Review: Out Of Play (by Jolene Perry & Nyrae Dawn)

Title: Out Of Play
Author: Jolene Perry & Nyrae Dawn
Published: August 6th 2013
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: eARC provided by publisher for honest review
Rating: 4/5

Rock star drummer Bishop Riley doesn't have a drug problem. Celebrities—especially ones suffering from anxiety—just need a little help taking the edge off sometimes. After downing a few too many pills, Bishop wakes up in the hospital facing an intervention. If he wants to stay in the band, he’ll have to detox while under house arrest in Seldon, Alaska. 

Hockey player Penny Jones can't imagine a life outside of Seldon. Though she has tons of scholarship offers to all the best schools, the last thing she wants is to leave. Who'll take care of her absentminded gramps? Not her mother, who can’t even be bothered to come home from work, let alone deal with their new tenants next door. 

Penny’s not interested in dealing with Bishop’s crappy attitude, and Bishop’s too busy sneaking pills to care. Until he starts hanging out with Gramps and begins to see what he’s been missing. If Bishop wants a chance with the fiery girl next door, he’ll have to admit he has a problem and kick it. Too bad addiction is hard to kick…and Bishop’s about to run out of time.

The story:
I love how refreshingly different this book is; different in that it's set in Alaska, different in that the heroine is a jock and different in that one of the most important characters (other than the two narrators) is an elderly man.

Penny loves living in Alaska, she also loves hanging with the boys and playing hockey. She has a lot of pressure to take up one of the many college scholarship offers, but she's just happy to stay where she is and wishes nothing would change. But along comes Bishop to shake her world upside down. He's snarky, grumpy and has a perpetual frown on his face, but all that starts to change once he gets to know Penny. He doesn't want to be here in a cabin in Alaska because he claims he 'doesn't have a drug problem'. But after spending time with Penny, he starts to realise that he's been fooling himself and wants to change his life for the better.

There is also a side story with Penny's Gramps who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's & Dementia. This side story was very touching. Having a grandmother in a similar situation, many of the scenes brought tears to my eyes. I could completely understand the pain of seeing a loved slowly change and disappear - it hurts, and that emotion is portrayed beautifully in this story.

The characters:
I really liked Penny, she's a strong character who can match it with the boys in more ways than just hockey. She doesn't get broken easily, but her Gramps's illness effects her more than she's willing to admit even to herself. She tries to be strong, but learns that sometimes it's impossible to control everything. She's afraid of change not only with him but also with her own future, it's not until she meets Bishop that she starts to let go a bit.

Bishop was a little hard to like at first. I felt he was a little self-absorbed and unaware how much of an effect his bad decisions where having on the people around him. However as the story progresses he starts to learn things about himself and opens his eyes to the possibly that he can change for the better.

Gramps was a excellent character and in some ways is what makes this book so special. He's relationship with Bishop is exactly what both of them need. Bishop finds someone he can trust and talk to in a father like way - something that he's never had before. And Gramps feels like he can still make a difference in the world despite his illness. Their relationship was really beautiful.

The romance:
The romance between Bishop & Penny developed slowly over the course of book. It was clear they were both attracted to each other and I enjoyed watching them get closer as their friendship turned into something more. What was really beautiful was that while Penny's male teammates just see her as another friend because of her fierce tom-boy attitude, Bishop was different, he loved her for it.

The Writing:
I haven't read many books written by two authors, however if I hadn't of known before reading it, I don't think I would have been able to tell. Since Jolene wrote Penny's POV & Nyrae wrote Bishop's POV, I think it actually enhanced the book, by giving both characters different voices.

Sometimes YA contemporaries can be a little immature and simple for me, but Out Of Play doesn't fall into that category. The characters have realistic flaws and they are faced with some serious issues. This is very much a 'coming-of-age' type book, and in a way straddles the lines between YA & NA. I really enjoyed this one and I could see possible spin off stories for some of the other characters.

Sexuality: medium / kissing and heavy petting, discussions of sex (no sex scenes)
Violence: mild
Language: medium / several f**k
Drugs & alcohol: strong / drug use & addiction is a major theme throughout

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