Outfielder Tristan Murrell has a problem. As the number two slugger for the Suttonville Sentinels, his team is counting on him to make their very first run at the state championship. But he has a secret—his swing has totally deserted him. As in, he can’t hit anything. He needs to fix the issue, and fast, but how?
Ballerina Alyssa Kaplan has a problem, too. The shiny new sports complex in town has left her family’s batting cage business on the verge of going under. Nailing her audition for a prestigious dance company is everything, but there’s no way she’s letting her some shiny big-box company destroy her family’s livelihood.
Tristan needs a miracle. So does Alyssa. And maybe, just maybe, Tristan’s secret weapon might be the girl of his dreams...
Disclaimer: This book contains hot, shirtless baseball players, kisses that bring a ballerina to her knees, and a lot of baseball smack-talk.
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.55(d)|
Read an Excerpt
Swinging at Love
By Kendra C. Highley, Heather Howland
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2017 Kendra C. Highley
All rights reserved.
There's a sound that can only be made by an aluminum bat striking a baseball. Ting! Alyssa couldn't help turning her head to figure out which hitter clocked that ball, but based on the cheers of the Little League team in cages two, three, and four, it had to be one of them. Twelve-year-olds, a whole pack of them. Swing Away hadn't been this busy in weeks.
Dad came over and leaned against the chain-link fence that divided the snack bar/observation area from the cages. "Came out of nowhere. They're here for that big tournament in Dallas. Next step toward the World Series."
Alyssa nodded absently. The kid in cage two was trash-talking his buddies. At that age, the trash talk was mostly gestures and the word "dumbass" repeated over and over again. When the ball shot out of the machine — low-grade changeup — he whiffed it. His friends doubled over laughing. The kid glared at them and tried again. This time a fastball, medium speed, zoomed over the plate. Nothing but air.
"He's anticipating it too much," she murmured. "Ahead of the ball."
Dad smiled, the skin at the corners of his eyes crinkling. "I still don't understand why you gave up softball. You were the best hitter in the league. Second best pitcher, too."
Three years, and he was still a little sad about it. "I know, but I love to dance more."
"Could've done both." Dad turned to watch the kid in cage two. Another whiff. "And paid for college with a softball scholarship at a big-name school."
Maybe, but somewhere along the way, she'd lost her love of playing. She still loved the game, but the politics, the dirty play, the bruises, the long weekends traveling to tourneys ... They didn't add up. "I'll get an academic scholarship, and I don't need to go to a Division I school. Not for a business degree. I can go to community college the first few semesters."
"Well, we have a year to think about that." He winced as the kid missed another ball. "Think the machine is acting up?"
She shook her head. Two of the machines were out of order — Swing Away was slowly falling apart — but at least six of them were in good shape. "It's the kid. I'll be right back."
She let herself into the batting area, trying to ignore the bad nets, the creaky gates, and especially cage five, where the pitching machine sat broken and dormant. Those were things to worry about later. Instead, she went to cage two. "You're ahead of the ball. Slow it down a split second, and you'll have it."
The kid's chin jutted out. "I'm fine."
"Not really," she said, keeping her tone kind. "You're basically giving it a false start every time. Slow down."
"She's a girl, Scout," one of the kid's buddies said. "What would she know?"
Sighing, Alyssa picked up a bat from the collection outside the cage. "Move."
"I paid for this round!" Scout protested.
"I'll give you a full round on the house in exchange. Now, let me show you something." Muttering to herself about how grateful she was she never babysat, Alyssa rolled her shoulders and swung a few times, remembering the rhythm. Ready, she went to the plate and squared up, waiting for the clack that came before the ball was launched.
It came — fastball, medium speed. She let the bat fly, putting her weight behind it.
The ball sailed over the net into the pit in the middle, where it would be fed back to the machines. Ignoring the "whoa" and "wow" from the crowd, she eyed the pitching machine. Another clack — changeup.
The ball sailed over the pit and hit the cinderblock wall at the very back of the complex. Point made, Alyssa turned around and looked Scout straight in the eye. "Slow. Down."
"Yeah, okay!" He scrambled into the cage as she left. A minute later, his bat made contact.
"And my work here is done." She went back to the front side of the complex and stuck her head into her dad's office. "Do you need anything? I promised Lauren we could meet to work on our group project for history."
"Go on ahead." His smile was strained. "I need to do some paperwork, so I'll stay until close."
She wanted to ask how bad it was, but she couldn't bring herself to. If she didn't ask, she could keep believing everything was fine. "Okay. I'll be home in time for dinner."
He nodded absently, already staring at the pile of bills on his desk. Alyssa let herself out. It was after five, and that history project wasn't getting itself done. She needed the AP credit, and the test was in four weeks. The soft spring breeze, with a warm edge that hinted at the summer's coming heat, toyed with her hair, blowing tendrils across her face. She scraped them back impatiently, wishing — not for the last time — that her hair was both as smooth and as long as Lauren's, or even their friend Faith's. Her curls refused to stay in a ponytail, and ballerina buns were the stuff of nightmares, requiring a bottle of hair spray and a small country's worth of bobby pins.
Her well-used Honda groaned a little when she started it. "Come on, be a good car."
It rattled but drove without complaint once she got it rolling. The tires jounced across the gravel lot, past the Little League team's van, and out onto the four-lane state highway that led back into Suttonville. It wasn't a long drive, but it was farther out than the Top Sports complex three miles from the heart of town.
Alyssa drove by it on the way to Lauren's. Cars and trucks filled the lot, and when she stopped at a light, she could see dozens of people milling around the mini-golf course. Top Sports' batting cages were outside, unlike Swing Away's indoor facility, but they were well-lit and covered by an awning. Off to one side, a fully equipped driving range was full of golfers. Based on what she'd heard — because she'd never set foot inside — there was an indoor complex with basketball and racquetball courts to rent, along with a ten-lane bowling alley that boasted league action. Membership was available for the low, low price of seventy-nine bucks a month — families for $199. Based on the crowd, plenty of people were willing to pay their outrageous fee.
How can Swing Away even compete? Glaring straight ahead, Alyssa gunned the Honda as soon as the light changed. Two broken pitching machines, decrepit vending machines, torn nets, a gravel parking lot ... None of that compared to slick, shiny Top Sports.
By the time she made it to Lauren's neighborhood of two-story homes and perfect lawns, Alyssa had a knot growing to epic proportions in her stomach. How much longer would her beloved Swing Away make it? Because no matter what Dad didn't tell her, she wasn't blind. Sighing, she pulled her backpack out of the car and went to Lauren's front door. Her mother had painted it peacock blue last summer, which made total sense.
"Alyssa bear!" Mrs. Willet waved her inside. Today she was dressed in teal leggings and a yellow sweater bright enough to blind. "I have cookies!"
Alyssa's stomach growled, but she shook her head. "Thanks, but I'm good. Watching my diet, you know."
"The auditions aren't for six weeks." Mrs. Willet tsked. "You girls are plenty skinny."
"Mom." Lauren appeared at the upstairs banister. "She's fine."
Mrs. Willet shrugged. "All right, then. I'll be in the kitchen if you need me."
As soon as her back was turned, Lauren shook her head, chuckling. "She means well."
"And I'd give anything for a cookie, but the academy looks at everything and I'd rather not show off a muffin top." Alyssa climbed the stairs. "Maybe that's why I'm pissy. Living on fourteen hundred calories while dancing my butt off is making me cranky."
Lauren led her to her bedroom, wisely not saying anything. She was one of those naturally thin girls who could eat the world and still look like a sparrow in a size four. Madame Schuler at the studio called her figure the "ideal ballerina body." Alyssa could only imitate it by dieting and sucking everything in. She had an athlete's body — strong, flexible, and surefooted, but the Dallas Ballet Conservatory wanted waifish primas rather than girls who could leap higher than the rest. And D-cup breasts were definitely not on that list.
Maybe Dad was right, maybe she should've stuck with softball. At least there, two sports bras would be just fine.
Lauren flopped onto her bed, letting Alyssa have the comfy, ratty armchair in the corner. "Faith says she'll work with us at the studio Saturday. Give us tips on form."
Alyssa grinned. "You mean she's going to pry herself off Kyle long enough to teach us? Those two, I swear. They're in their own little orbit or something."
"Right? So cute, but almost disgusting. Anyway, the baseball team starts regional playoffs tomorrow, and will be practicing a lot, so she has time."
"Good enough." Alyssa dragged her binder out of her backpack. "Might as well start this."
"Bleck. Faith's so lucky. I wish we were seniors and could coast the rest of the semester, too." Lauren made a face. "I really don't want another year of high school stuff."
Alyssa wagged a pencil at her. "We can make it through five weeks."
"Then we'll dance all summer!" Lauren pumped a fist in the air. "It's going to be great."
Alyssa forced a smile. It would be great ... if she passed her audition.CHAPTER 2
Coach waved toward the batter's box. "Murrell, you're up."
Tristan stood and grabbed a bat. He started out of the dugout as Kyle Sawyer trotted down the steps, having just nailed four of seven pitches. "Show off."
Kyle laughed. "Talent."
Tristan couldn't argue with that. Kyle always played like his hair was on fire, but now that he was dating Faith, his game had improved to pro levels. The teams they were playing in the playoffs wouldn't know what hit them. Not that Tristan was any slouch. As soon as Kyle graduated, the Suttonville Sentinels would be his team.
Tristan trotted to the batter's box and swung his bat a few times, then posted up for the pitcher to throw to him. Dylan gave him a cocky grin. "Here for some punishment?"
"After what Sawyer just did to you? I'm here to clean up your mess." Tristan grinned and waggled his bat. "Bring it."
The first pitch was high and outside. "Ball!"
"Oh, come on!" Dylan glared at him and wound up again.
A nice, fat fastball hurtled toward Tristan. Yeah, this one was a grapefruit.
He swung, hard.
The ball sailed by him.
"Strike!" Dylan called, his grin returning. "Oh, I'm sorry ... Were you planning to hit that?"
Tristan stared at the catcher, trying to unstick his brain from the miss. How did he not hit that? It should've been a homer, dead-center field. Instead, he'd whiffed it like a third grader.
"Enough with the trash talk, Dennings," Coach barked from the dugout. "How about a changeup?"
Tristan tightened his grip on the bat. Everyone missed sometimes. When a three hundred batting average was considered good, one out of three wasn't bad, and Tristan had a three twenty average. He'd hit the next one, no problem.
Except ... he didn't. Out of seven pitches, he only clipped one foul. Tristan glared at his bat in betrayal. The first round of regional playoffs started tomorrow night. He couldn't go into a slump now.
"Shake it off." Kyle whacked him on the shoulder when he went back to the dugout. "Look at it this way — you got the bad ones out of the way. Now you'll be red hot."
"I guess." Tristan dropped his bat into his equipment bag.
"Hey, don't overthink it," Kyle said. "The more you stress, the worse it'll get. Let the mojo flow."
Tristan rolled his eyes. If you looked up mojo in the dictionary, you'd find Kyle's picture. Badass car, gorgeous girlfriend, money, looks ... It almost wasn't fair. Although, even Tristan had to admit Kyle had been more chill, happier the last six weeks or so since he got together with Faith. Maybe that's what Tristan needed — a girl.
He snorted. Eight months out of a two-year relationship had him rusty. The idea of trying to hook up with a girl sounded like more effort than he could spare right now.
"Dude, it's going to be fine." This from Dylan, the dream-crusher. "I'm just awesome today, is all."
"Don't be a jackass and kick him while he's stewing," Kyle said, giving them both a dose of his stern team-captain stare. "Go home, get some rest. It's going to be a long haul if we want to make it all the way to state."
Right. "Will do, boss."
Dylan followed Tristan to the locker room. "Seriously, stop pouting."
"If I hadn't known you since second grade ..." Tristan made a fist. They both knew he was bluffing. Besides, he was being a baby about it. His swing always came back. "I'll be fine. Want to grab some dinner?"
Dylan laughed. "Is your Mom cooking tonight?"
"Yeah." Tristan shuddered. "I told her I might have study group. At Snap's."
"Okay, I'll be your cover. Seriously, your mother operates on people's hearts ... You'd think she'd learn to cook."
Tristan shrugged his equipment bag onto his shoulder. "You'd think. Dad can grill things sort of okay, but it's 'casserole night,' so I'm having a burger."
"Sure. As long as you don't rag me from the mound anymore."
"Dinner's on me, then!" Dylan grinned at him. "Just kidding. I'll stop busting on you."
"Uh-huh, and the first fastball I send over the fence will end that."
"Probably." Dylan looked way too cheerful about it. "Take me to dinner, sweetheart."
"You better put out later," Tristan grumbled.
Snap's was the best sports bar and restaurant this side of Dallas ... and Tristan had his own booth.
"Back again?" His favorite server, Kathy, shook her head. She looked like somebody's frizzy-haired favorite aunt, right down to the shrewd gaze and mischievous smile. Like she'd sneak you into an R-rated movie and not tell your parents. "Seriously, take a load off your folks and learn to cook. Maybe you'll be good at it."
"Then I wouldn't see you three times a week." Tristan flashed her a smile.
She rolled her eyes. "Aren't you sweet."
After she took their order and left, Dylan put both hands flat on the table and announced, "So, there's this girl."
Tristan leaned back in his seat. "Seriously? After last year, I thought Dylan 'Ice Man' Dennings said girls were off the table until he made the minors. This must be some girl. Who is she?"
"Girl in my AP history class. Not super tall, but not short either. Fills out a T-shirt, if you know what I'm saying."
"No, Dylan, I have no idea." Tristan kicked him under the table. "Continue, Captain Obvious."
"Ow, Jesus. Anyhow, she has curly-ish hair and these big green eyes. Never seen anything like them. I dropped a pile of homework, and she helped me pick it up. Those eyes nearly knocked me over."
If it wasn't a girl's eyes, it was her hair, or her legs, or her smile. Or her ass. Dylan had a deep admiration for the female form. Then again, what seventeen-year-old guy didn't? Tristan grunted. Still, Dylan didn't usually do more than notice and move on. "Okay, Romeo, why don't you ask her out?"
"I need to keep my focus. Maybe once we win state." Dylan puffed his chest out. "That should make her give me a look, don't you think?"
Tristan gave him an amused smile. He really has no clue. None of the girls he'd been friends with or gone out with had given a crap about baseball. But Tristan wouldn't burst his friend's bubble. "It might."
While Dylan alternated between attacking his burger like his life depended on it and giving an enthusiastic play-by-play about how he would eventually ask History Girl out, Tristan picked at his dinner. The fries were perfect — thick cut, just the right amount of crispiness — but he couldn't shovel them down like Dylan. The tourney started tomorrow. Tomorrow. No matter what kind of brave face he put on, Tristan had a growing sense of alarm, and it was messing with his appetite. No surprise there. Because he was hiding something from the team: today wasn't the first time his swing had deserted him. No, it had been slowly slipping for the last two weeks.
He had to figure out a way to shake off his slump before he ruined the playoffs. Otherwise, his future as team captain would pass him by ... and end up going to his best friend.
Excerpted from Swinging at Love by Kendra C. Highley, Heather Howland. Copyright © 2017 Kendra C. Highley. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Swinging At Love is a sweet love story. The story was unique & entertaining. I didn't realize this was a YA novel when I started reading it but I enjoyed it. Perfect heat level for a YA audience. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
I absolutely ADORED this book! It was perfect YA romance- the characters were so likable and the romance so sweet. Baseball was my favorite sport in high school (I kept stats for the team!) and there's a special place in my heart for hot baseball players! I so hope that Kindra Highley has another book planned for this series because I loved books 1 and 2!
Alyssa and Tristan have something in common: a love for baseball. They just don’t know it yet. So when Tristan shows up at the batting cage business Alyssa’s family owns, they hit it off pretty quickly. But what happens when two jealous BFF’s get involved, the family business starts going down, and the important baseball player loses his swing—all at once? Swinging at Love was a cute sports romance set in high school. The entire book revolved around baseball (and the romance), since the characters met through baseball, one of them was on the high school baseball team, and the other’s family owns a baseball-centered business. I am not a person who is particularly interested in baseball, but getting dosed in the sport in Swinging at Love was still enjoyable. The part of the book that actually centered on the sport was explained simply enough that even someone with as little knowledge about the subject as I have could understand it and not be lost in the jargon. I loved the romance. The two of them getting together wasn’t dragged out the entire book, or even half of it, really. Alyssa and Tristan admitted their attraction for each other early on and spent the rest of the novel working out all the problems that appear, for instance, two jealous best friends. Their relationship happened quickly, certainly, but that is how attraction is. They don’t make the mistake of saying their attraction is love, but love definitely developed by the end of the story. I will mention, though, that I did not appreciate the lies they told to their friends about their relationship. I really liked this book. I would give it a higher rating, but I needs more depth for me to do so. It is a cute chick flick, but it was too straightforward and simple to be considered great literature. It is instead a fun, fast read intended for teen girls looking for entertainment, and it achieves its purpose. Content warnings: sexual innuendos and some swearing. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Chapter by Chapter and NetGalley. All opinions are expressly my own.
Thank you so much to Entangled Publishing for providing me an e-ARC of this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review! Summary: Alyssa and her family are facing a potential shutdown of their batting cage while Tristan has completely lost his swing for the game. A lot of things are on the line for him: being the potential captain of his team next year and that his entire team is counting on him to help them win the upcoming championship. When things seem to worsen, he decides to step away from his teammates for awhile and practice in a small center, known as Swing Away and this is where he meets Alyssa. Impressed at her technical expertise at the game and her softball skills, the two of them manage to grow close right away. What seems to be a very simple relationship grows to become even more complicated as time progresses. Characters: Alyssa – Responsible, Independent, Bold; I was impressed with Alyssa’s character from the first chapter. She is so knowledgeable yet she never gets too arrogant about her skills and her sense of responsibility towards her familial issues was something to applaud at her age. Tristan – Charming, Passionate for Baseball, Swoon-worthy; Tristan was definitely a sweet character who had me squealing at some scenes He does have his issues which he needs to solve but I did wish there was more depth to his character – a little more depth and development and I would have loved him even more Dylan – Hilarious; Dylan was the comic relief in this book for sure, there were scenes where he had me giggling at his ridiculous dialogue. Lauren – A bit spoiled but a good friend to Alyssa. She does have her flaws which she manages to realize at the end and eventually grows from it. My Thoughts: If you are looking for a cute contemporary read, then this will be perfect for you. Although this is the second book of the series, you do not have to read the first one in order to read this book since they are more of companion novels than actual sequels. Some of the previous characters include Faith, the dancer, and Kyle, the Senior Captain of the Baseball team, do play a part in this novel and we see how their relationship progresses after the first book. To be honest, after reading a few of Kyle’s scenes in this book, I actually want to read the first novel just to see more of his laid back and sometimes cocky personality. The only few issues/critiques I had with this novel is that I wished the writing could have been a bit more intricate and in terms of plot, I felt that a few of the issues were resolved too quickly and almost easily. It could be because this was a very short novel but if the trials and character complications were given more depth, I feel that it would added more heart and emotion into the story. Overall, this book was a cute and romantic contemporary read and I would recommend it if you are looking for an easy read to get out of a reading slump since I pretty much raced through this book in a few hours. I think I might even pick up the first book of the series!
I had read the first book in this series and was excited to get the invite to read this one. And it was exactly what I wanted to read. I loved Alyssa and Tristan. She's smart and stands up for herself and it was so much fun watching her put baseball boys in their place. I loved that some of them took her for a stupid girl and she showed them up at baseball. Tristan is sweet and loyal and knows when to back off and not always save the day. The two of them were absolutely delightful. Yes, there were some miscommunications that drove me mad, but again, I was so wrapped up in what was happening, it was easy to overlook. I loved the ending and the epilogue and of course the fact that Faith and Kyle were in the story. I can't wait to see who is next. **Huge thanks to Entangled Teen and NetGalley for providing the arc free of charge**
Tristan is one of his school's best baseball batsmen but he's having a slump. For some reason he has lost his mojo and nothing he can do makes it better. His best friend Dylan is the pitcher and keeps giving him pep talks but nothing seems to help. Alyssa's family owns and runs Swing Away, a small local business with eight run down batting cages, which is being squeezed out by a new multi-sport arena called Top Sports which has batting cages, a bar, bowling lanes etc. She and her best friend Lauren are trying out Dallas Ballet Conservatory and practicing every moment they get at Madame Schuler's with their other friend Faith (the lead in The Bad Boy Bargain). Tristan decides to work on his swing in peace and chooses to avoid Top Sports where the rest of the team hang out, instead going to Swing Away where he meets Alyssa who gives him some pointers about his game. Alyssa and Tristan are instantly attracted to each other but unbeknownst to them Dylan is also attracted to Alyssa and Lauren is attracted to Tristan - cue a quartet of confusion! This was a really cute, fun romance featuring baseball. I know nothing about baseball, so lots of it went over my head, but it seemed quite detailed. Tristan and Alyssa are all round great characters, hard working, respectful, loyal and family-orientated. I also thought the love quadrangle was well-handled and had a slight twist. Thoroughly recommended, be aware this is a teen imprint so Alyssa and Tristan are 17-ish, the romance is PG but very sweet and you don't need to know much about baseball to enjoy. I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Tristan is a baseball player. He's a slugger for the Suttonville Sentinels and there's a big chance he'll be team captain after the summer. Tristan has a problem though, he's lost his swing and needs to find a way out of his slump before he ruins his team's chances to win the state championship. He decides to do some training on his own and ends up at Swing Away, an old fashioned batting cage business. There he meets the girl of his dreams, will she be able to help him get his swing back? Alyssa likes working at her father's batting cages very much. She has two loves, baseball and dancing. She wants to be a professional ballet dancer and is working hard for an important audition that will, if she succeeds, give her the chance to dance all summer. She's been saving for it for a long time, but her father's business is in trouble and Alyssa wants to help him. She can't stand the idea of working for a shiny over the top sports complex that's putting small individual businesses at risk. What can she do to save her family's livelihood? And does falling in love fit into her busy schedule, is there room for a gorgeous baseball player, someone who makes her heart beat faster every time she sees him? Swinging at Love is an incredibly sweet story. I immediately liked Alyssa. She's mature for her age, she works hard, she never gives up and she's smart. I loved how talented she is. Tristan is a good guy, he's a gentle kindhearted person with many insecurities because he wants to do well and make his family proud. He's a great listener and he knows what he wants. Alyssa helps him to get over his slump and they fall in love. There are a lot of things working against them though and I couldn't wait to find out if they'd have a chance together. Kendra C. Highly writes about sports in an energetic and lively way. I loved her passion for baseball and liked reading about Tristan's games and Alyssa's excellent advice. Swinging at Love is romantic and cute. Alyssa and Tristan are wonderful together and their love story is endearing. Kendra C. Highly's writing has a nice, easy flow and her books are both fun and charming. I really enjoyed reading this lovely, well written, lighthearted story.
4 stars -- I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion. OK, this was a solid next book in the series that I didn't know was going to be a series!! And while I'm a little disappointed Faith and Kyle's BFFs weren't the focus of this story, Tristan and Alyssa were a pretty freaking spectacular consolation prize. ;) And no, you don't have to read book 1, but honestly, why wouldn't you? Shoot, I'm not even a baseball fan, or really a big muscular arms on a guy girl, but DAMN. Ms. Highley knows how to make me swoon. This is exactly what I love from a young adult romance...a fun quick read, lots of lightness and sweetness and swooning, but with just enough depth to give me more. I think the thing I love most about both this book and the previous one is the sweetness of the heroes. Tristan was just adorable! He didn't have the same background that Kyle did, but he was just really down to earth, and he knew what attracted him. He had his own struggles coming from a family with completely different interests to him, and I could really appreciate that aspect to his story. I liked that while he did feel like the odd man out in his family, his family was still good peeps...just lost in the world of baseball. It's an interesting facet that I don't necessarily read a lot, where you have that dichotomy, but still have the love you know? Not that that makes it any easier. It was nice that he had Keller too. And Alyssa was just awesomesauce. I loved her sass, her insecurities, her straight talking, her confidence in certain things. If I swung that way, I would totally be intrigued by her. And I loved her own family dynamic. I loved how close she was, how much her family influenced her, and it was nice to see a story where it wasn't rich guy with poor girl (or vice versa), but there was a money/lifestyle disparity. But it wasn't really the focus. It was about how her family was struggling with their local business in an economy that's hurting everyone. I loved how important Swing Away was to her, and what she was willing to sacrifice for it. And oh wow, Tristan and Alyssa's chemistry was fantastic. Right from their first interaction, you could just feel it. I enjoyed that. I was SERIOUSLY concerned with the way things would play out with Dylan and Lauren, and I was kind of disappointed in how it went initially, but it didn't drag on like I thought it would, and it resolved better than I expected. So phew. And now, this girl who has no interest in baseball whatsoever, is seriously hoping for more from this series. I love book baseball. It's way more exciting. And I want more swoony guys from Ms. Highley, she seriously excels.
Swinging At Love is such a cute and sweet read. Alyssa is not your typical teen girl and I loved that about her! She's a former softball player turned ballerina who works at her parents' failing sports facility. Determined to keep the business up and running, she does all she can to help- something not every teenage girl would do, and I found that to be so admirable! I loved the relationship she had with her parents. Tristan is one of the stars of their high school baseball team and he's going through a slump. With parents that don't really take an interest in his sports career and his brother away at college he doesn't really have anyone to talk about what he's going through. Not wanting anyone, especially his teammates, to get wind of his troubles he ends up at Swing Away, where he runs into Alyssa. Not one to shy away from offering up advice, welcome or not, Alyssa gives Tristan a few pointers after seeing him swing and miss more often than he was connecting. Even as he shrugs off her advice, in typical boy fashion might I add, there's a little spark of attraction between them that's further fueled the more time they spend together. It wasn't every day that a hot guy stared at her like he'd just come in from the desert and she was an oasis. Alyssa and Tristan are such darling characters. I loved that they weren't afraid to share their feelings with each other, even with, maybe especially because of, how quickly things happened between them. They both come from such solid foundations, even if their upbringings were quite different. Alyssa is a calming and centering influence on Tristan and he was everything she didn't know she needed. You'll find some of the usual high school drama infiltrating the pages of Swinging At Love. Even the best of friends don't always get along, and at one point or another someone's feelings are going to get hurt, albiet unintentionally. Alyssa and her best friend, and Tristan and his best friend, find themselves in a bit of a love quadrangle, which leads to a bit of a conundrum between friends. But it's high school and these things tend to work themselves out in time. I liked how things weren't glossed over and everyone was able to have their say, especially Alyssa- I wanted to stand up and cheer for her! The ending to this book was particular sweet and had me swooning hard for Tristan. He's everything you'd want if you were a 17 year old girl! Here's hoping we'll be seeing books for the best friends in the near future!
Fabulous YA read! I really loved this second book in the Suttonville Sentinels series but is completely stand alone. We do get to see how Kyle and Faith from book 1 are doing. There is lots of baseball stuff in this book but you don't really have to know or even like baseball to appreciate this story. Tristan and Alyssa are a great couple and really bring out the best in each other. I really enjoy the writing style of Ms Highley and how well she develops her characters. I really felt like I knew these two. The story has a nice quick pace to it and is a very easy read. I would definitely recommend this one.