Title: Don't Hate the Player, Hate the Game!
Author: Katie Ashley
Pages: Ebook; 266
Release Date: April 30, 2013
Source: Literati Literature Lovers Tours
HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers looking for a sweet romance with a bit of angst thrown in for good measure.
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For Noah Sullivan being the best friend to a douchebag and player like Jake Nelson has never been easy. It's been a rocky road since kindergarten when Jake duct taped Noah to his chair before recess. With just six weeks to high school graduation, Jake accidentally blows his drunken ass up on his grandfather's tractor, and Noah finds himself immersed not only in a whirlwind of grief, but on a quest to find a mystery girl from Jake's past.
While cleaning out Jake's room, Noah and Jake's dad make a startling discovery. Instead of the obligatory porn collection or pot stash, they find a ring, but not just any ring. Its half a carat of commitment in a platinum setting-proving even man whores have taste. After Jake's mom pleads with Noah to find the girl who meant so much to Jake, Noah begins a modern day Grail quest to track the girl down.
Since Jake was a notorious player with a legendary collection of trophy panties, Noah finds himself in over his head. There are the usual suspects like Avery, the Ice Princess Jake dated for appearances, or Presley, the school mattress Jake dated for convenience. But the trail begins to point to the most unlikely of suspects: Maddie, the Valedictorian and choir girl who was trying to help the unmotivated jock graduate--the girl who also has surprisingly caught Noah's eye and meddled with his heart.
Hanging out with Maddie shows Noah a different side of Jake--one that was deeply human and surprisingly douche-free. And the more he tries to solve the mystery of the ring and of Jake, the more Noah starts to discover about himself and of love.
Noah Sullivan's world is in pieces since the death of his best friend Jake. Attempting to cope not only with is feelings, but also with the fact that he didn't know his best friend as well as he though he did, Noah is understandably broken. When Jake's mom sets him off on a quest to find the girl the ring was meant for, he's reluctant at first. That's the beauty of Katie Ashley's story though. This journey creates a new Noah, and allows him to grow and open himself up to love.
That might sound a bit cheesy I know, but honestly this book is very well written and easy to fall in love with. I loved Noah from the very beginning, mainly because he seemed so real to me. The feelings he has about his loss, and about the way to deal with it, were what I truly believe a young teenage boy would feel. Then I met Maddie and my whole reading world was complete. She is kind, honest, and watching the two of them keep one another afloat was so sweet. I can say without a doubt that the characters were my favorite part of this book.
What kept me from fulling being immersed in this book was really just that it was so formulaic. I thought perhaps there was a twist coming around the corner. Something I wasn't quite seeing. Katie Ashley's writing is wonderful, and it is easy to see not only into the world of Noah and Maddie, but even into the thoughts of dear departed Jake. That's why I wished for more. I wanted to know more about Jake's past. I really wanted there to be a little more than what the story set up from the beginning. Sadly, there wasn't. My other slight issue was that there were times when the story dragged a bit. Nothing that kept me from reading on, but it was there.
Still, at the end of the read I was smiling. I'll admit I teared up a fair bit too. If you are a fan of sweet romances, with vivid characters, Katie Ashley's Don't Hate the Player, Hate the Game is definitely one to add to your list. I may have to have a look into her previous books too.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.