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For the Win (Playing for Keeps #1) by Amber Garza

For the Win (Playing for Keeps #1) by Amber Garza

4 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
London Miller has one best friend.

Words.

She lives in the pages of the books she reads, preferring the safety of fictional worlds over the dark and scary reality of her own life. Books aren’t her escape…they’re her salvation.

Cooper Montgomery has one true love.

Baseball.

When he’s on the mound, throwing a pitch, the darkness of his world fades away. The game is something he can control, something he can count on.

A twist of fate brings London and Cooper together, a curve ball that forces them both outside of their comfort zones. As they spend time together, a relationship begins to blossom and both of them start to believe that there just might be something bright and beautiful in their lives.

However, the game changes when your heart is on the line. You have to play with everything you have for the win.

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My Review
This started off as a sweet story of two teens, each resistant romantic relationships because of tragedy in their pasts. Cooper, a baseball phenom, is the quintessential player, although he hates that label. The death of his parents at a young age make him afraid to get close to anyone again. London is the shy girl with journalism on her mind who has suffered such a tragic loss that she tries to hide herself from the world. But London’s ambitions throw her into Cooper’s path when she’s assigned to interview him for the school paper.

A quick interview and follow-up turns into something more when each sees something in the other they never expected to — understanding. Their individual losses allow them to relate to each other in a way no one has before, and before long, both are breaking all their own rules about relationships. Life throws them a curve ball, though and what should be the happiest time of their lives is suddenly marred by uncertainty, and they’ll have to find out if they have what it takes to win.

Plot
The main plot centers on the romance between London and Cooper, but there is a subplot I won’t spoil that is well done. I thought the romance was stronger earlier in the book. Lots of angst, but it quickly resolved when the subplot came into play. I would have liked more of that throughout the story, but all-in-all, the plot worked.

Characters
The two main characters were really well developed, as was London’s father. I didn’t get much of a sense of the other characters, though.

Writing
The author seems to have done her homework on all points. The dual first-person points of view are balanced and don’t recover the same territory from different perspectives, keeping the story flowing.

Ending
The ending was a logical conclusion to the story, but it did leave me wanting more, so it’s a good thing there’s another book in the series.

Top Five Things I enjoyed about For the Win:
1. London. She has such a sense of who she is, but still manages to come across as an authentic teen.

2. Cooper. He may be a player, but he’s not a jerk about it. He’s open and honest about what he wants and what he doesn’t want from girls.

3. London and Cooper. They are beyond adorable together.

4. Dexter. London’s dad is great as the single father trying to raise a teen daughter. There’s appropriate awkward discomfort over female stuff and just general doting-dad thing that makes him one of my favorite fictional fathers.

5. Baseball Caps. Cooper’s feelings about his caps and who he lets wear them lays the groundwork for one of the book’s sweetest moments.

Bottom Line
For the Win is a sweet teen romance starring a couple of flawed but really likable characters.

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About the Book
Title: For the Win
Series:  Playing for Keeps #1
Author: Amber Garza
Release Date: November 14, 2014
Pages: 276
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Rating: 4 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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