Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler

Summary/Cover Image from Publisher's Website:
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 have been hearing fabulous things about Holly Schindler and her books for ages now, though not until I picked up Playing Hurt, her latest novel, did I realize just how fantastic both are.

Playing Hurt tells the story of two teens who have faced more than their share of problems dealing with loss and love lately. For Chelsea Keyes, that means a career changing accident, one that has forever changed her outlook on life. Moreover, for Clint, that means dealing with the losing the girl he cared most about in a horrifying accident, one that has left him emotionally crippled so to say. However, everything changes when Chelsea and Clint are paired together as trainer and trainee at a lake resort. Together they begin to form a bond and begin to fill whole, though will everything work out between them? Alternatively, will they fill even more lost and confused once the summer is over? Only more pages and time will tell in this fast-paced teen romance.

First, I have to say Schindler has created quite the complex and real main characters in this. Chelsea and Clint are characters whose feelings completely radiate off the page from the first page to the last. It is so easy to feel thier hurt, their confusion, and their need to be whole again. Together they form quite the memorable relationship- one that I could not help but root for even given the somewhat sketchy circumstances at times, because together they found out who they wanted to be again, creating a rock solid bond.

Furthermore, I loved the plot in this. One of my main worries when I first picked this book was the fact that it had to do somewhat with sports, as truthfully sports are not my forte at all. However, as it turns out this book and its plot, were so much more than just sports. As mentioned before, there were relationships as well as twists and turns that constantly kept me guessing as the book went on. Better yet, I really liked how easily Holly switched between Clint’s perspective and Chelsea’s, because not only did it give the reader a honest look into both character’s lives, but it caused for lots of tension as well.

Lastly, I also really enjoyed the Holly’s writing in this. Clipped yet emotional, it was easy to lose myself in this story as I became involved in the character’s lives. More importantly, Holly gave such a realistic view into the lives of teens, and the ending was the perfect end to the puzzle. Bittersweet yet hopeful, I wanted more but felt that I was given enough so to say.

Full of depth, wit, and heart, Playing Hurt has won over Holly yet another fan- one who will now be talking up her books like there is no tomorrow.

Grade: A

Playing Hurt is now out!

Source: Publicist at Flux Books


  1. I love love love this book. If I could marry it, I would. That's how much I love it. Don't hesitate and buy it! Plus, the cover is so soft!

  2. I loved her debut, A Blue So Dark, and I can't wait to read more of this! Holly is such a great writer :)

    Nice review, Lauren!

  3. I need to read more books like this. I have A Blue So Dark, but I haven't read it yet. I'm going to put it on top of the pile! Great review.

  4. I've been wondering about this one. I think you just convinced me to get it!


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