Review: Ex Games by Jennifer Echols.
Blurb from Jennifer Echols’ official website:
Hayden and Nick used to be a hot item, but their brief affair ended with a highly publicized break-up. Now the two are “just friends,” excluding the occasional flirtation.
When Hayden wins the girls’ division of a local snowboarding competition, Nick is unimpressed, claiming that Hayden wouldn’t have a chance against a guy. Hayden calls Nick’s bluff and challenges him to a head-to-head boarding contest. Their mutual friends quickly take sides, the girls on Hayden’s and the boys on Nick’s, making for an all-out battle of the sexes. This friendly competition is bound to get heated–and if they’re not careful, they might end up igniting some old flames
I think Jennifer Echols is fast becoming my favourite YA contemporary romance author, and Ex Games brings my total of books I have read by Echols up to two. *grins* My introduction was Going Too Far which I adored. So for YA month, I went looking for her backlist and found Ex Games. I haz a sad though, as only one of her other titles is available in ebook form. So I hope her publisher will add more titles soon!
I found Ex Games to be a very enjoyable, and good natured read that manages to convey the right tone of humour. I found myself chuckling along, and remembering things from my school years – especially the popping of the bra. *grins*The main focus of Ex Games is Hayden’s relationship with Nick and whether or not he likes her, does he want a relationship with her, and is he serious about her. Hayden also has to deal with her extreme fear of heights, which could stop her from competing at a pro level as a snowboarder.
Hayden’s and Nick’s budding relationship is fraught with misunderstandings and arguments, with both being too alike and short tempered. And a lot of tension between them has built up over the years – since they were 13 years old – which I thought was kinda cute. 😀 There’s also a lot of humour between them, and there is the old saying that if the boy treats you mean, it’s coz’ he fancies the pants off of you. In Nick’s case, it’s true.
I thought overall, it was a great YA romance that was heart warming. It managed to pack in a lot of typical teenager behaviour, and Hayden’s and Nick’s banter kept me entertained throughout the whole of the book. They were like two peas in a pod. Nick does come across as self-confident and cocky, but Hayden doesn’t realise that a lot of his behaviour is an act, and there’s a pivotal scene where Hayden learns about Nick’s problems at home, and she realises that there is unhidden depths to Nick. The budding romance between Hayden and Nick was very sweet, and it managed to pack a subtle heat that I thought had the right amount of tension. But Hayden’s future pro career with snowboarding was given an equal amount of attention, which I thought was great, because sometimes in YA books, it’s all about getting the boy, and not much is said about the heroine’s future career. Luckily Ex Games deals with all of this and Hayden’s self-doubts. There is a close knit family that supports Hayden, especially her younger brother Josh. It was great seeing her brother’s support for her, and the humorous insults they traded with one another was typical sibling behaviour.
I don’t think Ex Games packs the same emotional punch as Going Too Far, but it’s still a very fun read to be had. I can’t wait to read the rest of Jennifer Echols’ backlist and future books.
I give The Ex Games 4.5 out of 5 stars.