Review+Giveaway: Played

Wednesday, May 21, 2014
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Title: Played (Hooked #2)
Author: Liz Fichera
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: May 27th 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads:
This Game Is Getting All Too Real
He said: I like to keep under the radar and mostly hang out with my friends from the rez. But when I saved Riley Berenger from falling off a mountain, that rich suburban princess decided to try to save me. 

She said: If I can help Sam Tracy win the heart of the girl he can't get over, I'll pay him back for helping me. I promised him I would, no matter what it takes.

My Thoughts

The start seemed so promising, especially when Riley and Sam met in a leadership conference thing. The two of them got teamed for scavenger hunt , but Riley decided to take matters into her own hands, and she fell off the Rim. A storm came and forced the two of them to stay in the forest, fighting for survival. Riley is filled with gratitude that Sam had saved her. 


“Being the good daughter wasn’t easy. First, there was the guilt that gnawed at my self-esteem like a leech whenever I didn’t live up to my parents’ expectations.”

First sentence. I was ecstatic because I thought that Riley would be a character that is easy to connect, for me. I totally understand about the whole parents’ expectations thing, and you try to be the good, perfect daughter they want you to be.

However, everything went downhill from there. I totally understand that you want to repay someone after your life got saved, but why oh why does it have to be at the cost of other people’s feelings and life? I hated how Riley started to meddle in Ryan (her brother) and Fred (Ryan’s girlfriend) life. Half of the book, I was annoyed and pretty much hated her. Although, her character was very realistic, like becoming bitchy and all that when having bad days. It was hard to like her when all I can see was how her life is continuously going downhill. She built walls around her, and she became so unreachable.

Despite all her attitude, I could see myself in her. Heck, I don’t meddle with people’s lives, but I build walls and push away people like she did. Reading Played has made me see myself in Riley’s life, and it has made me realize that there are a lot of awesome people around me, even though I seem far away from them. It made me feel thankful and appreciate the things people do for me, even if I didn’t like them at times. I may have disliked her at some point, but I couldn’t just blame her because I could see a little of myself in her. In all honesty, I was afraid that someday I’ll become a Riley too.

I loved how she was able to admit her own mistakes, and do something to make up for them. I love how she didn’t try so hard to fix all the relationships she had broken, instead, she tried to become a better person. She knew the limits, when to push and when not to, and I liked that in her.

Sam was so judgmental from the start, that I didn’t like him right away. He always assumed the worse of Riley, even though he didn’t know anything about her. He also had this habit of becoming a jerk and pushing people away too. But the thing that I hated the most about him is that he thinks he’s got it worse than others. It was annoying how he could think like that when he hadn’t lived the lives of others. Nevertheless, he was sweet, caring and understanding. He knows when he was in the wrong, but is too proud to admit that. I actually liked reading his point of view more than Riley’s.

The thing I loved the most in Played is the last 20-30% of it. It was the point of many realisations and reconciliations. I love how Riley and Sam both talked things out with their family. I love how both of them think that family is always family. The two of them have a lot of similarities actually, and it somehow gives me the thought that it’s because of it that they can help each other grow. Sam definitely did a lot for Riley, maybe even without him knowing it. And that’s what I love the most. The way they started off as friends first was also nice because it didn’t rush the romance. They gradually got to know each other, and fell for each other’s personality.

Played really hit me straight to home, and I may even have teared in a few pages. This is a beautiful story about social pressure, family, friendship and love, and I absolutely recommend reading this one! Although, I think it’s a book wherein you either just like it or hate it. Even still, the latter part of the story is completely breathtaking!

My Rating

Book Trailer

Praises for Played

"The book stands out in its nicely realistic portraits of the teens." (Kirkus)

"The plot is the perfect mix of real-life scenarios and swoon-worthy romance, while the issues of race and class that Fichera interweaves into the story add substance. In an alternating first-person narration style similar to Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor and Park, readers are given insight into the characters' thoughts and feelings. The tale sticks to the formula but the captivating ways in which the sequence of events plays out keep this take fresh and exciting." (School Library Journal)

About the Author

I'm an American author living in the American Southwest by way of Chicago.  

Born and raised in Park Ridge, Illinois, I moved to Phoenix, Arizona, after college, never expecting to live more than one year among cactus and people who’d never seen snow. I was wrong. It certainly didn't hurt that I met my future husband in Phoenix too. 

Most of my stories are set in the American Southwest because I think the desert is a cool place. Living in Phoenix, I'm surrounded by Native American culture and influences, not to mention intriguing Hohokam petroglyphs and centuries-old canals. There are over 20 tribes in Arizona and I'm lucky to be neighbors to the Gila River and the Salt River Indian Communities. 

When I'm not busy writing my next novel, I like to travel, visit museums, support local theater productions, hike, and pretend that I'm training for a triathlon. I post a lot of photos from my desert and mountain hikes on my Facebook and Twitter pages. In no particular order, I've been chased by javalinas, rattlesnakes, coyotes, and even one curious black bear.


Win (1) signed copy of PLAYED by Liz Fichera. Open internationally.


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