The Game Can’t Love You Back by Karole Cozzo
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: May 15, 2018
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound
Eve is used to being the odd woman out. As the only girl on her school’s baseball team, she knows exactly how to put sweaty, macho baseball players in their place, and she’s focused on one thing and one thing only—being the best pitcher she can be.
But when a freak accident forces her high school to be absorbed by the neighboring town, Eve has to contend with a new group of guys who aren’t used to having a woman on their team. And the new team’s star pitcher, Jamie, has no interest in being ousted from his throne. He can’t afford to give up his starting slot to a new pitcher—even worse, to a girl.
As the competition between Jamie and Eve starts to heat up, so does their attraction to each other. Can they keep their heads in the game, or will they end up getting played?
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
When an electrical fire broke out at Farmington South High School, students especially those who are member of the sports team didn’t have any choice but be absorbed by the Farmington East High School.
Female baseball player, Eve “Phenom” Marshall was forced to join the Pirate’s baseball team playing along with their star player, Jamie “Ace” Abrams. Not only they’re both vying for the same trophy but they also instantly had the connection but not the kind you are thinking because well, they hate each other. A lot. Would they ever get along to win the game or the competition between them will just hit the home run?
Eve is a badass female character who is a strong athlete — driven, confident with an intense determination. Though Jaime had done things that supposed to break her, she was someone who would never easily give up. The only thing she ever wanted was to have a chance to prove that she’s a team player too because Eve believe in herself that she can play with one of the boys and not just the odd girl out.
Gender-based eligibility where female players and even coaches who, more often than not are marginalized and undervalued is an ongoing issue in the world of sports. And as timely as it is, I love how the author made a character out of Eve as a shout out to every female athlete who strongly believe that gender shouldn’t matter as long as you are passionate and love what you are doing.
On the other hand, Jaime may carries an air of arrogance and could be a complete jerk at times but as I read the story, I found out that he was a kind, tender person with a big heart who will do anything to help his mother and protect his sister. I finally understood why getting the Cy trophy or scholarship was very important to him because beneath his hard-ass personality lies someone who’s experienced rough times.
Told in alternating dual POV, I really like how the main characters become relatable from being unlikeable. Eve and Jaime didn’t exactly started as an endearing persons with flying colors because they were both jealous and have their own selfish pursuits. But eventually, they changed, grew and earned each other’s respect. And when their hate at first sight ended into a stealthily relationship (which I’m annoyed that they have to make their relationship a secret), they have to choose what’s more important — baseball or their feelings for each other.
Sports romance needs a lot of research like any other genre such as fantasy or science fiction and just by reading every detail of play the story had which was believable without a doubt, I knew instantly Karole Cozzo did hers too. She even watched Pitch to give more justice to the sports aspect of the story and was also able to address topics like breaking stereotypes, gender equality, living under government assistance program and an issue about bullying.
However, I wish I’ve seen more of the familial bond and friendship within the story. If Eve and Jaime’s parents could have been more included into the dialogue, it would surely added more depth to their emotional outlet. The friendship between Eve and Marcella also felt like it just went into a flash or how Jaime’s relationship with his sister, Olivia was, which were the two things I’m actually looking forward to know more into the story.
Overall, I couldn’t not enjoy the story even if it has the same predictability like all the hate-to-love YA romance I’ve read. I had so much fun waiting for Eve and Jaime’s stubbornness to melt and reading the cutesy scenes like the naked half mile and Turn the Hoses car wash were some of my favorites. The best part was how they learn, hurt and along the process, realized that they’re actually on the same team.
The Game Can’t Love You Back is a story about acceptance and taking the leap that pitch just the right amount of humor and drama with a grand slam cast of main characters, and Huzzah filled moments of crazy banter!
Thank you to NetGalley, MacMillian Children’s Publishing Group – Swoon Reads, Xpresso Book Tours and Karole Cozzo for providing me an eARC in exchange for a fair and honest review!
About The Author:
Karole Cozzo lives outside of Philadelphia, PA with her loving husband, exuberant little girl, and smiley little boy. She adores YA Romance, because it would be awesome if life in general had a requisite feel-good happy ending rule. Vices include obscene Haribo gummy consumption, addiction to Starbucks NF vanilla lattes, and tendency to hoard Bath and Body Works 3-wick candles.
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