Book Review: Playing Hurt by Gerald L. Nardella

Witness the dramatic lives of the High School teenagers in Playing Hurt by Gerald L. Nardella! Brian West is in love with his girlfriend, Deanie. However, she has been distant since the night they had sex. While he is left to ponder over the possibilities of her acting aloof, Deanie is having major problems of her own. Her ex-boyfriend, Bill Slater, has planned to visit her and his intentions are not good. Deanie’s gut feeling is warning her to stay away from Bill, but he is not being easily discouraged. After a lot of chasing, literally, Deanie decides to get into the car with Bill. As soon as he discovers that she has had sex with Brian, he rapes her. Deanie decides to hide this fact from Brian, but her feeling of guilt is not making the task of hiding it easy. She is not even sure if Bill would let her go after forcing himself on her once.

The author has done an incredible job of portraying various aspects of a typical teenager’s life. The revengeful actions of the teenage boys land them in trouble all the time, and Gerald has presented the readers with many scoops of such actions. Dick Dana, the best friend of Brian, is the perfect example of those teenage boys who are mostly thinking about sex. Their intense desire of physical pleasure lands them and the others around them in trouble. Teenage girls’ confusion between staying a virgin till marriage or holding their boyfriends by offering them sex is written in a very realistic manner. Karen, Dick’s girlfriend, is determined to stay chaste until marriage, but Dick’s activities are shaking her decision.

Playing Hurt is not all about the teenage problems. There are many important lessons buried here and there. Keeping a secret may hamper a relationship that could have been a very successful one. Deanie’s attempts to hide the truth or present only the half truth to her boyfriend planted a seed of betrayal in Brian’s heart, which he could never get rid of. The worth of a good friendship is also at the heart of the book. There are many twists and turns throughout the book, which are sure to keep the readers turning the pages. I found myself hooked to the plot till the last page.

The author’s narration of the story is excellent. He knows what he is doing. The pace remains steady throughout the read. I could not find any moment of boredom while reading this story. The emotional storm that Brian deals with is written with complete perfection. The description of Deanie’s harsh self-judgment, which drives her to demean her own worth, is flawless and very relatable. A girl, who was trying to stay virgin until marriage, finds herself throwing into sex just to make her boyfriend to stay with her –this is definitely the story of many girls.

I believe this book deserves all 4 out of 4 stars. The plot, narration, characters and pace are all perfect. The readers who love reading a fast-paced fiction that is a blend of romance and twists would definitely enjoy Playing Hurt.

P.S. This book was an “ Book of the Day”. 

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