Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Press Play by Eric Devine

I had the honor of being contacted by the author's publicist to review this book after receiving an advanced reader copy.  I mean obviously I have done so via NetGalley before, but never had I received a physical book in the mail for that purpose.  I wondered at a point if this was a scam so I investigated and responded to the email and it was totally legitimate and I became super excited.
 Press PlayWhen I opened the envelope, I saw the book and my teenage son said "Huh. Cool cover."  That to me said more than a lot as he usually says nothing about them.  So when I was able to I started to read Press Play I found myself eager to finish it to figure out the whole story.  Yep, it gripped me from the beginning.

A Note from the Author:

  One of the hazers in your story says that the “difference between men and boys is what we’re willing to suffer.” And Greg does have to suffer to get the footage he needs to expose the team. Do you agree with that definition of what it means to be a man?
I don’t agree with the definition now, but I certainly would have as a teen. Being a “man” is such a nuanced concept based on culture and upbringing that I can’t offer a broad and general definition. However, I do think a part of crossing into adulthood is a willingness to suffer for others. As a friend, a spouse, a parent, we must do things that we’d rather not. Those sacrifices come in many forms: financial, emotional, physical, mental. But what do teens see as sacrifice? What is ingrained in them through sport as meaningful suffering? Pain. Or, more specifically, one’s ability to endure such. Therefore, it only makes sense that Greg must suffer in many ways for his goal. That’s reality. And based on who he’s up against, it makes sense that the suffering will come in many forms. The lacrosse team has endured more than their fair share to reach their pinnacle, and they are not going to sit by idly when that is threatened. But only Greg can be considered a man, because his suffering serves a greater good. That makes all the difference.

My review:

This book touched on very touchy real situations and issues in schools today.  I enjoyed the interactions between the characters and those characters themselves.  They were honest and real and I could see either myself or my friends from years ago in them to certain extents.  I truly appreciated how some things never change that way.
The bullying and hazing issues and the kids that have to deal with it are portrayed well in my opinion.  All of the issues are right up in front the whole time so you can never escape from them.  (Kind of like real life!)I appreciated the struggle that they have to go through deciding whether to report what they have seen or to stay silent on the proverbial sidelines.  Who doesn't remember the thought that adults would never believe a kid?
I have already recommended this book to some and will continue to do so.  I feel it was well written and realistic.

Overall, I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars.  It was a really great book that definitely deserves some attention!

A note of thanks goes to the author for contacting me and giving me the blurb for my blog as well as his publicist who sent me the book.  I appreciated this immensely.

About the author:
Eric  Devine
Author of fearless fiction: Press Play (10/14),Tap Out, Dare Me, and This Side of Normal. High school English teacher, husband, and father of two girls.

I am represented by Kate McKean of the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency.

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