Lovin' los libros

A book blog dedicated to young adult and new adult novels

Review: Play On by Michelle Smith

By 8:22 AM , , , , ,

Play On
   by: Michelle Smith

Publication Date: Apr. 21, 2015
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: e-ARC provided via the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 258 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars

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 façade 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.

 
 
Most people that know me know I have a deep love for watching basketball and football. What they may NOT know is that I also have a serious love for baseball. It's not a sport I can watch on TV, but it's one that will always remain close to my heart, having played softball for many years, as well as dating a baseball player in high school. Smith did such a great job of encompassing the love of the game in her novel and I was left completely overwhelmed by my myriad of emotions. Nostalgia definitely kicked in and I found myself hanging on to every word in this book, remembering a much simpler time where life was so full of exciting possibilities.
 
I really loved Austin and Marisa's story. It's filled with so many beautiful, tender moments that made me swoon. However, it's not all rainbows and butterflies for these two. Smith touches on some very difficult topics and it was hard to watch our characters deal with those. I am so glad she didn't shy away from them as it made the storyline that much more realistic. Teens do not lead perfect lives and love isn't effortless. It takes sacrifice and understanding and I am so glad we saw that. I felt their relationship progressed really well and I was in full swoon mode when we got to their first kiss. It was just so perfect and fit their story so well.
 
Austin was a great character. For being the star pitcher for his baseball team, he doesn't act like an entitled jerk. He's cocky, sure, but he's really sweet too. I love his camaraderie with his teammates and that his team is an extension of his family. His relationship with his best friend Jay warmed my heart and I love how supportive they are of each other. Jay is a great guy who is going through a battle of his own and it was nice to see Austin by his side every step of the way.
 
Marisa completely takes Austin by surprise. He has sworn to keep his head in the game and not have any distractions during his senior year of ball. She starts working for Austin's mom in her flower shop, so Austin really didn't have a chance in not falling for her. She's funny, smart, beautiful, AND likes baseball. Their relationship progresses slowly though. Marisa has some things she's clearly dealing with and she just wants to be friends with Austin. Not even she can resist his charm though and finds herself falling for him just as he is her.
 
This is a book that definitely left an impression on me and I thought Smith did a great job of tying in love, family, friendship, and baseball. The ending definitely had a few tears rolling down my face and it was so appropriate given the nature of this book. It was reflective and hopeful- ending one chapter in these teens' lives and starting another. Just get this one. Trust me.
 

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8 comments

  1. I've heard nothing but amazing things about this book, Jessica and I can't wait to read it myself. It sounds absolutely lovely. I may already be swooning over these love bugs. Also, I'm curious as to what the difficult subjects are that the author tackles, but I'm happy they were handled well.
    Great review, Jess! I can't wait anymore!

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  2. Gahh this one sounds so sweet and I love a good sports romance and I haven't read one in forever! Great review.

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  3. I've been seeing so many reviews for this lately, and then I saw that they bumped up the publication date and it's out now! I think I'm definitely going to read this one because I kind of love YA books that feature sports or an athletic character, which is funny because I wasn't athletic at all as a teen. (I did play lacrosse but only for two years.)

    Anyways... great review. I am really digging how Smith brings in sports, family, friendship, and love. It's definitely a me book. :)

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  4. This book is already on my TBR list. I'm happy to see that you enjoyed it!

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  5. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one! I haven't read it, but I have read the manuscript for the second book. I just adored it, so I know I have to read this one! It sounds so sweet and a fun read! And I don't read a lot of sport themed books, but I know I'll enjoy it :)

    Lovely review!

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  6. For some reason this one has not been in my radar. To be honest I'm not a fan of baseball, but if the book is good, I'll read it :) I'm glad you loved it!

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  7. Basketball, football, baseball... I'm like the opposite! Or on another side of the spectrum or something. Soccer, tennis, football <3 Sounds like you really enjoyed this book! I've seen it around and I remember you got it last week, so I was curious about it. I like tender, swoony moments ;)

    Awesome review, Jess!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

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  8. Great review, Jess! You know I feel the same way. :) I just LOVE how realistic all the relationships were, and how genuine the MC was. I feel like we haven't gotten a lot of male protagonists like him. I can't wait to see what Michelle writes next!

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