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Thursday, 11 August 2016

Review: A Game Worth Watching by Samantha Gudger


Book: A Game Worth Watching, Samantha Gudger
Series: N/A
Publisher: ebook
Release Date: January 16th, 2013

All her life, people have told 17-year-old tomboy Emma Wrangton that she’s not good enough, smart enough, or strong enough to succeed in life. Somewhere along the way, she started to believe them.

Without the promise of a respectable future after graduation, all Emma wants is to cherish her senior year by playing basketball with the guys and spending as much time as possible with her best friend before he heads off to some fancy university, leaving her behind. But when the high school basketball coach recruits her to join the team—the girls’ team—Emma discovers life is anything but a slam dunk. How is she supposed to know how to be one of the girls when all she’s ever been is one of the guys?

I never planned on reading this book. I simply went into Goodreads one day, and saw it was recommended to me because I’d read Chasing Jordan by Miranda Kenneally. I’d never heard of it before, and only three of my Goodreads friends had it on their bookshelves, and only as to-be-read. So I had no idea what I was getting into when I started reading this. But it wasn’t what I got – it was so much better.

It tells the story of Emma. Her entire life is basketball. She lives for Saturday morning practices with her guy friends where she can forget about everything troubling her – her family’s poor wealth, her mother’s abandonment, her brothers’ mistreatment of her and her father always ignoring her. All she knows is basketball. And she’s good at it. Very good. So good, her best friend Riley knows there’s a possibility of her getting a scholarship and finally escaping her troubled life. And the chance of that happening becomes very real when the coach of the girls’ (losing) basketball team finds Emma and pretty much begs her to join the team. At first Emma refuses, only wanting to play with the guys. She doesn’t speak girl; there’s no way she could play on a team with them.

What the readers don’t realise is that it’s more than that. Because of Emma’s troubled home life, she has very little belief in herself or her self-worth. She had always been told by her brothers that she wasn’t good enough, and her father never gave her any attention, which just reaffirmed Emma that she was worthless. Only one person has ever believed in Emma since the beginning, and whose belief has never wavered in all the years they were best friends: Riley. Riley has seen Emma at her worst and at her best, he knows her better than anybody in the world. And it’s his unwavering belief in her that finally gets Emma to agree to play on the girls’ basketball team.

The rest of the story tells Emma’s journey of finding that self-worth that always seems out of reach, and it was so lovely to read. I’ll admit, at times I wanted to shake Emma, and then hug her at the exact same time. We meet the other girls on Emma’s team and see her attempt to interact with them, despite never having any girlfriends and only living with boys. She doesn’t have the first clue how to be feminine! Every time someone tried to approach her and become friends, Emma would basically act like a rabid dog and growl until they disappeared. I hated that she never made any effort, and yet I understood why she didn’t.

I also loved her relationship with her best friend, Riley. He’s been with her through thick and thin, and it’s obvious how much he adores her. While Emma sometimes doubts their friendship, we can see there’s no one else she trusts more in the whole world.

“Forget about what everyone else has told you. The truth is that you are strong enough and smart enough to do this or anything else. We’ve been friends a long time, and I've seen you do amazing things by just being you.”

While I would’ve loved an epilogue or a six months later at the end of this book, it was still a great read and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys contemporary or even sports-based books. It won’t let you down.


  1. This sounds like such a touching story. Emma's backstory alone is heartbreaking, and I can't imagine what she goes through in the book! I'm not much of a contemporary reader, but this book definitely sounds like one I'd like to pick up one of these days :)

    1. It's not as amazing as Simon and the Homo Sapiens Agenda, but still really good! It's short enough too, less than 300 pages so it'd be fast enough to read :)


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