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.
Austin Braxton is an all-star pitcher for his high school team in small town Lewis Creek. All he knows and loves is baseball.. Until new girl Marisa Marlowe is hired by Austin’s mom in the family’s flower shop. By accepting help from Marisa to tutor him in Chemistry, they end up having some chemistry of their own. Only Marisa is keeping a secret that will change their relationship. Will it be for better or for worse?
Don’t judge this book by its cover of its blurb.. It might start out as a boy-meets-girl story line with a baseball theme but it’s more than that. Play On deals with suicide and depression, two topics that are worthy of any contemporary book. I thought it brought their romance to an even greater level because they’re both learning how to deal with it. One who is struggling with it on a day-to-day basis and the other learning how to love someone who is suffering. I thought it was done extremely well. Michelle Smith respected her characters to make this topic feel depressing but at the same time she brings in all the feels. There’s also a secondary story line to two secondary characters who are dealing with their family and what it means to “come-out-of-the-closet.” They’re both beautifully done so well and I absolutely commend Michelle for it.
As for the characters? I loved them all. They were just so supportive of one another. Austin and Marisa together on the page made my heart happy. Even though it seems like it’s instant love from his point of view, it didn’t really feel like it was because this is the first time I’ve ever read love at first sight from a boy’s point of view. It made me laugh how klutzy he was and how dorky he became. He’s one of the most supportive boyfriends around and I’m adding Austin to my book boyfriend just! Marisa was a fighter, this girl who is battling with her mind, trying and failing at times like most people do. I can honestly relate to her struggles as well. I also thought the back-story with Austin’s father was done extremely well. It forced him to put things in perspective and finally give him closure.
Overall, I highly recommend this contemporary romance with a side of serious because you’ll pretty much love these characters to death. I know I did and I’m hoping you’ll give this a try. Especially if you’re wondering what it’s like for a teenage boy to fall in love. Also I just love the cover, cute and simple! But I’m sad that this physical paperback is only sold in Barnes and Nobles in the U.S.A.