Author: Cate Cameron
Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing, LLC for letting me receive a digital copy of this book.
Sixteen-year-old Claudia Waring has never kissed a boy. Never been popular. Never been to a hockey game. All that’s about to change. Assigned to tutor Chris Winslow, a prank-loving, gorgeous hockey player, Claudia’s perfectly planned life immediately veers off course. And she kind of likes it. But as fun as Chris is, she knows she'll never fit in his world.
After his latest prank lands him in hot water, Chris has to get serious about school or lose hockey. Not an easy thing for someone as carefree as the defenseman. The biggest problem, though, is how much he wants to help his cute, buttoned-up tutor loosen up a little. But while confidence has never been a problem for him, around Claudia, Chris is all nerves. Why would a girl as smart as her ever fall for a jock like him?
I'm trying to think of a time I've read about a hockey player, but I think it never happened before. One or two times, tops. So it was kinda refreshing to dive into a sports I'm not really familiar with. I loved it as a kid, but it's not such a big sport here in Germany.
Anyway... Playing Defense is a really cute young adult read. Sometimes, the scenes were too long for me and I'd get bored, though. Especially that time Claudia and Karen met and decided to form a sisterhood. I didn't understand that at all and only by the end of the book, I kinda understood the advantages of it. Let me explain, the sisterhood is just something Claudia - the main character - and Karen - one of Chris' friends - come up with. They want to be awesome and the sisterhood - which is basically a clique, a club or whatever - is all about challenge yourself, stepping out of your comfort zone and such.
Now, that's the only thing I didn't like about this book, which is why I decided to mention it at first. Now I can focus on the good things about Playing Defense. The prank Chris pulled up in the beginning of the book reminded me of Simone Elkeles' books and everybody knows I LOVE her books. I was pleased some other author decided to create a character like that - a reckless one, someone who doesn't really care about anything than his friends, his favourite sports and pulling pranks. I usually would sell myself as someone who doesn't like that at all, but it just works. It worked really good for this book.
Focusing on the main part about this book - Claudia and Chris. Aren't they the cutest? Alright, so Claudia has never been kissed and when she is told to tutor Chris, of course she notices how handsome and attractive she is. But still, she feels like even if there was a chance with him, she doesn't belong with him and his group of friends. She's a nerdy kind of girl, someone who has got her whole education figured out. And Chris isn't. He knows he loves hockey and wants to keep playing, but he's also realistic and knows the chances are pretty slim to make it into NHL. The two of them are from two different worlds.
However, as Chris finds himself being interested in Claudia as more than just his tutor, Claudia agrees to let him join the sisterhood and both of their feelings shift. Everything could be daisies and other summer flowers and rainbows and whatever else there is... But there is Claudia's mother, a woman who isn't too pleased with her daughter's choice of boyfriend. And there isn't a single moment she lets Chris feel how wrong she thinks he is for her daughter.
I felt so sorry for Chris and wanted to give Claudia - or Dia as the sisterhood calls her - a wakeup call. She wasn't acting like herself, I wanted her to figure her out. I wanted her to find her own path, not the one her mother choose for her. Gosh, it was really frustrating reading about conversations with her mother and so on. And of course it took a major tragic to make her see what us readers knew all along - this isn't what is it supposed to be like, living someone else's dreams.
I feel like my review is more of a retelling of the book. I am sorry for that, but I can't really find any better words. If you like reading about boys that do sports and enjoy the young adult genre, I suggest you take a chance on Playing Defense, because it's really heartwarming. I enjoyed it.