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For the Game (Playing for Keeps #2) by Amber Garza

For the Game (Playing for Keeps #2) by Amber Garza

3 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
London Miller is a survivor. She’s suffered through more than her share of heartache and struggles, but with Cooper in her life, she feels strong enough to overcome anything. Even with him away at college, she knows he is in her heart – and her life – for the long haul.

Cooper Montgomery is a winner. Losing has never been an option for him. Not in baseball, not in school, not in life. He’s worked hard to gain a spot on the Fallbrook Falcon’s baseball team and it should be the best time of his life. He’s living his dream and now that he has London, his life finally feels complete.

When unexpected obstacles arise, both London and Cooper are faced with new challenges that threaten to tear them apart. They’ve fought so hard to be together. Can London survive what fate throws her way? And can Cooper win when there is more at stake than just the game?

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My Review
For the Game is the second and final book in the Playing for Keeps series by Amber Garza. It picks up after For the Win, with Cooper away at college and London still recovering from cancer. This installment seemed to lack much of the angst that I loved in the first book. There’s very little conflict and the conflict that does exist is resolved too quickly to really build into something tense. I missed that this time around, although it was nice to see how both Cooper and London are adjusting to life apart. I just would have like a little more, okay a lot more, conflict.

Plot
The main plot is still about Cooper and London’s relationship. Living so far apart, they both have doubts to deal with — London has the uncertainty of her health, and Cooper has to prove himself as a pitcher on the college level, adjust to life on campus, and accept he’s no longer top dog. There is a sweet subplot involving London’s dad, and surprising one involving the plane crash that took Cooper’s parents.

Characters
It was interesting to see Cooper go from being this cocky high school phenom to just another pitcher at the college level plagued by self-doubt. I thought his journey was authentic and it showed us another side of him that helped make him more three-dimensional. I didn’t like how London went from being tough and independent to needy and unsure, though. I mean, I get why she changed the way she did, but I didn’t like her nearly as much as I did in the first book.

World Building
Living just 20 miles south of Fallbrook, California, I’m really hoping that the Fallbrook Falcon’s are a fictional college team based there. The transition from the Bay Area to a small college town was well done. The campus, the dorms, the parties, it all came across in vivid detail.

Ending
I thought the ending was okay. Everything was wrapped up, but as I said above, the conflict was resolved too easily for my tastes.

Top Five Things I enjoyed about For the Game:
1. Baseball. The details of Cooper’s struggles with the game on the next level, his insecurities, and the way his mental state impacted his play, were some of the best parts of this story.

2. Parker. Cooper’s college catcher is what friends should be and I loved his loyalty.

3. Skyler. London’s next door neighbor and defacto best friend gets a little more page time, but I’d still have loved to have seen more of her.

4. Ace. A fascinating character that could really have driven a lot more conflict.

5. Charlotte. Another interesting character that could have been used to create a lot more conflict and tension.

Bottom Line
For the Game was a sweet continuation of London’s and Cooper’s story, but there was far too many sweet moments and not a lot of drama to take the story from good to riveting.

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About the Book
Title: For the Game
Series:  Playing for Keeps #2
Author: Amber Garza
Release Date: February 15, 2015
Pages: 189
Genre: Young/New Adult Romance
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon

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Author Amber Garza

Author Amber Garza

About the Author
Amber Garza lives in California with her amazing husband and two hilarious children who provide her with enough material to keep her writing for years.

Where to Find Amber Garza
Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook

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