Play On (Lewis Creek #1) by Michelle Smith
Publication Date: April 21st 2015 by Spencer Hill
Rating: 4 Stars
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sport – Baseball
Find: Goodreads | Amazon
In the small town of Lewis Creek, baseball is everything.
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.
Summer is the perfect time to indulge in some contemporary romances. I’ve been keeping my eye on this book for the past year or so and I am so glad I decided to pick it up. I think it’s safe to say that this book kicked off my current obsession with these contemporary sport romances.
Play On is one of those books that emphasizes the beauty in simplicity. The book covers a lot of topics; family, friendship, love, loss, and baseball. Our narrator, Austin Braxton, is a sweetheart. He’s an all round good guy; he’s charming, funny and loves baseball. Some of my favourite passages in this book were the moments describing the feeling of being on the field. You could feel the passion oozing from him and just how deeply his love for the game ran. This guy has a lot of depth to him. While Austin may be his small towns golden boy, he is desperate to leave. There is nothing he wants more than to get out of Lewis Creek as soon as possible. Two years after his fathers suicide, Austin is still haunted by his memory. The anger and confusion burns inside of him and throughout this book we see Austin slowly learning to let go of the resentment that fuels him.
Along this journey, Austin meets Marisa; the new girl in town who happens to be a chemistry genius and offers to tutor Austin so he can maintain his position on the team. When we first meet Marsia, we see that she is smart and funny and your typical good girl. However, every good girl has her secrets and when we peel back the layers to her character we see that not everything is as easy as they seems. There is an instant attraction between the two but it does take a good while for them to actually get together. One of my favourite aspects of this book was the honesty between Austin and Marisa. Instead of diving head first into a relationship, these two take the time to peel back the layers and confide in one another. Marisa, in particular holds nothing back and she reveals the events that led her to Lewis Creek. She also gives him time to process the information she provides. I loved the connection between these two and the relationship was beautifully developed.
It’s not just Austin and Marisa we meet in this book and we are introduced to an array of secondary characters that are wonderful and supportive and could definitely take the lead in their own companion novel. My favourites were Jay and Brett, Austin’s best friends and team mates. I loved the camaraderie within the baseball team and it’s this bond that makes me love these sport contemporaries so much. Jay and Brett have their own story threaded into the plot as they struggle to come out as a couple to their town. Austin is one of a few people that know of their relationship and while they’re both secure in their love for each other, they fear the reaction their traditional small town will have to their coming out.
Overall this was an understated and surprising book. I was not expecting the depth and the emotions explored from beginning to end. Is it a game changer? No, but it’s a book that has a lot of heart and a love for baseball. I’m so excited to come back to this little town and I can’t wait to get my hands on Game On.