Playing For Love by Dana Burkey (Review by #NerdGirlJulie)

Playing For

Title: Playing For Love

Author: Dana Burkey

Published Date: November 1st 2014

Genre:  Young Adult 


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For years now, Fiona has been known by everyone at school as “Ross Mealing’s little sister.” But now, as she begins her sophomore year of high school, she is determined to be known by a new title: “Jordan Peterson’s girlfriend.” The only problem with that plan? Jordan happens to be best friends with her brother, and after this year will be moving on to college. Hoping to act like the girls Jordan has dated in the past, Fiona joins the soccer team and does her best to make Jordan see her as more than just his best friends little sister. Will Fiona’s plan work in the end? Find out now in this sweet YA contemporary romance!
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***#NerdGirlJulie’s  Review***
Playing for Love by Dana Burkey is a delightful Young Adult novel.  I thought this was going to be a romance based on the title, but it is much more.  The story is told through Fiona’s diary entries.  Ms. Burkey’s inclusion of the various social media used by teens was brilliant.  The reliance on text messages, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook for communicating with friends was so accurate.

Fiona is a typical high school sophomore.  She’s not precocious.  She is inexperienced and naive.  She is unpretentious.   She’s a loyal friend. I loved how Fiona changed and grew throughout this story.  She develops new friends, she takes on a support, and she doesn’t give up when things get tough on the soccer team.  She sees her interest in her brother’s best friend as nothing more than a crush that will probably never be acknowledged.
Beth and Corra are Fiona’s steadfast friends.  They met Taylor over the summer and brought her into their little circle.  Although Fiona quickly adopts her as a friend, an adult or older teen reader will quickly pick up on Taylor’s less than admirable behavior. Ross, Fiona’s older brother, starts off as a typical older brother—bit of a jerk, uncaring, and thoughtless.  An incident on the soccer field quickly changes him; he becomes a caring and attentive older brother.  Jordan, Ross’ best friend and the object of Fiona’s desires, is a cool dude who follows Ross’ lead when it comes to behavior toward Fiona.

Playing For Love is a great, realistic example of young adult life.  Girls have crushes on older boys that sometimes work out and sometimes don’t.  The girls have to navigate the sometimes tricky politics and agendas of other teenage girls.    The mean girls stay mean and self-centered, and the others just go on living their lives.  Teenage boys are a conundrum; I mean, their cute and every book and magazine you read says you should want one as a boyfriend.  But really, they’re not all that nice.  Take Jordan for instance.  He is nice to Fiona only after her brother has set the stage for that being okay.  When Fiona decides to take action on her crush, Jordan’s response left me speechless.  I was incensed when he eventually admitted that he knew she was crushing on him, that he was flirting with her for fun, but that after their kiss, he eventually realized that he actually liked her-liked her.  I was absolutely floored, when Fiona didn’t slap him and walk away but selectively heard just the bit about Jordan realizing his feelings for her, and that is probably how most teenage girls would react as well.  There are great truisms and lessons in this book.

Beyond the girl drama and the secret crush dilemmas, Playing For Love is about young girls spreading their wings and growing up.  It’s about taking chances, making new friends, and staying positive in the face of adversity.


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