Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Blog Tour - ARC Review: Play On

Title:  Play On
Series:  Lewis Creek #1
Author:  Michelle Smith (Website | Twitter)
Age Group:  Young Adult
Publisher:  Spencer Hill Contemporary 
Publication Date:  April 21, 2015
Source:  A copy was provided by Spencer Hill Contemporary in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!
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. 

Find Play On online

 My goodness, I was not at all ready for this book.  I jumped in expecting a quick and fun read about my favorite sport, baseball.  Add in a little bit of romance and it sounded like a home run to me.  What I got was so much more than that.  While it still had the baseball and romance I had been looking forward to, this dealt with the much more serious issue of depression and the effects it has on a person's life.  With this added layer, this book turned into a grand slam for me. 

It took me a couple chapters to really warm up to the characters, Austin and Marisa, but once I did, I couldn't get enough of them.  They were both so three dimensional and real.  I felt as though they could have been two people I had actually known in high school.  They both had many flaws which just added to their realness.  While the romance between them is a big part of the story as a whole, I really enjoyed the fact that they each had their own lives and story lines throughout.  It helped me to better connect and sympathize with them.  But I really did love their romance.  It was so soft and cute and it made me say "aw" more than a few times.  The way they supported each other just had me smiling from ear to ear.  

I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed reading about the secondary characters, as well, especially Austin's best friend.  His relationship with another boy on the team brought this book up a couple notches for me.  I really wanted to see more of them and I'm hoping that happens someday in another book.  

Like I've said though, this book wasn't all about romance.  Depression played a large and important role in the novel and I enjoyed it immensely.  I'm always nervous when an author incorporates something as serious as this into their stories but I had no reason to feel that when when it came to this one.  Michelle Smith did an amazing job expressing the seriousness of depression in a way that made it easier to understand.  Its a very serious issue that was handled well in this novel.  

I'm so happy that I had the chance to read this book!  It had me going from laughing out loud to tearing up within a matter of pages.  The emotions Michelle Smith pulled out of me were awesome and it just goes to show what a talented write she is.  I'm looking forward to seeing what she has in store for us in the future!

“She's not perfect. I'm not perfect. But together, we're imperfectly perfect for each other.” 

Five Teapots

***  I'm a intern with Spencer Hill Press but the opinions expressed within this review are 100% honest and my own ***

Don't miss your chance to win a copy of Play On by entering this giveaway! 

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