Friday, May 11, 2018

ARC Review: The Game Can't Love You Back by Karole Cozzo

The Game Can't Love You Back
Author: Karole Cozzo
Publication: Swoon Reads (May 15, 2018)

Description: Bitter sports rivalries and swoon-worthy romance intertwine, in Karole Cozzo’s classic enemies to lovers story where two former nemeses blur the lines between love and hate. 

Eve is used to being the odd woman out. As the only girl on her school's baseball team, she knows exactly how to put sweaty, macho baseball players in their place, and she's learned to focus on one thing and one thing only―being the best pitcher she can be.

But when a freak accident forces her school to be absorbed by the neighboring town, Eve has to contend with a new group of guys who aren't used to having a woman on their team. And the new team's star pitcher, Jamie, has no interest in being ousted from his throne. He can't afford to give up his starting slot to a new pitcher―especially to a girl.

As the competition between Jamie and Eve starts to heat up, so does their attraction to each other. Can they keep their heads in the game, or will they end up getting played?

Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, The Game Can’t Love You Back follows Eve as she is forced to join a new baseball team and contend with the insufferable (and cute) rival pitcher.

My Thoughts: THE GAME CAN'T LOVE YOU BACK was a great sports romance. It is told in two viewpoints. Eve is an athlete and, whatever she plays, she wins. She has awards for soccer, basketball ... and baseball. Yup, she's been playing with the boys since she and her older brothers were all in Little League.

When her high school catches on fire, ruining the gym and some other areas, the school district decides that all the students will join their classmates at the other high school in the district. Now, the Bulldogs all have to become Pirates and fit into a new school.

The school merger might be the ruin of Eve's quest for the school's Cy Young trophy because the Pirates already have a star pitcher. Jamie Abrams needs the recognition of being an award winner. He is a talented baseball player but not a very good student. He is a popular guy with more than his fair share of girlfriends and hook-ups. His home life is also messed up. His mom has finally kicked out the latest bad boyfriend but it is hard to pay the bills on a job at Target. Jamie has also been working all he can at a burger place to help with the family's finances. A baseball scholarship is his best chance at college and a possible pro career.

Eve and Jamie are immediately rivals. Both are very competitive people. Also, being the only girl on the team adds additional pressure to Eve who has to gain the respect of a whole new bunch of teammates. But the attraction between them is growing. They recognize and like each other's strengths. The only problem for Eve is that things are already changing so much in her life as she physically matures and sees the end of her baseball life coming. She is starting to feel that she doesn't know herself.

The story was well-written. The sports scenes were realistic as were the emotions of devoted athletes. I really enjoyed this book and its memorable characters.

Favorite Quote:
"Why are you doing this to me?" I mutter under my breath, kicking at his desk leg as he makes the call.

Pushing the receiver away from his mouth, he tells me, "Because sometimes you have one hell of a time getting out of your own way."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Macmillan. You can buy your copy here.

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