Friday, May 03, 2013

Review: Game. Set. Match. by Jennifer Iacopelli

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I received this book for free from Coliloquy in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Game. Set. Match. by Jennifer IacopelliGame. Set. Match. by Jennifer Iacopelli
Series: Outerbanks Tennis Academy #1
on May 1st 2013
Genres: Contemporary, NA
Source: Coliloquy
Buy on Amazon

Nestled along the North Carolina coast, the Outer Banks Tennis Academy is the world’s most elite training facility. In this pressure-cooker environment, futures are forged in blood and sweat, and dreams are shattered in an instant.

Penny Harrison, a rising female star, is determined to win the French Open and beat her archrival, Zina Lutrova. But when her coach imports British bad boy Alex Russell as her new training partner, will Penny be able to keep her laser-like focus?

Tennis is all Jasmine Randazzo has ever known. The daughter of two Grand Slam champions, she’s hell-bent on extending her family’s legacy and writing her own happily-ever-after…until her chosen Prince Charming gives her the just-friends speech right before the biggest junior tournament of the year, the Outer Banks Classic.

With a powerful serve and killer forehand, newcomer Indiana Gaffney is turning heads. She’s thrilled by all of the attention, especially from Jack Harrison, Penny’s agent and hot older brother, except he keeps backing off every time things start heating up.

With so much at stake, dreams—and hearts—are bound to break. Welcome to OBX: Where LOVE is a four-letter word, on and off the court.

It’s funny how I can not sit through any sports game and stay awake to save my life, but movies and books on the subject, I love! Game Set Match is the perfect example of why; ultimately about sports,  the story is really about the characters, the dynamics between players, romances that bloom (what’s better than 1 romance? 3 of them! ;), and feeling the excitement of the game by wanting these characters to win so much.

Not into Tennis? Honestly, don’t let that deter you at all for one second. No one can be as clueless as me when it comes to how that game is played, but never did I feel overwhelmed, confused, or bored by it at all. On the contrary, I found myself enjoying the tennis matches the most. Jennifer makes you care about the characters so much that the matches become as intense to you as if you were the one playing. You want these girls to win so badly that I was literally holding my breath during one of the big matches. The only complaint is that I wanted to experience more of these games. Some are faded to black, and once or twice they’re skipped completely and we just get the end result. This is what happens when matches are written to be so exhilarating, it leaves you disappointed when others were skimmed over. Still, I loved all the energy they radiated; even those we didn’t get to see fully were bristling with so much anticipation that in one way it was fun to get treated to the result right away. My blood: it was pumping, dude! *jumps up and down ready to fight a bitch*

The matches wouldn’t have been half as fun if there weren’t such fantastic characters to root for. We’re treated to three amazing point-of-views in this novel; these are 3 determined and confident girls who are attending tennis academy. Each one is dealing with her own difficulties towards the game, some towards other students as well–we get a hint of mean girl-ness caused by jealousy– we also get romance entanglements, and most importantly, we get great and authentic friendships that bloom between the girls. Penny, Indie, and Jasmine, are all as incredibly likeable as they are genuine. They are the heart of this book. I enjoyed all three perspectives just as much as the other, and even now I have a hard time deciding who I would pick as a favorite–though I’ve been leaning towards Indy a little. Their voices never had me confused as to which POV I was reading, they’re distinct with very different personalities. They’re also at different stages in their lives and tennis careers so that we get to experience different degrees of accomplishments as well as the excitement that comes with them.

New Adult = same old same old? Not in this one. This is a story about 3 girls who are dead set on making it big; they are on the path to a very challenging and rewarding career, they’re building new friendships, they’re experiencing post high-school romance; they are new to adulthood. (Not a one with a dark past! I know, right?) To me this felt like the true meaning of New Adult, sex or no sex. That’s right–no sex. These girls are in college, over 17 and independent, and there is definite talk of sex, as well as other mature content like drinking and swearing, yet it doesn’t actually have any sexual content. We know they have sex, but we aren’t privy of these experiences. From the New Adult I’ve read so far this does make it stand out in its genre, but I was completely fine with this. To be honest, it wasn’t needed. NA is not just “YA with sex” like some think. And while there is romance, it’s made part of the book, it doesn’t overrule it (the cover might be misleading). I found it to be a perfectly balanced feel-good book, a little reminiscent of Miranda Kenneally’s Catching Jordan.

Filled with vivacity, Game Set Match surprised me in the best of ways and turned out to be an absolute favorite. I was filled with pure contentment whenever I sat down to read (which was really only twice since I devoured it in mere hours). It’s exactly what I needed at the time. My initial disappointment at the end feeling abrupt was quickly extinguished when I found out it’s a planned series–previously thinking this was a stand-alone. There is no cliffhanger, but its made obvious there should be more to the story. My only hope is that we don’t have to wait too long!


5 Hot Espressos

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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34 Responses to “Review: Game. Set. Match. by Jennifer Iacopelli”

  1. Mary @ BookSwarm

    YAY for a “new direction” in NA — not just sexed-up YA (as 99% of the NA out there seems to be). And I love sports stories. Not that I’m very athletic. Football’s the only sport I like and watch (DA BEARS!) but reading about it is another story. I’m in with this one!

  2. Nick

    5 hot espressos! I need to get a copy of this book soon because it sounds pretty fantastic. I like the whole tennis aspect especially and I’m looking forward to reading it. Tennis is probably one of the only sports that I enjoy watching (oh and soccer!).
    I love the sound of these characters and I’m definitely looking forward to reading it.
    Fab review as usual, Giselle!

    • Amy

      Haha!! After I published my comment yours ended up before mine (there was only one when I started my comment) and we said such similar things. Great minds think alike!! 😉

  3. Amy

    OMG 5 espressos!!! I really wanted to be on this tour, but I didn’t have time to read it. I will definitely be getting it sometime though. It sounds awesome!! I actually do like tennis too, so I think that will make this even more awesome for me. Fabulous review chick!

  4. Christina

    Everyone seems to have gotten this for review but me. And now you’re all making me want to read it and I can’t. Rude. *huffs*

  5. Kathy Ann Coleman

    I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while and it looks like I’ll need to hurry up and download it onto my Kindle because you aren’t the first person who has told me I need to read it–only the latest. Very excited to check it out with all the praise it seems to be receiving. Great review. 🙂

  6. Christianna Marks

    Dang! I’ve heard about this one and I didn’t know if I wanted to read it. I’m just not a sports person. But I think that this one sounds so awesome and I like the idea of a NA without sex in it! I think you have me sold on giving this one a shot! Great review!

  7. Amy Acosta

    Well, you’ve just sold this to me with the NA argument. I am more than sick of all the sexed up/dark and violent past NA I’ve been reading lately. So, yes. I’m definitely getting Game.Set.Match.

  8. Kelly

    Thanks for sharing about not letting tennis bore you. I can’t get into sports because I am not into it. But after your review, I might just pick it up.

  9. Alexa Y.

    I do like sports in books too! While I haven’t always had the best experience with them (like Hooked), I do enjoy reading about characters involved in sports since I’m not at all athletic. I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed this!

  10. Megan K.

    Okay, admittedly, I wasn’t too interested in this book because of the sport aspect (not a huge fan of books with sports [looking right at you, Hooked]), but your review has me SO INTRIGUED. I’m so glad the characters were amazing. As you probably know, because I’ve been complaining about it, characters in NA books are sometimes so dumb that I just want to chuck the book somewhere and never look at it again. I’m not big on tennis either, so the fact that you never felt confused or bored has me excited. Hope I get the chance to check this out. Wonderful review as always, Giselle. 🙂

  11. Molli Moran

    *FLAIL* Well, if I wasn’t already flouncing excited to read this one, you would have convinced me, SO. Now I know I simply MUST read it soon! REALLY soon. I love that you said it had your blood pumping, and can I just say, I LOVE that you champion New Adult? Yeah, I do, I heart you for that. I want it to become awesome too, and known as so much more than “sexy YA.” I’m glad you felt like this one didn’t perpetuate that stereotype!

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

  12. Trish Hannon

    Wasn’t sure if I would like this or not as I thought it sounded cheesy. I’m a lot more convinced that it’s worth reading and has something different to offer after reading your review. Plus I love reading about tennis 🙂

    BookishTrish @ Between the Lines

  13. Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

    I’m so relieved to see a change in the usual New Adult pattern! The whole genre is being described as YA-with-sex which bothers me to no end as that is not what it’s supposed to be about at all.
    Three POVs must have been hard to handle, but I’m glad it turned out well and that all three girls had such distinctive, genuine voices.
    And I actually like tennis so that’s a definite plus.
    Fantastic review!

  14. Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed

    Darn! I passed on the blog tour for this one when I was sick of NA and I vowed to never do another blog tour again. That lasted a week, ha!
    This book sounds great; I just need to take a little bit off my TBR before buying more books.
    Glad you liked it!

  15. Dea S.

    I LOVE tennis and romance so Game.Set.Match couldn’t sound any better! It’s good to know that the story isn’t a typical NA plot. I am becoming sick of formulaic NA that I am very close to giving up on that genre. Anyway, wonderful review Giselle!!

  16. Sirtsu

    Eeeek!!!!! *runs around the room* I LUV the sound of this and I’m a big fan of tennis so whohooo!! I like that it stood out so much and wasn’t another same old, same old, but something fresh and exciting. I have my blood pumping watching a tennis game, I haven’t played in any tournaments, just for my own fun, so it’d be fun to experience it like you did – ‘being the player in a big match’. I cannot wait to get my needy hands on this:-)

  17. Candace

    I loved tennis when I was a tween. I never played on a team or anything but I would go out a knock balls around by myself (we lived on a farm and that’s how I escaped from everyone for a bit) I think this book might have me wanting to play again. I’m glad you loved this one! I have resisted it thus far, but I may cave soon!

  18. Ashley @ The Bibliophile's Corner

    I really like the new direction of New Adult in this book. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some contemporary romances, but I love that these girls have goals outside of taming the bad boy.

    Great, great review. I have to admit, I was not going to get it because of the tennis. But after reading your review, I will definitely get it.

  19. Jessirae

    HOLY SHIZBALLS, what an amazing review, Giselle! I admit, I get so bored watching sports too. *yawns* But this one sounds super cool with all the tennis matches! I’m excited to “experience” them while reading. I love NA and most I’ve read have sex and blahblah whatever whatever and yes, at times it gets real old, so I’m thrilled that this one is different and stands out on its own without the YA with sex crap people assume NA is. I actually didn’t think much of this book because of the cover and the sports aspect of it all, but HEY GIRL YOU HAVE GOT ME CONVINCED. I’m soooo adding this to my TBR in three, two, one… NOW

  20. Jesse Burgoyne

    I’ve been wanting to read this one! I’m glad you loved it while having no knowledge of tennis at all. Because I have no clue what about tennis but I think this book looks adorable and fun anyway.

  21. Kristin

    I am definitely adding this one to my TBR list, I have not gotten too much into the New Adult craze but, I have been slowly pickin g my way through a few of them and I have been enjoying the ones that I have read so far. I am definitely like you not really into sports but, books and movies about them are really interesting. I am excited to read New Adult thats not all about a more mature romance. Thanks for your thoughts!

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven

  22. Lauren Elizabeth

    Ooh, 5 espressos? I’ve been really curious about this one, and on the fence about reading it, but it seems I need to hop off the fence and just buy it! I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed all the girls’ stories, and that you were captivated by the tennis matches, despite not being a huge tennis fan. And I’m VERY happy to hear this breaks the NA mold somewhat (I don’t always need my NA books to be sexed up!)

    I’m definitely going to check this one out now—wonderful review! 🙂

  23. Alyssa

    Glad that you love the book! I’ve been waiting to read this book for months and now it’s already out! Yaay! 😀 Hope I’ll love this book as much as you love it. 🙂

  24. Camron

    Fabulous review, I like the whole tennis sport element especially and I am eager for studying it. Tennis sport is probably one of the only activities that I appreciate to watching.