Author: Kendra C. Highley
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: October 1, 2013
After being pushed to excel her entire life, high school basketball star Genna Pierce is finally where she wants to be. University scouts are taking notice, her team is on its way to the state tourney, and Jake Butler, the hot boy she'd daydreamed about since ninth grade, is showing some definite interest. When he asks her out and their relationship takes off, Genna believe things can't get better.Then, it's over.A freak accident ends her career before it's even begun. Her parents are fighting more than ever, her friends don't understand what she's going through, and she's not sure who she is without basketball. And while he tries to be there for her, Genna doesn't understand how Jake could ever want the broken version of the girl he fell for.Here life is a tailspin, Genna turns to the only solace that eases her pain: Vicodin.
So here's the thing about Kendra C. Highley's Sidelined, I knew next to nothing about the book when I first started reading it. To be honest, all I really knew was that it was a contemporary story, the main character played basketball and I had guessed from the title that something happens to her and she can no longer play. I was going in blind. But I'm glad I did because it meant I was able to enjoy the story in a way I don't think I would have otherwise.
Genna always knew what her future would hold: she would graduate high school with an athletic scholarship to play basketball in college. And that reality was with her reach. Until one fateful moment on the court changed her life completely. A double leg fracture puts an end to her basketball career and now Genna has to rebuild her life from scratch. But it's not just her basketball career that falls apart, it's Genna's whole life. And before long, Genna is spiralling downs dark whole where the only thing capable of easing her pain is the one thing that is bringing her down.
I went in completely blind with Sidelined. I had briefly read over the summary and that had apparently been enough to convince me I wanted to read this book. And as much as I am sometimes weary of reading books when I know nothing about them going in blind can have some distinct advantages. I didn't have any preconceived ideas about the book. Sure after a couple chapters I had a vague idea of where the story might be going, but even then, Sidelined didn't end up going quite where I thought it would. I didn't really think it would go beyond exploring how Genna dealt with giving up basketball. And in a way, the story definitely did this but it also went deeper. All of a sudden I was reading a story about addiction and there wasn't much sugarcoating. I could see how much Genna struggled with being addicted to her pain meds. I could see how it was affecting not just her, but the people around her. And I appreciated the fact that I saw that inner struggle in Genna. It meant that I was able to see the progression, see her downward spiral to addiction and then her fight to get better. In a way, it made Genna feel a lot more real.
So that brings me to Genna. I wouldn't be honest if I didn't say that I didn't really think much of her when I first started reading the story. Even once she got injured and had to deal with the implications of that injury, I still just saw her as someone telling a story. But once she started getting addicted to her pain meds, I started finding her a lot more interesting as a character. Having the story told from Genna's perspective definitely helped with that. With the story told this way, I could see her inner turmoil, how the drug was starting to control her. And the I saw her inner fight against it. It all made her more interesting. And as much se there were other characters in the story that were both supporting her and were there for conflict purposes, the story was very much about Genna and her conflict with herself. And for me, that made for a really interesting and engaging story.
Kendra C. Highley's Sidelined wasn't what I thought it would be. Not knowing what to expect made for a more interesting reading experience. If you're looking for a story that's deeper an deals with a harder subject matter than I would definitely recommend Sidelined.