Friday, May 30, 2014

Review: Played by Liz Fichera

Played (Hooked, #2)
Played by Liz Fichera
(Hooked #2)
May 27, 2014
Harlequin Teen
352 pages
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Source: eARC from publisher for Honest review
Book Synopsis:
This Game Is Getting All Too Real

He said: I like to keep under the radar and mostly hang out with my friends from the rez. But when I saved Riley Berenger from falling off a mountain, that rich suburban princess decided to try to save me.

She said: If I can help Sam Tracy win the heart of the girl he can't get over, I'll pay him back for helping me. I promised him I would, no matter what it takes.
My Review:

I read Hooked (my review) last year and really liked it. I think technically Played can be read as a standalone, but Fred and Ryan from Hooked play a unique role in the story, so a little more background may be helpful for the new reader, but not necessary. 

I didn't read the synopsis before reading the book, so there were lots of twists for me in addition to just getting to know the plot of the story. I loved that I didn't know what to expect. And as far as this story goes, there is a lot. Our girl Riley is going through a serious identity crisis as well as misdirecting some of her focus onto "helping" Sam win the heart of the girl he thinks he's in love with by using some very calculated and dishonest means. While Sam doesn't want Riley's help, for some reason he can't say no to her. And after the traumatic situation the two have already been through, they are bonded together in more ways than they thought. And it only gets crazier from there.

The plot gets a little crazy at times. Watching what happens, knowing many of these choices are just a bad idea, is tough to read. But it also reminds me what it was like to be Riley and Sam's age - all those insecurities, all that misdirected angst, the confusion of a first crush versus actual love, family issues. I thought it was all relatable and honest. Now Riley makes some really bad choices, and I was so worried both for her and those she was affecting with her "intentions." I couldn't help but love Sam. He's like a big, smart teddy bear. Despite the drama, I enjoyed watching Sam and Riley's friendship develop and how they were able to connect with each other differently than others in their lives. They were actually very sweet, when they weren't being oblivious. And beyond their relationship, we get to see so much of their personal lives, with Sam and his dad, Sam and his best friend, Riley and her family. Plus the Native American goodness that Fichera intertwines so beautifully.

Played is a great read that I truly enjoyed. I was pulled along from the start. It's full of action and angst, but also beautiful, sensitive moments, and the heart of love, friendship, and hope at its core. Both Hooked and Played are great reads intertwining high school drama with a Native American twist. While I liked Hooked a little more than Played, I think both books are great.


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