TITLE: Play On (Lewis Creek)
AUTHOR: Michelle Smith
PUBLISHER: Spencer Hill Contemporary
AVAILABILITY: Purchase links on author's website
Young Adult - Contemporary
PLAY ON is a small town tale about a high school baseball star and the new girl in town. Austin needs help maintaining his grades to stay on the team, and chem whiz Marissa, who just recently arrived, offers to help tutor him. She also works at his mom's flower shop. Sparks soon begin to fly, but Marissa's demons emerge to haunt them both.
This book tackles the tricky issue of mental illness with nuance and does a great job at both depicting Marissa's clinical depression and Austin's attempts to understand. Austin's father committed suicide a few years back, and he never understood why. Now, with Marissa, he finds himself once again faced with the specter of mental illness.
Smith does a great job of developing her characters and guiding both Austin (who narrates the story with a distinctive voice) and the reader to understand depression. Marissa is much, much more than her illness - she's quirky, smart, and a hardcore sports fan.
This book is really about the characters, which I love. Each one is fully developed and comes to life on the page. The interaction and drama kept me hooked, and each time life got in the way of reading, I found myself very reluctant to stick the bookmark between the pages and put the book down.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michelle Smith was born and raised in North Carolina, where she developed a healthy appreciation for college football, sweet tea, front porches, and a well-placed “y’all.” She’s a lover of all things happy, laughs way too much, and fully believes that a little bit of kindness goes a long way.
Michelle lives near the Carolina coast with her family.