Genre: YA Contemporary
Received: At BEA
Published: April 21st, 2015 by Spencer Hill Press
In the small town of Lewis Creek, baseball is everything. Especially for all-star pitcher Austin Braxton, who has a one-way ticket out of town with his scholarship to a top university. All that stands between him and a new start is one final season. But when Austin starts flunking Chemistry, his picture-perfect future is in jeopardy. A failing grade means zero playing time, and zero playing time means no scholarship. Enter Marisa Marlowe, the new girl in town who gets a job at his momma’s flower shop. Not only is Marisa some home-schooled super-genius, she’s also a baseball fanatic and more than willing to help Austin study. As the two grow closer, there’s something about Marisa that makes Austin want more than just baseball and out of Lewis Creek—he wants a future with her. But Marisa has a past that still haunts her, one that she ran all the way to South Carolina to escape. As Austin starts to peel back the layers of Marisa’s pain, it forces him to look beyond the facade of himself and everyone he thought he knew in his town. What he sees instead is that in a small town like Lewis Creek, maybe baseball isn’t everything—maybe it is just the thing that ties them all together.
Play On by Michelle Smith is a baseball romance set in the south that has a heck of a lot more depth than I was ever expecting. I hadn't heard of this book until BEA when Danielle from Love at First Page was raving about it.
I loved how real Play On was. The depiction of High School and sports definitely reminded me football at my school. I love that this was set in the south and had the focus on baseball. There are way too many football oriented books, am I right? There is rarely a male narrator in YA, especially in YA romance. I really enjoyed Austin and seeing this story through his perspective.
I haven't seen many YA novels deal with depression especially severe depression. I think depression is something that everyone deals with either in that they have experienced it or they know someone who has. I liked that this was also not a book that I would put in the category of being a book strictly about mental illness. While it is great that there are a lot of books being released that tackle tough issues that are relatable, I think there needs to be more books that have mental illness as a part of the character rather than a part of the plot. Play On deals with Marissa's depression as well as Austin's father's depression but at its core this is a love story.
This was a super fast read and pulled me in right away. I started reading it on a line at BEA. It is pretty short and a standalone, which is usually not what I prefer, but I am really content with the way it ended.
I connected with this story right away.
Play On is definitely a book that needs more attention. I am really interested in reading more books by Michelle Smith. I really loved this book and hope that more people fall in love with this story the way I did.
Have you heard of Play On? Read it yet?