play On isn’t too far behind it.