Title: Play On
Author: Michelle Smith
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Release Date: April 21, 2015
Source: ARC from Publisher
In the small town of Lewis Creek, baseball is everything. Especially of 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 out 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 am a complete and total sucker for any book that involves sports. I will read pretty much any and all books that someone recommends if they feature sports in some way. I wish that were an overstatement, but it really isn’t. So Michelle Smith’s Play On? Totally up my alley.
Baseball has always been a part of Austin’s life and he knows it’s the only way he’s ever going to get out of Lewis Creek. He has it all planned out, so long as he gets through this final season, his scholarship is guaranteed. But with his chemistry grade dropping, Austin’s baseball future might not be as sure a thing as he thought. Falling chemistry would mean spending the baseball on the bench. And just when Austin is starting to get desperate, he meets Marisa, the new employee at his mom’s flower shop and chemistry genius. What starts out as simple tutoring, quickly becomes more as Marisa and Austin spend more time together. And much to his surprise, Austin quickly realizes he might want more than to just leave Lewis Creek and play baseball. With Marisa, he can see a future he never considered before. And that future is the one he wants.
I thought I knew what I was going to get when I first started reading Play On. I was totally expecting a cute romance story with baseball. And I was all over that. Because, hello, romance AND sports? This book had my name written all over it. So I started reading and I was getting all the adorableness I had come to expect from the description. And then I got to finding out about Marisa’s past as hinted at in the synopsis. And that’s when I went from liking Play On to full on loving it. What you will not guess from reading the synopsis is that Play On deals with mental health in a way that felt completely realistic and organic. As a reader, I wasn’t hit over the head with the mental health aspect of the story. Instead, it was woven in throughout the story. As hard to read as some parts were, it just felt natural in the greater context of the story. Yes, there were some serious subject matters being dealt with, but never idd it make the story feel heavy. And that’s why I loved this story so much. Not only was the romance and adorableness completely on point, it dealt with mental illness in a completely realistic way.
How do I even begin to explain how much I loved Austin. I mean, he’s a baseball-playing, Southern momma’s boy. What was there not to like? It took absolutely no time at all for me to fall for his charm. He was basically the embodiment of all my weaknesses when it comes to book boyfriends (and real boys, if I’m being completely honest). So basically I loved Austin and I loved his voice. Reading his story, he just felt so completely genuine. And sweet. And goofy. And adorable. And kind. And considerate. And supportive. Austin was basically all I wan in a book boyfriend. Which I’ve said already, but that’s the point. Austin was great. And that was especially true when I saw him interacting with Marisa. These two were just so completely adorable together. Reading about them, I just had this big goofy smile on my face, I just couldn’t help it. Even in the more serious moments, I loved the way Austin and Marisa were together. They did their best and were there for each other as best as they could. Basically, they are one of my new favourite couples. I should also mentioned that I loved so many of the secondary characters. Even if they weren’t as big a part of the story, they all felt fully fleshed out. Would it be getting my hopes up to ask for a story about Jay and Brett? Because I would so totally read that. Or one about Eric.
In case you couldn’t tell, I totally LOVED Michelle Smith’s Play On. This story was absolutely perfect. It was a mix of adorable, heart-warming romance and just the right amount of serious. I really couldn’t have asked for a better story. And I want more, plain and simple.
About the author:
Michelle Smith was born and raised in North Caroline, where she developed a healthy appreciation for college football, sweet tea, front porches, and a well-placed “y’all.” She’s a lover of all things happy, laughs way too much, and fully believes that a little bit of kindness goes a long way.Michelle lives near the Carolina coast with her family
Do you want to read Michelle Smith's Play On? Then enter the giveaway for your chance to win a paperback copy using the Rafflecopter form below. US only.