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.
Last year I read (and loved!) Play On by Michelle Smith. When Bloomsbury asked if I wanted to be apart of the blog tour for Game On, I jumped at the chance! I could not wait to get back into the world of Lewis Creek baseball plus the boy/girl next door trope? SIGN ME UP!
Once again Michelle balances the fine line of fluffy, fun love story and one that tackles tougher, real subjects. Eric is far from perfect and has found himself in trouble with the law, his coach and his parents for the last time. Bri has her own set of “problems” but has a perfect exterior that fools most people. Bri finds a solution to Eric’s problems that pleases everyone, well expect maybe Eric. The two end up spending a lot more time together than they have in the last few months 🙂
Gahhhh I loved Bri and Eric! I am sure a lot of it has to do with the neighbors/friends to more trope that was going on but also Michelle writes great chemistry. In the beginning of the book, Bri is dating another guy and there was no fizzle there but later scenes in the book (and car rides!) between Bri and Eric had me swooning.
Books like this remind me why I love reading books written in duel POV. I loved being inside both Bri and Eric’s head. Both of them have their own, unique problems but they also had distinctive takes on the same moment. At one point Eric is standing up for Bri and later on Bri makes a point of saying she doesn’t need anyone fighting her battles. I loved how fierce Bri! I was not expecting this from her in the beginning but by the end she had me totally impressed.
I loved that Bri is also an athlete and a soccer player at that! I am always wishing for more soccer players in YA novels. While the plot is very heavy on baseball (it is Lewis Creek after all!), there is enough on the page about Bri being an athlete without it seeming like a random detail. The only thing that bugs me more than a book getting sports details wrong, is when a character is mentioned as an athlete but that has no relevance to the plot. It is a random complaint, that has nothing to do with this book because Game On gets it right!!
Overall I really enjoyed Game On and highly reccomend picking this one up. It is the perfect read to end your summer with and transition into fall.
FYI YOU DO NOT NEED TO READ PLAY ON BEFORE READING GAME ON! Either one can be read first and it won’t affect your enjoyment. If the boy next door is more your think, you may just want to jump straight into this one 😉
Bloomsbury was kind enough to supply an excerpt today! Read below and then keep scrolling for a GIVEAWAY!!
He’s silent for a moment, until I look up at him. Big mistake. I’ve never been one to go all gah-gah over someone, but that stubble lining his jaw should be a crime. Like, that’s just common human decency. There’s no reason for a dude to look that good when there’s a 99 percent chance he didn’t shower this morning.
And there is really no reason for my heart to be fluttering at the sight of my neighbor’s jawline. Or his eyes. Or those lips, which are curving into the smallest of smiles. But it is.
I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t used to have a sort-of thing for the boy next door. I mean, he was my first kiss, for crying out loud. But then you hit middle school, and you go the Quiz Bowl route and he’s all baseball, all the time, and then it’s high school and he’s even more baseball and parties while you’re volunteering a dozen hours every week. Before you realize what’s happening, everything’s just different.
You still joke around in the driveway. Still stop by his house for dinner every few weeks when his mom invites you over. Still catch a ride with each other every now and then when someone’s car won’t start (hint: mine). Still say hi in the hallway. Technically, you’re still friends. But your paths never really cross in the same way again.
Until now, that is.
He shakes his head. “You don’t have anything to be sorry for. I get pissed off, too. It happens.” He leans in and adds, “Even if you did make me feel bad for loving bacon. Which is just cruel.”
I shove him playfully, making him laugh as I let out one of my own. “Still. Having a crappy week doesn’t mean I should’ve taken it out on you.” Crappy is the understatement of the century, but we’ll go with it. An ex who won’t stop leaving me voicemails at midnight is more along the lines of shitty.
I swallow hard, forcing away the lump in my throat.
One of the kids screams. My attention snaps back to them, only to spot them laughing as Brantley, an eight-year-old, red-headed firecracker, soars down the field with the ball.
I’m not one to brag, but he had a good teacher.
“That crappy week was partially my fault,” Eric says, and I finally look back to him. “You seem better now, though.”
Because this is my element. The kids, and the people inside, and the feeling of actually being needed? It’s a miracle worker. No matter how many phone calls I get, no matter how many times I have to delete, and delete, and delete voicemails, this is one thing that Matt can’t ruin.
“It’s this place,” I say.
“Why do you do it?”
He holds my gaze, waiting. Genuinely interested in whatever answer I have for him. But what he doesn’t know is that the full answer would keep us here all day. There’s only so much you can describe. When it comes to the thing that makes you thrive, that fills you with so much happiness that you could burst, it’s better to show instead of tell.
But he did ask for an answer, so I tell him, “Because I love people. And I love helping them.”
His lips twitch as he folds his own arms. “You can’t save the world, you know.”
I know that. Trust me, I know that. “If I can help one person, it’s worth it.”
“Your optimism is showing.”
A smile spreads across my face. “Maybe the world needs a little more optimism.” I pause, and add, “I’ll introduce you to them next week. The kids, I mean.”
His eyebrows scrunch together. “Why not today?”
I could tell him about the dozen volunteers I’ve seen come and go over the past year, about the people these kids have gotten to know and then bolted after one session. I could tell him how much it breaks my heart to watch their smiles fall when they realize someone isn’t coming back. And I don’t think Eric would pull something like that, but I can’t risk it. I can’t.
“You can hang out and watch this week,” I tell him. “Make sure it’s something you want to stick with. And we’ll do intros next time.”
“You’re the boss.” He sighs dramatically, tossing an arm across my shoulder. It’s something he’s done dozens of times in the years we’ve known each other, but for some reason, my cheeks flush in response. “Truce, Little Miss Sunshine?” he asks.
My smile grows as I nod once. “Truce.”
He flashes another grin—a genuine Eric Perry grin—before looking back to the kids, and for a split second, it feels like maybe, just maybe, there’s a chance we’re tip-toeing back toward the friend territory that was off-limits for the past few months.
Or maybe we never really left to begin with.
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