Sorry for a bit of deja vu. I had already written and scheduled the review before I joined the blog tour, and yes, you probably did see this review yesterday, but, hey, it’s still good! 😉 And now you get to see a lot of lovely extra bits as well as a giveaway! Woot!
July 2, 2018
Blurb: All her life, Katie has been chosen last for everything: the last picked on the playground, the last picked by her absent father, and definitely the last picked by boys—even her secret crush, Alex, friend-zoned her. This senior year, Katie is determined to come first.
But then Alex asks her to help him find a date?!
Alex has been living life in the fast lane, but he’s ready to slow down—with a girlfriend. The last person on earth he’d consider? The girl his brother developed serious feelings for before he died: Katie. The only way Alex is going to get over Katie is by falling for someone new. And who better to help him find his new crush than the girl he can’t stop thinking about?
What can possibly go wrong?
SASCHA DARLINGTON’S REVIEW
Playing Her Secret Crush is a cute friends to more young adult novel ready to be your next beach read if you’re into gaming. Yep. No where does the blurb hint that there is a huge gaming aspect to this novel, which I think may have been a misjudgment, especially since I really enjoyed the gaming and the other geeky parts.
Katie is a great character. She has stoically been best friends with Alex even though he’s been totally oblivious (possible oxymoron since he’s a teenage boy) regarding her true feelings for him. She befriends Lexi, another excellent character, although Alex has chosen Lexi to be his girlfriend.
While I could understand Alex’ quandary, feeling like if he gave into his feelings for Katie that he would be betraying his brother, I also couldn’t understand it at the same time. I am not a huge fan of romances built around supposed “codes” like don’t date your best friend’s sister or live alone rather than pursue the love of your life because he/she once dated your best friend. Jason, Alex’ brother, had remarked that Katie was a wonderful girl, and Alex had built that up to mean so many things, probably too many things. This could have all been cleared up earlier, but then no novel.
However, I think Casey Griffin did a great job of showing Alex’ mixed up feelings. How he was both in awe of his “perfect” older brother and yet jealous and how those feelings and perhaps guilt because of those feelings made him shut himself off from real relationships.
There’s a lot of miscommunication or non-communication in Playing Her Secret Crush, and it felt like a good deal of the plot hinged on this. I understand that communications issues can be a great device–hey, it probably started with Shakespeare and that can’t be bad, right? But it leaves me feeling “meh.”
Flipside: I loved the gaming aspect. The Conquerors of Caroon sounded like a game I’d like to play. The rock climbing and Comic Con geekiness and the wonderful ensemble of side characters (Penny and Trevor!) and the chance for the underdog to win were all things I enjoyed, and which, ultimately left me feeling good.
A definite beach read for us geeks who love YA crushes.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
4 out of 5 butterflies
$15 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
Casey Griffin can often be found at comic conventions on her days off from her day job, driving 400 ton dump trucks in Northern Alberta, Canada. As a jack of all trades with a resume boasting registered nurse, English teacher, and photographer, books are her true passion, and she is currently busy writing every moment she can.