Thursday, July 18, 2013

Review: Game. Set. Match by Jennifer Iacopelli

Hi all!

Some good sports YA for all!




Title: Game. Set. Match
Series: Outer Banks Tennis Academy  #1
Release date: 1st of May 2013
Published by: Coliloquy, LLC
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Contemporary, Romance, Sports
Pages: 242 in Kindle e-book format
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle

Summary:

Nestled along the North Carolina coast, the Outer Banks Tennis Academy is the world's most elite training facility. In this pressure-cooker environment, futures are forged in blood and sweat, and dreams are shattered in an instant.

Penny Harrison, a rising female star, is determined to win the French Open and beat her archrival, Zina Lutrova. But when her coach imports British bad boy Alex Russell as her new training partner, will Penny be able to keep her laser-like focus?

Tennis is all Jasmine Randazzo has ever known. The daughter of two Grand Slam champions, she's hell-bent on extending her family’s legacy and writing her own happily-ever-after...until her chosen Prince Charming gives her the just-friends speech right before the biggest junior tournament of the year, the Outer Banks Classic.

With a powerful serve and killer forehand, newcomer Indiana Gaffney is turning heads. She’s thrilled by all of the attention, especially from Jack Harrison, Penny’s agent and hot older brother, except he keeps backing off every time things start heating up.

With so much at stake, dreams—and hearts—are bound to break. Welcome to OBX: Where LOVE is a four-letter word, on and off the court
.

Review:

I don’t read many sports related books because I’m quite incompetent in anything sports wise so reading about it makes me aware of what I completely lack. But I was pleasantly surprised with this book, mostly because I wasn’t overwhelmed by sports vocabulary or constant sports activity descriptions (ok, there were several match depictions, but they weren’t overwhelming and didn’t make me feel like a fish out of water). Despite the main theme of tennis, this was pretty much a character centered story with relationships between everyone being the main focus.

I’m not a fan of multiple main characters because I tend to want to root for just one and if there are several then they all usually don’t receive as much development. This story, however, managed to divided time between and enable center stage to all three girls so that I had an understanding of what each of them were about. They also had their love life and budding relationships with their crushes explored, one more than others, but still, there was a decent amount of romance from all three fronts. Moreover, if you don’t like one main character then you have two others to pick from, so there is definitely someone to everyone’s liking. But, ultimately, it was about what they will and could accomplish in the world of tennis.

The story moves quickly and doesn’t enable you to get bored with the daily lives of these elite boarding school trainees, there is enough drama to go around and keep the characters and the reader occupied. I also liked that the book follows the journey of not only the girls, but other characters as well; there is development, conflict and solutions abound.

My main con was that while tennis was a crucial and huge part of the girls’ lives, I felt they were too much about tennis only. They ate and breathed tennis and for someone not really passionate to that unimaginable degree about any hobby I felt they slightly lacked something that would make me relate to them on a more personal level. A quirk, a distinct habit, a different view on life, an additional embarrassing hobby, a weird best friend, a weakness for fluffy dresses – something/anything girly or more normal human-like (other than parent and boyfriend issues – that’s boring). Also, it ended slightly abruptly, at one point it was over and I was confused, an epilogue or something would have been nice.

Characters:

Penny: Was the talented new sweetheart of the tennis world. She was a nice, determined and hardworking girl with a supportive family (mainly two hot brothers) and at first glance a dysfunctional like/don’t like relationship with the British tennis hottie Alex. She was, however, also the one that felt the most less “normal” and thus, even though, she was immensely likable she remained distant to me.

Indy: She was the newcomer and underdog and, naturally, I always relate to and root for such a character, because who doesn’t love to see someone at the bottom come out on top. She was also a very likable girl so I guess Indy was my favorite from the bunch. Her crush on Jack was cute.

Jasmine: The initial mean-girl type character, who came across as a spoiled princess, needing to work out several issues. Also, she was the character mostly likely to be disliked, but, despite this, I found her strangely sympathetic and vulnerable. She was someone on top who had her position threatened and then trying to deal.

Overall:

A great introduction to sports YA. I never thought I’d enjoy tennis, but enjoy it I did. I recommend!



4 stars!

LIIS



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