Author: Michelle Smith
Publisher: Bloomsbury Spark
Release Date: August 16th, 2016!
*eARC kindly provided Bloomsbury USA Children's Books via NetGalley*
As king of baseball in the small town of Lewis Creek, Eric Perry can have any girl he wants and win every game he plays. But when a fight lands him in jail, he’s only got one more strike before his baseball career is over for good. His only chance for redemption? The girl next door, Bri Johnson.
Bri hasn’t talked to Eric in months—for starters, she’s been too busy dealing with her jerk of an ex-boyfriend, not to mention the fact that Eric’s been preoccupied trying to drink every keg in the country dry. But when he needs a way to stay on the team, she proposes a plan: if he helps her out with community service, he can stay on the team. At first it’s a nightmare—Eric and Bri stopped being friends years ago, surely that was for a good reason, right? But as volunteering turns to bonding over old memories of first kisses under the stars, they start to have trouble remembering what pushed them apart.
In a town as small as Lewis Creek, nothing stays secret for long and their friendship and romance might mean bad news. But in this final, tumultuous spring before graduation, Eric and Bri are about to realize that nobody’s perfect alone, but they might just be perfect together.
I’d been waiting for this book ever since I finished Play On, and I’d learned there was another novel in this series. PO is one of my all-time favorite books. It’s one of the books I’ve pushed A LOT over the last year, and it’s a book of my heart. So I was understandably nervous going into Game On, because I had super high expectations for it. And I adore Michelle and didn’t want to end up disliking it, you know? But I’m so glad to say that I LOVED this. Not as much as Play On, but not surprising given how special PO is to me. ;) But it was still such a good story, and I will read anything Michelle writes in the future.
I wasn’t too sure about Eric at first. He’s kind of like this stereotypical jock who is first shown at a party where he’s drunk and has been hooking up with a girl. But he quickly tells y’all that he is more than that, though it’s hard for him to believe that he’s deserving of anything. He’s a good guy, but he doesn’t really know who he is, and it’s easier for him to act how everyone expects him to. But throughout the book, Eric is starting to learn and see that he can do so much more in life than what he thinks. And that he is deserving of a girl who sees him and knows him better than he knows himself.
I’m so happy that this was dual POV because I ADORED Bri and would have missed her spunk and genuineness. She’s a compassionate and kind person who volunteers when she can and who just wants to help people. But she’s going through something that she doesn't let people see; she’s involved with an emotionally abusive guy. And throughout the book, Bri has to find herself again, the person she was before dated Matt, and she learns that she deserves so much better and that it’s okay to not have everything together. And throughout all of this, she’s got Eric right there by her side.
I absolutely loved the way that their romance developed, from ex-friends to friends again to possible lovers. It was handled with such care too, given that Bri has just gotten out of a manipulative and abusive relationship, a guy she’d fallen for in the beginning. And with Eric, he wasn’t perfect, but he was very respectful and though he’d been more into hookups than dating in the recent past, he wanted to try a relationship again with Bri. Though sometimes his martyrdom and his whole I don’t deserve her woe was a bit annoying. ;) I totally shipped them and loved their banter a lot.