**I received an e-galley of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**
Titled: Played (Hooked #2)
Author: Liz Fichera
Publication Date: May 27, 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.
I read this book in all of 3 hours. I wasn’t very impressed, I have to say. I didn’t realize this book was the second in a series until after I’d finished and looked up the author on Goodreads.
What I liked:
I thought Sam was a very interesting character. He’s that quite guy at school who’s intelligent, but likes to keep to himself. I admired his drive to get away from his small town life and to make something of himself. He seems like a hard working, devoted guy and for the male love interest in a teen romance novel, he’s all a girl could ask for.
What I didn’t like:
Wow. Well, my greatest issue with this book lies with its shocking similarity to another book that you may not have heard of before called Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. I honestly felt like I was re-reading Twilight sans vampires and werewolves. My biggest pet peeve with novels, or stories in general, is rip offs, and this novel was so similar, that I couldn’t help but wonder if the author is a huge Stephanie Meyer fan and began this novel as some sort of fan fiction. Let me take you through point by point here:
1. Plain jane girl who doesn’t see herself as attractive, yet all da boys think she’s hawt. Check.
2. Setting: Phoenix, Arizona. Check. (Yes although Twilight doesn’t take place in Phoenix, we all know that Bella was born and raised there and returns there in the final conflict.
3. Heroine hurts her leg, rendering her immobile/with a limp/out of commission for part of the novel. Check.
4. The villains have a weird vendetta against our desirable heroine. Bikers with guns and a desire to rape. Scary death vampire wants to eat human girl. Check and check.
5. The love interest is a sexy Native American boy who lives on the reserve, is shunned by the rest of the high school society, and enjoys life on the fringes with his reject friends while taking care of his motorcycle. Check.
I could go on, but I’ll spare you the gory details. I mean come on. I’ll give you 3 similarities before you’re novel is too similar to another story before I call plagiarism. This is too much likeness to be considered happenstance.
Lastly, Riley is the least redeemable protagonist I’ve come along in a while. She’s annoying, she doesn’t listen, she has no respect for peoples boundaries, and her fashion sense is bordering on devastating. We’re told at the beginning that she’s kind of a loser/loner smart girl, but honestly I don’t know where her brains were past page 4 because she didn’t demonstrate anything resembling intelligence to me. I cant see how Sam comes to love her in the end. I mean, sure I get the whole teen romance thing, but she could have been a little more likeable to at least make their relationship believable. I’m with Sam’s original impressions that she’s a spoiled, bratty, annoying, bossy girl. He should have gone with his cut and stayed away.
I love teen fiction. YA’s are a wonderful break for me and I try to critique them fairly, taking into account the target audience and the quality of the work. I also hate to give bad reviews, especially from a galley, but I can’t lie and say this book was good. It’s certainly not the worst thing I’ve ever read, but I wouldn’t recommend it.