Play with Me by Piper Shelly
Ryan Hunter’s parties are legend. And tonight she’s going to be there.
Liza Matthews anticipates the return of her best friend and only love since kindergarten from soccer camp. But when Tony finally shows up, his mind is more focused on another girl. And worse, she’s a soccer player. Fighting for the attention Liza craves, she’s just a hairbreadth away from making a very stupid decision. But when extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, she’s prepared to play ball to get her man.
The tryouts are hell, the first match ends bloody, and the morning after the selection party she wakes up in the worst place possible—in the arms of the captain of the soccer team. The hottest guy in school. Ryan Hunter.
This was a cute, quick Young Adult romance that borrowed a few tropes I happen to enjoy a lot. Unrequited love. The invisible best friend who just wants the boys to realise she exists. The betrayal that leads to grovelling (I am possibly a mean person!) – in fact, that one happens twice.
The dialogue in Play with Me is lively, the characters fun and the outcome satisfying. Liza is clueless but not irritatingly so, and she is someone most readers will be able to relate to. There were a lot of moments that put a smile on my face.
The one thing I could have done without was – yet again – the demonising of the attractive blonde. This is a big problem in YA fiction, and something Stephenie Meyer popularised. The ‘other woman’ doesn’t always have to be evil just because she’s attractive.
The epilogue wasn’t really an epilogue, but more a long wrap-up of the happy ending. It will work for fans who can’t get enough of the relationship, but the book could have ended before it and been just as effective.
This was definitely a cute little story, featuring a heroine whose life takes a whole bunch of crazy turns in the space of a summer. Recommended for fans of high school romances.