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Playing Hurt
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Playing Hurt

4.4 31
by Holly Schindler

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Star basketball player Chelsea "Nitro" Keyes had the promise of a full ride to college—and everyone's admiration in her hometown. But everything changed senior year, when she took a horrible fall during a game. Now a metal plate holds her together and she feels like a stranger in her own family. As a graduation present, Chelsea's dad springs for a three-week


Star basketball player Chelsea "Nitro" Keyes had the promise of a full ride to college—and everyone's admiration in her hometown. But everything changed senior year, when she took a horrible fall during a game. Now a metal plate holds her together and she feels like a stranger in her own family. As a graduation present, Chelsea's dad springs for a three-week summer "boot camp" program at a northern Minnesota lake resort. There, she's immediately drawn to her trainer, Clint, a nineteen-year-old ex-hockey player who's haunted by his own traumatic past. As they grow close, Chelsea is torn between her feelings for Clint and her loyalty to her devoted boyfriend back home. Will an unexpected romance just end up causing Chelsea and Clint more pain—or finally heal their heartbreak?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"With no slick, happily-ever-after ending, this novel will capture teens with the characters' guilt, anger, and, especially, the intensity of the young people's connection." —Booklist

"Playing Hurt is a delicious, tantalizing love story that will captivate you until the final, satisfying sigh." —Kristin Walker, author of A Match Made in High School

VOYA - Courtney Huse Wika
The last thing that ex-star basketball player Chelsea Keyes has on her mind when she arrives at Camp Lake in the Woods is a summer of training. She is miserable, reliving the awful accident on the court that ended her college-ball-bound career, not to mention her relationship with her father and her standing at school. No longer Chelsea "Nitro" Keyes, pride of Fair Grove, she is bitter about her loss and the metal plate holding together her hip. Scared of reinjuring herself, she refuses to participate in even the slightest activities, thus complicating matters when her father hires a trainer for her for their summer vacation at the camp. Chelsea tries to resist Clint and his attempts to rehabilitate her, but the former sports star is drawn to the mysterious ex-hockey player. He, too, knows the agony of playing hurt and the difficulties of letting go. Playing Hurt chronicles a summer of healing for two teens who help one another work through personal tragedy. Told through alternating narratives, Schindler's novel reads like a summer afternoon. Both heartbreaking and thrilling, the emotional journey that Clint and Chelsea embark on together is more than a heady romance; the characters are realistically drawn, and the book does not shy away from the reality of the characters' experiences: anger and grief mixed with desire and yearning. The book speaks to personal struggles and triumphs and the ability of the human spirit to heal. Playing Hurt is a good read. Reviewer: Courtney Huse Wika
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—During her senior year, star basketball player Chelsea Keyes suffers a hip fracture that ends her hopes for a college athletic scholarship. Gabe, her nice-guy boyfriend, supports her through her recovery. The two plan to attend college together once the Keyes family returns from a summer vacation at a Minnesota resort. There, Chelsea's father hires an employee to be his daughter's personal trainer. Clint has his own painful history. After his girlfriend died in a car crash, he gave up on both hockey and love instead of trying to "play hurt." Chelsea and Clint spark right away. They challenge each other to various sports, push each other's buttons, and try to keep their hands off each other. After Chelsea helps Clint survive an ATV accident, they indulge in a summer fling. When the family vacation ends, they both try to return to their old lives. The closing staccato chapters play out like the final minutes of a close game as Clint dates another townie who immediately sees through his act, and Chelsea tells Gabe that she's been unfaithful. Throughout the novel, chapters alternate between Chelsea's and Clint's voices, giving it some boy appeal. Some of the passages lack refining, but the main characters' chemistry keeps the pages turning. Supporting characters, especially Chelsea's bass-playing younger brother, are all well drawn. With its rural setting and flirty competitive training scenes, this sexy summer romance will appeal to fans of Catherine Gilbert Murdock's "Dairy Queen" series (Houghton Harcourt).—Amy Pickett, Ridley High School, Folsom, PA

Product Details

North Star Editions
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
12 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

Holly Schindler (Springfield, Missouri) dove headfirst into her writing pursuits after obtaining an M.A. in English from Missouri (ma-zur-ah) State University. Her essays, poems, and short stories have appeared in such journals as The Explicator, Slipstream, and Short Story. A Blue So Dark is her first novel. Visit her online at www.HollySchindler.com.

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Playing Hurt 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A wonderful story that is astonishingly realistic; will make your heart hurt in the best way. The only thing that could make it better would be if there was a sequel.
Bridget_Jones More than 1 year ago
Wow. When I picked up this book to read, I was expecting some light, summer romance that was sweet, but cliche. What I actually got was an emotional, hot and heavy passion that was definitely NOT cliche. The book started off kinda slow, but once Chelsea and Clint actually met, I couldn't put the book down. Holly Schindler is an excellent writer and I really enjoyed how descriptive she was with the emotions of the characters. I loved the instant chemistry between them and the undeniable attraction that they both tried to push away because of their shattered pasts. What I also liked was how both of them were emotionally broken when they met, from Clint's girlfriend dying and giving up hockey to Chelsea's hip shattering and ruining her soon-to-be-successful basketball career. They were able to really understand each other and help each other face their failures. The one part I didn't really like about the book is the ending, because it just sort of ends, with no huge events or anything. But for the rest of the book, I found myself immersed in their story, yearning to find out what would happen next in the steamy romance between Clint and Chelsea.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All i can say is wow. I hope there is a sequel.soo worth it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you have had something taken away from you that was really important in your life I highly recommend this book for you. I normally don't like book that go back and forth character to character but this book was written very well and I loved it. i think it would be cool to have a sequal to find out what happens with Chelsea and Clint.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing book! MUST READ!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Da.mn, im lucky i dont have a child irl.......
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Morning baby cheeks he says laughing then kisses her
BlkosinerBookBlog More than 1 year ago
    I really enjoyed the premise of Playing Hurt and I connected well with Chelsea. The romantic tension between her and Clint but I did not appreciate the cheating. I think that Gabe got played and while it is realistic and I could see it happening, it just is hard for me to read and accept and pull for cheating. Love triangles to me are somehow different because there isn't that attachment already there and established over a long period of time, and also, the guys normally know about each other so it seems more fair.      Despite that hang up, I loved the story. It flowed well, I sympathized with Chelsea and she had some real emotional turmoil going on. I also devoured Clint's story. I think that his pain, and his past really are the depth to this story.       The romance between Clint and Chelsea could have stood on its on without the Gabe aspect, and with him being in the picture, I just wish that he would have really had a shot and that it wouldn't have been the comfortable and the adding the tension because I think that was already present.       I will say that this maybe should be considered NA because it is pretty sexual and steamy in the real sense, not letting much to the imagination.   Bottom Line: Good character development, just had issues with the cheating.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great read! Sequel Please! Need to know the rest of the their story!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LindaFictionFervor More than 1 year ago
I started reading this book on a whim, really. I was just browsing through the books in the library and thinking that I needed to read more contemporary (I’ve read too many paranormal romances and dystopians lately!) when I happened across Playing Hurt, so I just shrugged and added it to my pile. I completely underestimated how good this book would be! Chelsea’s life is incredibly tough. I mean, imagine being a prominent basketball player — one who will get tons of scholarships to colleges and will probably have a great career in basketball — and then one day, you fall and your body takes it hard. And then you can’t play basketball anymore. Add that in with the metal plate on your body, and you’ll be constantly reminded of that instant that changed your entire life. Yeah, well, could’ve would’ve should’ve. And for Clint, it’s different. Sure, he played hockey before and he quit, but it wasn’t because of a physical injury. It was because of an emotional injury: heart ripped out of your chest because someone close to you died. It’s hard recovering from things like that. And sometimes, people don’t understand why, and it’s even harder. What I loved incredibly about this book was that it was believable. Chelsea and Clint were two normal people whose lives abruptly changed by one tiny moment in their lifetimes that left them broken afterward. But after they meet, they slowly become patched up again. They learn from each other. The only thing I didn’t like about this book was on (spoiler!) how Chelsea cheated on her boyfriend. I mean, we all knew it was coming, but honestly, who expected her to just flat out have sex with someone else? It’s morally wrong. Yeah, that last word? WRONG. I’m just worried about the message that this book was sending across. It almost makes it seem like cheating is okay, which it isn’t. But other than that, Playing Hurt really was a fantastic book. Compelling. Honest. Perfect for those who need to recover from tragedies in their pasts. And, without a doubt, full of both sadness and happiness, regret and longing … I’d recommend it to any young adult (more on the older side).
WishStealer More than 1 year ago
This book was unbelievably amazing. Chelsea and Clint have an instant connection when they meet, and they gradually grow closer, but still cannot love each other because of the obstacles in the way. Chelsea's boyfriend back home, Clint's first girlfriend dead, and the metal parts in Chelsea's hip. But love points them to each other (like a compass points to the axis). At the end, Chelsea has to go home and face her boyfriend, but she and Clint promise each other to live fearlessly. They each had a major impact on each other's lives. Amazing read. Pick it up.
LisaILj More than 1 year ago
I didn't know what to expect when I first picked this book, but it's wonderful. For older YA or adults.
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brittanyyelizabethh More than 1 year ago
=This book is a very well written love story. The two main character both have tragic pasts and they both have similar lives.
Safari_Poet More than 1 year ago
Chelsea use to be the type of girl that would never let anything bring her down - very athletic and just full of life. She was the star in her family, classmates and the rest of the town's eyes. They all knew she would achieve great things in basketball. All of that's over because of an injury she'd been ignoring and a spilt cup of soda. Gabe is the sweetest guy - which is a compliment and a complaint. He's that one in a million guy that has probably wanted to meet his wife since high school and ends up being the only one of his friends that isn't married because he's just too perfect. I can imagine how imperfect Chelsea felt next to him, especially after losing the life she'd planned. Clint was also a star athlete and unlike Chelsea wasn't force to give it up, but no longer has the ambition to compete due to a traumatic event. He spends all his time working, not allowing himself to get close to anybody - existing and not really living. Then he meets Chelsea. I was a little apprehensive because of the sport aspects, but it's not what the story is about. Chelsea and Gabe are two former athletes trying to move on to a life without the sport they dominated and the promising future they could of had. It's also about different types of love - the safe and comfortable type that you can always depend on or very passionate, but possibly fleeting that you'll remember forever. I really didn't like the way Chelsea handled the situation with her boyfriend Gabe, but I got caught up in the attraction between her and Clint that I forgot about him then felt guilty when I did remember him. The relationship between Chelsea and Clint develops very fast, but again I was too caught up in the moments that I just wished it would move faster. I enjoyed the realistic characters and setting - a summer vacation on a lake in the woods. It was a engrossing story told from alternating perspectives. Each chapters is named after a suitable basketball or hockey term - something different which I always enjoy. A great summer read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lauren817 More than 1 year ago
I have been hearing fabulous things about Holly Schindler and her books for ages now, though not until I picked up Playing Hurt, her latest novel, did I realize just how fantastic both are. Playing Hurt tells the story of two teens who have faced more than their share of problems dealing with loss and love lately. For Chelsea Keyes, that means a career changing accident, one that has forever changed her outlook on life. Moreover, for Clint, that means dealing with the losing the girl he cared most about in a horrifying accident, one that has left him emotionally crippled so to say. However, everything changes when Chelsea and Clint are paired together as trainer and trainee at a lake resort. Together they begin to form a bond and begin to fill whole, though will everything work out between them? Alternatively, will they fill even more lost and confused once the summer is over? Only more pages and time will tell in this fast-paced teen romance. First, I have to say Schindler has created quite the complex and real main characters in this. Chelsea and Clint are characters whose feelings completely radiate off the page from the first page to the last. It is so easy to feel thier hurt, their confusion, and their need to be whole again. Together they form quite the memorable relationship- one that I could not help but root for even given the somewhat sketchy circumstances at times, because together they found out who they wanted to be again, creating a rock solid bond. Furthermore, I loved the plot in this. One of my main worries when I first picked this book was the fact that it had to do somewhat with sports, as truthfully sports are not my forte at all. However, as it turns out this book and its plot, were so much more than just sports. As mentioned before, there were relationships as well as twists and turns that constantly kept me guessing as the book went on. Better yet, I really liked how easily Holly switched between Clint's perspective and Chelsea's, because not only did it give the reader a honest look into both character's lives, but it caused for lots of tension as well. Lastly, I also really enjoyed the Holly's writing in this. Clipped yet emotional, it was easy to lose myself in this story as I became involved in the character's lives. More importantly, Holly gave such a realistic view into the lives of teens, and the ending was the perfect end to the puzzle. Bittersweet yet hopeful, I wanted more but felt that I was given enough so to say. Full of depth, wit, and heart, Playing Hurt has won over Holly yet another fan- one who will now be talking up her books like there is no tomorrow. Grade: A
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
missy1029 More than 1 year ago
Holy WOW! Saying that I got sucked into this book is an understatement. I read the first couple pages during the read-a-thon. It was my last book of the night and I was ridiculously exhausted so I had to put it down. Had I read just a few more pages in I never would have been able to stop. I picked it back up at work a few days later and finished it during 1 shift. I may just get in trouble for reading at work, but I COULD NOT stop! After graduating high school Chelsea's dad thinks that a family trip to a lake resort might be good for them. He signs Chelsea up for a "boot camp" hoping that she will get back to being her active self. Clint is the one who is hired on to be her trainer. While trying to maintain a "trainer" relationship with Chelsea things end up taking quite a different turn. He doesn't want to fall for her because he has had heartbreak in the past, but find himself unable to stop. Chelsea on the other hand tries fighting her feelings off because she has a boyfriend at home who is amazingly perfect and has been with her through all of the pain of being unable to play basketball. Each chapter alternated between Chelsea and Clint. I loved the fact that the story was told from both of their perspectives because it gives you a real feel for each of the characters as a whole. You never have to wonder about how Chelsea feels about Clint and vice versa because it is all laid right out for you in each of their minds. This is one of those novels that you feel like you are actually in. You feel for the characters. You root for them and want to hang out and be friends. Is it possible to fall in love with a book character?? I am sure I fell pretty hard for Clint! Overall this is an amazing novel. Going into this I had never read anything by Holly Schindler, but I will now be searching out her books. Her writing just flows beautifully and I was never bored. Not once. I read through it like a crazy person! I highly recommend this!