Read on for my review and 2 giveaways to win a $50 Amazon giftcard or Kindle copy of A Game Worth Watching!
AUTHOR: Samantha Gudger
GENRE: YA Contemporary
PUBLISHED: 15th January 2013
SOURCE: Review copy received from author for blog tour
All her life, people have told 17-year-old tomboy Emma Wrangton that she’s not good enough, smart enough, or strong enough to succeed in life. Somewhere along the way, she started to believe them.
Without the promise of a respectable future after graduation, all Emma wants is to cherish her senior year by playing basketball with the guys and spending as much time as possible with her best friend before he heads off to some fancy university, leaving her behind. But when the high school basketball coach recruits her to join the team—the girls’ team—Emma discovers life is anything but a slam dunk. How is she supposed to know how to be one of the girls when all she’s ever been is one of the guys?
Riley grew quiet and still, studying her in the moonlight. When the seconds stretched into an eternity, Emma bowed her head, unable to look at him any longer. She could only imagine what thoughts he entertained in that stubborn head of his.
He leaned in to look at her downturned face. “You deserve this opportunity, Em,” he said softly. “Who knows where it will take you?”
When she lifted her eyes to his, he put on his you-can’t-resist-me puppy dog face. “For me?”
Why did he always have to make things so complicated? Did it really matter if she didn’t go to college or play on some stupid girls’ team?
She growled in frustration and jumped off the log to escape. Wrong move. Riley’s arms shot out, trapping her between his body and the log, forcing her to face him and the conversation.
“Will you at least seriously consider it?” he asked. “Please?”
“The girls’ team is horrible.” It was a fact and everyone knew it.
“Maybe they wouldn’t be so horrible if you played for them,” Riley challenged.
“I’d be playing with girls who have hated me and teased me since elementary school.” Merely picturing their faces made her stomach churn.
“Since when are you afraid of a challenge?”
Emma injected as much pain as she could into her eyes to gain the pity vote. “I’ll be miserable.”
He secured her face between his hands. “I’ll support you every step of the way.”
A Game Worth Watching was a sweet, quick read that I enjoyed. It dealt with real issues, that a lot of teens face, with sensitivity and on a level that was perfect for both young teens and more mature lovers of the young adult genre.
Emma’s family is somewhat dysfunctional. She lives with her dad and 4 brothers, in a house that’s too small for all of them, and they barely scrape by money-wise. To make things worse Emma’s mum just upped and left when she was 12 and Emma has become the outcast of the family thanks to her role as the only remaining female in the house. She survives thanks to her solid friendship with her best friend Riley and their mutual love of basketball.
I liked Emma, although at times she did annoy me with her constant downer on girls! Her life was tough and she had heard enough people tell her that she wasn’t good enough that she believed it. No one would wish to be in her situation but since that was the only life she knew she made the best of it. She gave off the impression, and worked hard to maintain that impression too, that she didn’t care what people thought of her or the fact that she was from a poor family and going nowhere in life, but, eventually, even Emma started to question things.
I loved Riley. What a sweet, caring, considerate guy he was! Emma couldn’t have wished for a more perfect male best friend than him. He looked after her, both emotionally and financially, was happy to share his parents’ love with her, and was always there to be her sounding board when she needed him.
Emma and Riley’s love of basketball proved to be the catalyst for Emma making some much needed changes in her life. After steering clear of other girls, and all of their drama, for years, Emma is approached by the new coach of the girls’ basketball team. Coach Knowles has heard about Emma and wants her on the team. Emma is adamant she’s not joining the team, Riley talks her in to it, and the changes happen from there.
I loved seeing Emma’s progression from a down-trodden tomboy, who didn’t have any hopes for her life after high school finished, to a girl who accepted that if she was prepared to work at things and throw off the restraints that she’d forced herself to believe then anything was possible. She grew up and learned a lot about herself. She opened herself up to a whole new set of possibilities in her life and love.
I’d definitely recommend A Game Worth Watching as a book that girls can learn from. It has a great message to give them. It’s also clean of any sexual scenes or language, making it suitable for younger readers. Congratulations to Samantha Gudger on a worthy debut.
A former three-sport athlete in high school, Samantha grew up with a ball in one hand and a book in the other. From the moment her first grade teacher asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, Samantha knew she wanted to be an author.
Samantha currently resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, a ball-obsessed Australian Shepherd, and a cat that can’t get enough cuddle time. Books, writing, sports, music, and marshmallows top her list of favorites.
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Open internationally. Ends 3rd March.
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