Review: Playing Hurt

Chelsea was a star player on her high school basketball team until overuse and a bad fall destroyed her hip. Clint’s hockey playing made him a hometown hero until his girlfriend died in a car accident on the way to one of his games. Physical and emotional trauma keep Chelsea and Clint out of the game, and both are left wondering what to do with themselves now that the lives they’ve imagined are no longer the ones they’ll be leading.

After Chelsea’s high school graduation, her family goes on vacation to a Minnesota resort where Clint is leading an outdoor boot camp. Chelsea and Clint are paired up for one-on-one training. The two injured former athletes are forced to spend lots of time together, struggling to keep things strictly professional. Chelsea has a loyal boyfriend waiting for her at home; Clint knows it would not look good for him to hook up with a client, nor does he feel ready to move on after the loss of his last girlfriend. Can Clint and Chelsea ignore their chemistry, or will a few more people have to get hurt in order for them to finally heal?

Holly Schindler’s Playing Hurt is her second novel, following the debut of A Blue So Dark. With its Dirty Dancing vibe, this book is fun and sexy, even when the characters know better. Playing Hurt is a perfect summer read packed with all the joys of family vacation, outdoor activities, and illicit romance. Holly Schindler knows how to turn up the heat. There are perhaps a few too many comparisons between people and food (peaches, truffles, and pastry, in particular), which got me questioning whether the characters wanted to date each other or eat each other. Realizing just how dirty that sounds, I decided that the food analogies were just right given the height of sexual tension going on in this steamy novel.

Though this is a book sure to get your heart racing and palms sweating, it has a little more to it than that. Above all, this is a book about the power to get yourself back in the game after an injury because, in the game of life, most of the time you’re going to have to go into the next round playing hurt.

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5 Responses to "Review: Playing Hurt"

  • I just requested this book recently from Jamie (as a favor for designing her blog). I can’t wait to read it!! Your review has made me even more excited for it. You know how much I love those summer romances 😉

    1 Ginger @ GReads! said this (April 6, 2011 at 8:56 AM)


    • I think you’ll really like this one! I’m all over the summer romances right now. I think if I read enough summer books I can pretend that I’m someplace warm instead of this horribly cold, rainy/snowy place.

      2 Melanie said this (April 6, 2011 at 10:13 AM)


  • Nice, I can’t wait to read this one. I’ve heard that it’s really good and entertaining, and I’m dying for some summer romance type novels right about now. Love that you mentioned it has a Dirty Dancing vibe… how fun!

    3 Ashley said this (April 6, 2011 at 2:09 PM)


  • I’d be a giant liar if I told you I didn’t enjoy tension. Y’know, as opposed to the insta-we-are-so-in-looooove and whatnot. But this sounds really up my alley — I’d read another review about how if I liked Dairy Queen (which I did!) I would enjoy this. Didn’t realize there was tension in it. YAY TENSION.

    4 shabbygeek said this (April 6, 2011 at 6:02 PM)


    • I think we all know how I fall about insta-love. I like to watch people fight for romance. It’s much more fun that way. And also less likely to include fangs or tails.

      5 Melanie said this (April 6, 2011 at 6:08 PM)


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