Review: Play On
Play On by Michelle Smith
Publication Date: April 21st, 2015
Format/Source: Paperback, purchased
Rating: 5/5 stars
Part of a series? Yes! It is the first in the Lewis Creek series.
Also Published On: Lit Up Review
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 facade 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 total sucker for sports romances. They're my very favorite, but they're aren't too many in YA that have really grabbed my attention. But people were raving endlessly about Play On when it came out last year, so I obviously decided that I needed it. It took me this long to read it, but oh, boy, am I glad I finally did because those people were so right to rave about this novel.
First we need to talk about the fact that Play On is written entirely from the point of view of a male narrator. Austin is a relatable narrator with a very authentic voice. I loved being inside his head. I loved his passion about baseball and his mom and his friends and most definitely about Marisa. He truly loves and is there for the important people in his life, and it's admirable.
The novel also did a wonderful job of portraying depression accurately, especially from the point of view of someone on the outside. It can be really difficult to see loved ones dealing with depression and not know what to do or how you can help, and Austin really got that. Mental illness is a tough subject to touch on, but it's so important, and Smith handled it so well.
On top of all that heaviness, there is the most deliciously sweet Southern romance ever. I adored the way Marisa and Austin took care of each other but never tried to force the other into doing anything. They're really partners in every sense of the word, and they are the cutest things.
If you like baseball and swoony Southern boys, Play On is the book for you. If you don't like baseball, well, give it a try anyway, and you might find yourself loving it like I did. Its depiction of mental illness is spot-on, and the romance is adorable. I can't wait for the next book in this series!
Have you read Play On? What did you think? Let me know! And don't forget to check out my interview with Michelle from last year while you're here. :)