Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Academy: Game On by Monica Seles and James LaRosa

The Academy: Game On by Monica Seles & James LaRosa
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury

The Academy is an International Sports Mecca for teen athletes of all sports. There are only two ways in. Deep pockets or enough talent to score a scholarship. Young tennis star Maya's dreams have finally come true when she earns a scholarship to The Academy. Plucked from her small town, Maya moves to the sports training facility/boarding school to (hopefully) start the beginning of her pro career. But Maya's fantasy of The Academy doesn't quite match the reality. Because where there are hot, talented teens, there's a lot of drama. Meet the players:
  • Cleo: Maya's rebel/punk roommate who is nearing the top of the golf world.
  • Renee: The gorgeous swimmer with enough money to buy her way into The Academy.
  • Nicole: A tennis star who feels threatened by Maya (but she'd never admit it).
  • Travis: The son of The Academy owner--perfectly groomed to be the next NFL star.
  • Jake: Travis' younger brother--the bad boy to his brother's good  -

I've always been a big fan of sports books, so getting hold of this one was great, and I am so happy that I did.  This book was a lot more than what I expected, and it devoured me, not the other way around.  I literally read it in one sitting, the pacing was so great and the story sucked me in so deeply.  I loved this book.

First of all, I loved the competitive environment of the Academy.  It was so well done that I could literally picture myself there, picture the different types of personalities involved, and picture the rivalries depicted in the story.  All of the characters were so well drawn, so three-dimensional and real to me.  Yes, there were some stereotypical archetypes, but at the same time, they weren't.  The author did something different with them that, just when you think they're a stereotype, they do something to completely change your mind.  And that right there is what I loved most about the story.

I loved Maya.  This is a little bit of a mousy girl to begin to begin with, or at least you think she is.  But her personality is complex.  She is cute, sweet, innocent, and real.  She goes through several personality changes in the story that are brought about by circumstances she has to face.  I loved the many layers of growth she experiences. 

I changed my mind about the brothers numerous times throughout the story.  The author really kept me guessing until the very end.  I thought Travis was so sweet and Jake a jerk.  Then I thought Travis was still sweet but Jake misunderstood.  Then I thought Jake was a jerk and Travis was who she should be with.  Then I find out I was wrong again and there was a lot more to be uncovered.  Wow.  What a way to keep you guessing.  The romance here was definitely not predictable in any way.  And I LOVED that.  Great way to keep the reader guessing. 

She also totally fooled me about Nicole.  I had instincts in the beginning that told me Nicole was one way, then I thought I'd misjudged her, than I thought I hadn't.  And back and forth.  Nothing you think you know is exactly what it seems in this book, and that is one of things that made it so good, and set it apart from so many other contemporary stories that are out there.  There were some great twists in this story that I really just didn't expect.

This author definitely turned me into a fan of this new series.  The writing was so well done, I never knew what to expect, and I was so happy with each and every choice she made for her characters and the direction they were going.  Great book!


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