I only have love for one trashy series at a time, and “Game On” secured Monica Seles’s The Academy series as my chosen. “Love Match” cements its position with more drama, and occasional sport.
Yes, sport. There are plenty of physical female characters in YA fiction, but usually they’re defensive or violent, so it’s great to see sport have a starring role. Tennis player Maya Hart’s point of view guides the entire novel, even though her own storyline is so-so. Her on-court career is going great, but her off-court life is less successful – mostly due to her dual attraction for gridiron-playing brothers, and the occasional upstaging in the media by her rival.
Chinese golfer Cleo has won a junior invitational tournament yet keeps being criticised by a particular blogger. First for her outfits, then for her “partying”, and lastly for being “Americanized”. This storyline is awkward because the characters seem to equate criticism with “trolling”/”bullying”. It turns out the blogger’s motives are good, but the execution is not. Cleo’s sub-plot wraps up neatly with a happy ending.
South African/French swimmer Renee Ledecq is a little heart-breaking here. The daughter of wealthy parents, she’s extremely generous to others…but doesn’t treat herself half as well. However, her latest relationship could teach her to love herself more, and hopefully this will be expanded upon in a future novel.
This addictive series has hooked me fully, and further books set in the Academy ‘verse would be most welcome. Yes it’s trash, but it’s MY kind of trash.