Play On by Michelle Smith
Release Date: April 21st 2015 by Spencer Hill Contemporary
Genres: Young, Adult Contemporary, Romance
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 façade 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.
I don’t read that many sports-related novels – mainly because I fear I won’t understand the technicalities or feel the rush of the game – but let me tell you: this book is an exception. I was blown away; it exceeded my expectations, like off-the-charts exceeded. And you know what’s even awesome? It made me love baseball. And I don’t even know how to play it!
Right now, I’m going to say that this is one of the best books of 2015, and Austin Braxton is the reason why. Never have I encountered a male voice in YA that is Austin Braxton. He was such a refreshing and realistic character. His inner dialogue is what made me enjoy the read even more! He’s full of charisma, wit, and spunk – all in all, the formula for my favourite kind of characters. But what makes me him so realistic is his flaw – his pride. I love how Michelle portrayed it throughout the story and how it helped his character development.
But Austin isn’t the only star in this novel, in fact, there’s also an excellent cast of minor characters here. The ones that stood out for me the most were Jay (Austin’s best friend) and Brett. They both deserve their own story (I hope you’re getting the hint Michelle aha.) Also, I would’ve loved to read more about Marisa’s past.
Lastly, mad props to Michelle Smith. Thank you for writing this amazing novel, which by the way, convinced the heck out of me to love baseball. I tell you, when you read this you can’t help but fall for it too.
P.S. I LOVED THE LAST LINE.
An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review. This has not affected my overall thoughts.