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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Review: SIDELINED by Kendra Highley

Sidelined by Kendra Highley

After being pushed to excel her entire life, high school basketball star Genna Pierce is finally where she wants to be. University scouts are taking notice, her team is on its way to the state tourney, and Jake Butler, the hot boy she's daydreamed about since ninth grade, is showing some definite interest. When he asks her out and their relationship takes off, Genna believes things can't get better.

Then, it's over.

A freak accident ends her career before it's even begun. Her parents are fighting more than ever, her friends don't understand what she's going through, and she's not sure who she is without basketball. And while he tries to be there for her, Genna doesn't understand how Jake could ever want the broken version of the girl he fell for.

Her life in a tailspin, Genna turns to the only solace that eases her pain: Vicodin.

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This book hooked me from the beginning.  Genna's voice is realistic and engaging.  I loved her drive and what a kick-butt girl she was in a very real way (no kicking monster butt, but she could tear it up on the basketball court).  She's got an amazing best friend who isn't the so-bubbly-you-want-to-scream variety and her new boy friend is pretty much a typical guy.  In short, the characters are so real you could touch them and entirely three dimensional.

As you can tell from the blurb, reading this book is like watching a train wreck happen in really slow motion.  Genna starts with the Vicodin to drown out the emotional pain more than the physical pain from breaking her leg: the loss of basketball, her mother's betrayal, the embarrassment and feelings of inadequacy.  At first, it doesn't seem like her prescription use is all that bad, which is exactly what Genna is thinking.  But the more Genna starts to react like an addict, the more we can see what a hold it has on her life.

I'm not going to say that this was a feel-good read.  It did end well, but there were painful moments along the way.  I think an errant tear even escaped my eye toward the end.  As an "issue" book, however, I'd say it's first rate.  I think it's important for teens dealing with addiction to see that things are not hopeless and it will get better. But it will take hard work and you've got to accept the support of the people trying to help.

If you or a teen you know could benefit from this book, it's definitely worth a read.  The writing to top-notch and the characters compelling.  You'll even get to meet some LGBT characters in this one too.  Bonus "issue" points!

Thanks to Entangled Teen for providing me with a review copy in exchange for my honest review.  This did not have any effect on my opinions.


S.A. Larsenッ said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one, Jessie. The cover definitely intrigued me as did the blurb. It sounds like a great coming to know one's true self sort of story.

Beth said...

Great review!

Crystal Collier said...

I avoided books like this as a teen, still do--because I don't want to cry! Mean authors. ;)

Kelly Hashway said...

This sounds really good and I love the cover. I'm going to have to check it out. Thanks, Jessie!

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