Title: Player’s Game
Author: Desirae Clark
Publisher: BLVNP Incorporated
Genre: YA Romance
Setting: Scottsdale, AZ
Source: I received this novel from DigiWriting via NetGalley for my honest review
Publication Date: Dec 2017
And when I turned around, I expected to see my annoying little sisters but was instead greeted by a familiar face. In the threshold stood Parker Brady with a devious smirk on his face and the looks of a god.
Samantha Valentine’s life turns upside down when she finds out her family is returning to her old town, Scottsdale. It took her a while to make the city her home, and now all of that is for naught, as she has to learn to settle in a quiet town again.
Parker Brady is perfectly happy to make a mess of his life after his best friend, Samantha, left him. He felt betrayed by his most trusted friend, and now he doesn’t care about anyone anymore. The only thing that matters to him is getting girls.
The two are not so thrilled when they meet after years of being away. Old grudges resurface from the past.
Will Samantha and Parker restore their broken friendship? Or will something else rise from its ruins?
What I say:
The book opens in Manhatten with Samantha finding out that her mom’s been given a transfer (or new job?) in Scottsdale. This means returning to the town from which they had moved six years prior. Samantha had to endure the painful process of moving, leaving her friends behind, and starting a new school only to turn around and do so again, ending up where they started. The only part of this story that made perfect sense was Samantha’s angst and worry about moving, which she gets over the very first day at her new school.
Enter the old “best friend”, Parker, she left behind who’s turned into a teenaged Lothario and has made his way through all the girls at his high school. Samantha turns to him as her friends from her NY school fade out of her life. He spends the night at her house and her mom even says that it’s ok for Samantha to spend the night at Parker’s. Who does this?
Speaking of her mom, barely three months after they move back to AZ, the mom finds out that she has to take a business trip to London. It could last a few days or a few months (at one point, Samantha says she hopes it isn’t years) but that’s ok because Samantha can stay by herself for an indeterminate amount of time and Samantha’s 14-year-old twin sisters can conveniently stay with a couple that the mom has just met. Who does this????
Even more strangely, Samantha’s old classmates turn up at her AZ high school as part of some alien off-world exchange program in which private Manhattan schools drop their kids off at public, rural-type schools in Arizona. Who does this?????
The romance that blossoms between Parker and Samantha was cute and it played out as it’s played out in dozens of YA romance novels throughout history. This bothered me a bit too as the writing style and level of writing is suited to the YA set but the sexual themes were more than I’d want my 15 or 16-year-old to be reading. But this is very much my own opinion and personal to me.
I could go on about other things that were wrong with this book. For instance, how the book ends with talk about their upcoming senior year when throughout the entire book, I was thinking these kids were already seniors and guessing Samantha’s age to be about 18 from context clues (doing the math from when Samantha says they moved to NYC and how long they lived there). Or how about when their class goes on a “field trip” that spanned a weekend and the principal gave some of the kids (conveniently, Samantha and her group of friends) to stay in their own vacation houses that were owned by their families. Never in a million years would this happen at a school-sanctioned event.
I hesitated writing this review because there was so much wrong with this book. Another reviewer pointed out that a lot of the problems could have been solved if Clark has just set this in college and not high school. Still, if some of the off-the-wall, confusing elements of this book were slightly altered, it’d have great potential as a YA romance.