REVIEW: Playing Nice – Rebekah Crane

playing nicePlaying Nice

Rebekah Crane

Stand Alone

eBook, 270 pages

Published January 3rd 2013 by In This Together Media

ISBN: (not available)

– 3.5 stars

“Martina “Marty” Hart is really nice. At least, that’s what people think.

It’s Marty’s junior year at Minster High. Minster’s a small town where making great grades, smiling pretty, helping old people, running the new-student Welcoming Committee, and putting up decorations for all the dances–including the totally awful Hot Shot fall hunting celebration–gets you … what? Marty’s not sure. Instead of dreaming about a sororities-and-frats future at nearby University of Michigan, she’s restless, searching for a way out of the box her controlling mother and best frenemy Sarah have locked her in. When Lil–don’t call her Lily!–Hatfield transfers to Minster, Marty gets her chance. Lil’s different. She smokes, wears black, listens to angry punk records, and lives in a weird trailer with her mother. Lil has secrets–secrets that make her a target for all the gossiping and online bullying Minster can muster. But so does Marty. And Marty sees something different in Lil. Something honest.

Something real.

PLAYING NICE is the achingly true story of a girl who’s been following the rules for so long she’s forgotten who she was when she started. It’s about falling in love with the wrong people and not seeing the right ones, about the moments in life when you step out of line, take a chance … and begin to break free.”

First of all, I would like to thank In This Together Media for sending me a copy of Playing Nice. I really enjoyed Rebekah Crane’s latest book Aspen for which you can read my review here. However, as much as I loved Playing Nice, I felt that Aspen left more of an impact on me and remains my favourite book out of the two. That being said, this was still a fun and honest portrayal of what not being true to yourself can result in. The story is fast paced at the beginning and we see Marty and Lil introduced fairly quickly and the upset that Lil brings to Marty’s life. The plot begins to then unfold, showing the knock on effects this has on both Marty and Lil.

Overall, I did enjoy the book, but I did have some problems with it. I liked that this book focused on friendship and how this can lead to you discovering more about yourself and others. The friendship between Marty and Lil was pure and truthful and did show what problems can occur between friends. I also liked that the two main protagonists brought out the best in each other and how innocently funny they were together. I also absolutely loved the fact that music helped these two friends bond and helped them reflect on their emotions. There were some awesome bands and artists mentioned, for example Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Led Zeppelin and more. And I felt tat this added another dimension to the book that allowed the reader to relate with the characters. However, my main problem with the novel was the fact that nothing, I felt, truly tested Marty and Lil’s friendship to the breaking point. There was the small blips, yes, but nothing that made me see that this was a dynamic and indestructible friendship that could, in the end, over come anything.

This entire book was written from Marty’s point of view, in the first person. Her voice was realistic and reasonable, but it was nothing original. But I did connect with Marty and I could relate with what she was feeling and how, sometimes, it’s easy to say no to drugs and things like that but it is so hard to say no to things like how our parents want us to behave and what our teachers expect us to become. This is one of the things that kept me invested in the book. Unfortunately, I did find that Marty’s obsession with being seen by the boys in the novel came across as desperate and, I felt, was border line pathetic.

But saying that, I don’t even think this book needed romance in it because it was a really entertaining read without it. Overall it was a fun light-hearted, well paced book that dealt with relatable themes that a lot of teenagers and even adults could relate to. This was a great summer read that I would recommend to anyone in need of a pick-me-up after a darker read. I found the end of the story realistic but saddening, but it definitely solidified that message that was presented during the course of the book: true friendship lasts a life time.

Thanks for reading. Please like and comment below if you have read this book, you want to buy this book but need more persuading or if you agreed/disagreed with my review. I’d love to hear from you! Or you can contact me here.


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