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 was so excited to find out that Sam and Riley were getting their own story in Played by Liz Fichera! They were a couple of the supporting characters in the first book in the series, Hooked. I remember that I really enjoyed reading Hooked. Not only was it a super cute contemporary read, but it also introduced diversity and strong subject matters that appealed to me. So, of course, I was very excited to read Played.
I wish that I could say that I loved Played just as much as I did Hooked, but I’d be lying. The writing itself was just as great as ever, but I was blinded by the fact that I hated Riley. I’m not talking about a little hate. No. I’m talking about the kind of hate where I eventually had to start skimming through her sections because she was pissing me off that much. I couldn’t stand her.
The biggest problem with Riley was that she was trying to break up the two main characters from the first book, Ryan and Fred. I hate to say it, but I think that was a really bad idea on Fichera’s part. I had invested hours into Ryan and Fred’s relationship and all of a sudden this little pipsqueak was entering the mix and trying to mess that progress up. Obviously, I didn’t handle that situation very well. Every single time she made a move against Ryan and Fred’s relationship, I hated her even more. By the end of the book, I detested Riley. And, of course, it was made even worse by the simple fact that Riley is Ryan’s little sister. I mean…what type of person would do such a thing?
In contrast to Riley’s character, I loved Sam. I don’t remember him playing a huge role in the first book, but I really enjoyed him in this one. He was sweet, caring, loyal. He was just everything that women want in a man. What he saw in Riley, I’ll never know, but I loved him!
Riley and Sam’s relationship was odd to say the least. It was like all this time was being invested in Riley breaking up Ryan and Fred and hooking up Sam and Fred that they really didn’t have a relationship until it was thrown in your face. Toward the end of the book they’re relationship starts to get rushed and then they’re madly in love. By the time I reached that point I was like huh? Where did that come from? I mean, it was obvious that it was supposed to be a love story and that Sam and Riley would end up together (I’m really not giving away anything you don’t already know), but I would have liked to see more build up and progression in their relationship. It just didn’t really work for me.
No matter my feelings on this book, I will always recommend this series to everyone. Why, you ask? Well, because of the content. I love that Liz Fichera features Native Americans and describes some of their culture in her books. I love the fact that there are interracial relationships going on. Most of all, I love that Native American teens (and adults!) have a popular, YA book that features a main character who looks like them. Often times, in all literature, main characters are white. I love the fact that concept is branching out and including different races and identities.
Overall, I liked this book, BUT I wasn’t in love with it. I think that would have been different if I had actually like Riley. However, it was a cute contemporary read. I just wish that there would have been a little more oomph to it. I also wish that it would have had more of an emotional impact on me. When I read contemporary, I want at least one scene that will make me cry. That didn’t happen in Played. Overall, though, I’d recommend this one to all teenagers and YA contemporary fans.
Publication Date: May 27th 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Rating: [rating: 3]