Thursday, June 6, 2013

Review: The Academy: Game On by Monica Seles & James LaRosa

The Academy: Game On

Tennis star Monica Seles brings us a HOT new series set at a true-to-life sports academy for gorgeous, gifted teens – and the rich and powerful.

The Academy is the hottest international sports school for teen athletes. There are only two ways in: money – and lots of it – or enough talent to earn a scholarship.

Young tennis star Maya’s dreams have finally come true! She’s got the scholarship. She’s got the drive. She’s on her way from small town to pro career . . . But when Maya starts boarding at the sports training school, her fantasy of the Academy doesn’t quite match the reality – because where there are beautiful, talented teens, there’s plenty of drama.

Meet the players:
Nicole: a tennis star who feels threatened by Maya (although she’d never admit it).
Cleo: Maya’s rebel / punk room-mate who’s reaching the top of the golf world.
Renee: a super-rich, super-gorgeous swimmer.
Travis: the son of the Academy’s owner and perfectly groomed to be the next big star
of the National Football League.
Jake: Travis’s younger brother – and the bad boy of the school.

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: June 6, 2013

Kat's Review

I love books featuring sports, and I adore tennis, so I jumped at the chance to review this book.  I'm always a bit wary when athletes or other celebrities write books because sometimes it's the name and not the talent that gets them published, but I figured Monica Seles is certainly qualified to write a book about tennis.  I have to make it clear, this is more a coming of age novel about a girl learning to make her way in a world she knows nothing about than it is about tennis.  There's very little actual tennis at all, although I imagine that will change in upcoming books. 

That doesn't mean the book is not enjoyable, just that if you're looking for the story to be heavy on tennis training and tournament action, it's not.  Maya is a working class girl from New York who has won a scholarship to an elite athletic Academy, where most students pay an enormous amount of money to attend.  It's not just a tennis academy, but a school for various sports, putting Maya into contact with football players, soccer players, swimmers, etc.  I don't know if any academies like this actually exist in the world, but who cares.  It's fiction.  I've read about stranger things. 

Maya finds herself rooming with another scholarship student, and quickly realizes that the rules are different for them than for the paying students.  Maya suddenly finds herself swept up into the world of privilege, and struggles to remember who she is amongst the newfound fame and attention she starts receiving.  Her willingness to trust make her an easy target for those wanting to pull her down, and Maya must decide who she can trust and how she's going to handle life in the Academy.

This book is a quick read, and while there's not a ton of character development it has all the fun and adventure a rags-to-riches type story should have.  Mean girls? Bad Boys? Teen Drama?  Embarrassing Mistakes?  Heartbreak?  Check, check, check, check, and check.  I see this book appealing to teens who want a lighthearted read and a fast paced story.  This book isn't going to teach you much about tennis, but it sets the stage for future books and ends with enough of a cliffhanger to keep readers coming back for more.

Rating: Worth a Look

This is an excellent book for a teen or for someone who enjoys the gossipy side of sports more than the actual sport itself.  It's easy to read, full of teen drama, and lots of fun.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from NetGalley and the publisher in return for an honest review.

Purchase:  AMAZON


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