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Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Twins on Thursday: Playing Nice by Rebekah Crane

"The Twins on Thursday" is reserved for the Twins' joint reviews. It is a special feature of our blog that discusses books that we either both like, dislike, or have mixed feelings about. This is also the day where we post reviews for books (and ARCs/Galleys) that have been sent to us by authors/galley sites/publishing houses. And because we don't believe much in uniformity, we'll be trying to mix things up a bit by adding random stuff in relation to our review (well, mostly for books we purchased anyway).

Title: Playing Nice
Author: Rebekah Crane
Format Acquired: PDF
Publication Date: January 22, 2013
Publishing House: In This Together Media
ISBN: 9780985895655
Source of Copy: Sent for review by author


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.

(Image, summary, and information courtesy of Goodreads)


Playing Nice came as a surprise to us, initially we thought that it would be a bore-fest or maybe a book filled with angsty, angry teens. Turns out we were wrong.

The leading characters in Playing Nice were surprisingly real, Marty is a nice girl confined in the box her parents and everyone else has stuffed her in and it stifles her to no end. She struggles to meet her parents' expectations along with her friends' and schoolmates' but in the process she loses sight of who she is. There were days where she wasn't sure if she liked something because she liked it or if it was forced onto her by her parents. She's a little lost and I think we can all relate to that. Lily Hatfield or Lil is brash and surprisingly honest, being forced to live with the stigma of her mother's reputation has made her secretive and unwilling to trust anyone. As the story progresses we got to know Lil a little better and we ended up liking her all the same. She's just like everyone else despite her unwelcoming exterior - a little lost, a little scared.

This is one of those books where the first half is kind of hard to read and plow through. We thought that Marty has a bit of a scary obsession with sex, boys, and her virginity. We're also pretty sure that a lot of girls don't wear dresses or skirts for easy access to their panties. It was also kind of... unnatural for her parents to be so obsessed with her being a good girl. Parents who practically live for their kids' report cards, we get. Parents who want their kid to be dubbed as The Nicest Girl Within a Thousand Mile Radius? Not really. We really thought we wouldn't get to really like Marty, given that But as the story progressed, things began to surprisingly get better. As it turns out, Marty may learn some things the hard way, and she's found out for herself that she doesn't need to keep forcing herself into an identity that others have boxed her in. The teenage years are the years where you supposedly experiment and try to find yourself, and we couldn't be prouder of Marty.

If you ever find yourself wanting to read book with a heroine that grows on you as she finds out the true meaning of friendship, and all the while dealing with a brand new identity, you might want to check out Playing Nice.  



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