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Playing Nice

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  428 Ratings  ·  94 Reviews
Martina "Marty" Hart is really nice. At least, that's what people think.

It's Marty's junior year at Minster High. Minster's a small town where making great grades, smiling pretty, helping old people, running the new-student Welcoming Committee, and putting up decorations for all the dances--including the totally awful Hot Shot fall hunting celebration--gets you ... what?
Published January 2013 by In This Together Media
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C. Vescio
Aug 06, 2013 C. Vescio rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Can I just say that I’m tired of all the special people in YA? Super special girl meets totally super special guy and they fall super special in love. There’s a lot of that- and while the stories are well written and a hot commodity- I’m on the edge of being sick of them. Don’t get me wrong- I’d love to hunt demons in a parallel dimension or kick it with werewolves but sometimes my geek needs a break. Supernatural, superhero, super fucking next please.

Let’s kick it old school… and that’s what Pl
Kristen Jett
Jan 05, 2013 Kristen Jett rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Full review coming later, but I loved this book.

Full Review 2/26
I'm always really nervous to read novels by authors who I've spoken to on Twitter. I'm all "What if I don't like it? HOW WILL I TALK TO THEM AGAIN?" - thankfully I haven't had this problem.

Playing Nice is so much more than just a story of good girl meets bad girl. I was so eager to see what happened to both Marty (good girl) and Lil (bad girl)...and I might have cried nearly a dozen times. Can we say over relate to the characters
Andrea at Reading Lark
Review Posted on Reading Lark 6/4/13:

Playing Nice is a novel that all high school girls should read. It's an intriguing look at bullying and how appearances can be deceiving. There also is a far amount of friend on friend warfare happening in these pages. Sadly, I can remember times when my friends and I were not always nice to one another. What is it about being a teenage girl that brings out our inner witches from time to time?

This novel wasn't anything
Jun 26, 2013 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bittersweet
I was sent a copy of this book and asked to write a review when I finished reading. So, as I read, I tried to take in everything I was reading in order to fully capture my feelings over Playing Nice and translate them into a review.

When the book begins, we're introduced to absolutely the most vanilla character we could ever meet in a book. Marty Hart is as squeaky clean as her shiny white smile suggests, from the thoughts in her mind to the pleats in her dresses. She is known as being the nicest
Oct 22, 2012 emily rated it it was amazing
Martina "Marty" Hart is really nice. At least, that's what people think.

It's Marty's junior year at Minster High. Minster's a small town where making great grades, smiling pretty, helping old people, running the new-student Welcoming Committee, and putting up decorations for all the dances--including the totally awful Hot Shot fall hunting celebration--gets you ... what? Marty's not sure. Instead of dreaming about a sororities-and-frats future at nearby University of Michigan, she's res
Dec 10, 2013 bethany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I began reading this book, there were moments that actually made me sad for the rest of the book. Some things (especially in regards to Marty's characteristics) were so cliché and stereotypical that I thought I wouldn't finish the book. I mean, there are innocent girls, but I highly doubt any high school girl is thinking what Marty's thinking in the early chapters. I bought this book on a whim because it was on sale in the kindle store and I was kind of in the mindset of "eh whatever I didn't ...more
James Shapiro
Mar 07, 2013 James Shapiro rated it it was amazing
Rebekah Crane has crafted a thoroughly charming coming of age tale. She excels at providing the small town details that root you in place and time, but never distract from the story. And while young women growing up in high school is certainly a tale that’s been told before, Crane keeps it new with characters you’re drawn to for their realness and humanity. You feel that you went to school with these kids, but didn’t quite know them as well as Crane did. The journey Crane takes you on is at time ...more
Emily Lloyd
Jun 08, 2013 Emily Lloyd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Though on the surface it seems like a typical high-school girl about a girl struggling over peer pressure and tough parents, Playing Nice is really so much more. Marty, and especially Lil, are much more complex characters than they seem on the surface and Crane somehow convinces the reader that the "good girl turns bad" tradition is not as black and white as it seems. This book does a great job of including ALL the complexities girls face in high school on every level rather than just scraping t ...more
Feb 18, 2013 Lauren rated it really liked it
Great book for teens, young adults (and honestly I loved it too). The teen angst rang absolutely true, while not playing to stereotypes too much. The characters were authentic and complex - not something you find in YA all the time. I will hold on to this one until my own child is in high school. And it will be something I share with the kids of friends.
Alexandra Ray
Mar 16, 2013 Alexandra Ray rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
review to come. too emotional right now to write one :P That should say something.
Jan 05, 2013 Stacey rated it it was amazing
Read this review on my blog:

My initial reaction:
Just… wow. I haven’t read something that dredged up the kind of memories and emotions (both good and bad) that this did, in a LONG time. Here I am, almost a decade removed from high school, and reading this book put me right back there in an instant. I found myself relating to Marty as my seventeen year-old self. I was really similar to Marty when I was that age. I was a “good girl.” I didn’t do anything bad, I got goo
Shambhawi P.
Feb 28, 2013 Shambhawi P. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Shambhawi by: Saira Rao
Here's an age old adage when it comes to writing:

Show, don't tell. Show, don't tell.
Even though I'm the nicest person in Minster, I don't have a gaggle of friends. I've found that most people like to be associated with me and the things I do, but very few actually want to get to know me. That's okay.


I would have liked to 'see' the way Marty was 'nice' and Lil was not so much - but in a first person narration it just felt that Marty was being a braggart about her and a judgme
Marty Hart is the nicest girl in Minster - but she’s starting to wonder if that’s all she really wants to be. When brash and brutally honest Lil moves to Minster, Marty is instantly drawn to her, and begins to step outside her comfort zone. Its a concept we’ve seen before in contemporary YA, but what really drew me to Playing Nice was the focus on female friendship rather than romance. All too often in YA, a cute guy is the catalyst for the protagonist to make changes in her life - and that’s fi ...more
The Twins Read
This review can originally be found at The Twins Read .

Playing Nice came as a surprise to us, initially we thought that it would be a bore-fest or maybe a book filled with angsty, angry teens. Turns out we were wrong.

The leading characters in Playing Nice were surprisingly real, Marty is a nice girl confined in the box her parents and everyone else has stuffed her in and it stifles her to no end. She struggles to meet her parents' expectations along with her friends' and schoolmates' but in the
Aditi Nichani
Mar 27, 2014 Aditi Nichani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

An entire spread in the yearbook is awarded to the nicest girl. Well, if you went to same high school, you would know who it was. There was never a question. From the toddlers to the bridge club ladies, you would get just one answer: Marty Hart.

She knows it, her family knows it, her mates know it. She just is, and always has been, the nicest girl in the whole, albeit rather small town. Her University of Michigan application has been on her desk e
Jan 05, 2013 Dahlia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's not the most unique concept - one part Jenny O'Connell's THE BOOK OF LUKE to three parts Kirsten Hubbard's LIKE MANDARIN - but the actual voice of Rebekah Crane's PLAYING NICE is so consistently unexpected that the book manages to feel fresh and new with every chapter. Marty is one of the more believable teen characters I've come across in a while: eager to please, silently resentful, and sexually curious. (Sound like anyone else you knew at sixteen, like maybe... yourself? No? Just me?) Wh ...more
Nov 08, 2012 Allison rated it it was amazing
You really do fall in love with ALL the characters, but Marty was definitely my favorite. Being a mom I read through this with the hopes that my own daughter goes through the journey (yes, all of it) that Marty does and comes out on top and proud of who she is as a person. The same way Marty does.

It is a book on self discovery through the challenging years of high school. Navigating your way through the people who surround you and pick the best parts of all of them and mold yourself into who yo
Mar 19, 2013 Tawney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let me just say that this book made me laugh. It was full of emotion that only high school could bring! The title is exactly what the book is about, Playing Nice. Marty is our main character living in a small town of Minster. She is voted the nicest girl in school and is head of the Welcoming Committee. I have to say I can relate to Marty, because I couldn't say no to friends or family in high school.I wanted to be a nice person but I also was tired of doing what everyone wanted.
Then along come
Feb 06, 2013 Trisha rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
This book is a good example of pretty much every teenage cliche you can think of. Bad girl and good girl meet and good girl begins to question everything she's ever believed in about her life. Bad girl smokes cigarettes, has had sex, and like records. Good girl is known as being the nicest person around. She's always willing to lend a helping hand and in training to be the best step-ford wife there ever was.

How many times do we have to hear about Marty's vagina and tight thighs? Okay. Great. Sh
Nov 02, 2012 Jillcocking rated it it was amazing
I loved this book.

I love books that are about real people with real problems in real places. This book took me right to Westminster High and kept me there; even when I wasn't reading the book.

First, there's Marty. She's kind, she does what "good girls should", her transcript and activities show she's doing the right things, so she can attend the right college, and get the right job, and live the right life. And then, she meets Lil.
Lil Hatfield is the kind of best friend every high schooler ne
Mar 20, 2013 Riki rated it it was amazing
Marty is The Nicest Person in Minster High School and she is completely lost. Caught up in always trying to be the perfect version of herself that her parents and schoolmates expect her to be, she has grown up wearing her niceness like a badge. Marty's entire world gets turned upside down when the mysterious Lil Hatfield comes to town. From their first rocky conversation Lil changes the way Marty looks at life and the people around her. its a rough road, but Marty eventually begins to come into ...more
Sarah Bahn
Jan 19, 2013 Sarah Bahn rated it it was amazing
WOW! If a book doesn’t have trolls, wizards, dragons, fairies, unicorns, or someone who can fly, I don’t usually bother reading it (non-fiction excluded). BUT, somehow Rebekah Crane won me over with this powerful young-adult novel about themes I normally hate reading about: high school hormones, mean girls, crushes… How did Crane do it? I don’t know, but I loved it – Marty and Lil became my best friends – I laughed with them, cried with them, wanted to scream with them (but didn’t – my three-yea ...more
Feb 17, 2013 Corinne rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyed this book as it transported me back the those awful days of High School and the relationships that we thought were everything.

So much of this story is so right on. Crane speaks High School perfectly. The conflicts were believable and the characters were real for me because although I was hardly a Marty (I wasn't anything close to popular), I did have a shallow Sarah. I knew some girls like Lil, and I also pined for boy like Matt. A nicely paced book with loads of voice.

Was bu
Jen Foster
Nov 13, 2012 Jen Foster rated it it was amazing
Playing Nice is a hilarious and raw portrayal of friendship and self-discovery. Teens (and anyone who once was one!) will quickly find themselves identifying with Marty and Lil's struggles and triumphs. So many YA contemporaries talk down to their audience, but Rebekah Crane tells Marty and Lil's story in very honest, straight-forward prose. Fans of John Green novels will certainly fall in love with Marty and Lil. Music lovers will appreciate the songs woven into the book's storyline; I found my ...more
Katie Acosta
Jan 23, 2014 Katie Acosta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mid-school-ya
I really enjoyed Playing Nice. It wasn't a deep or life changing book but it was a great story with a good message and was very relatable. I felt a connection to both Marty and Lil and could tell you who my Lil is and how much meeting her changed my life. The story also reminded me how much extra bs teens have to deal with now that were not issues when I was in high school. The internet and facebook give a whole other level of horrible and bullying that I worry about for my kids. I would recomme ...more
Mar 03, 2013 Nastassia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, on-kindle
I really liked this book. I wasn't sure if I was going to continue reading it when I realized it was YA book, because I'm not such a fan of YA, but I’m glad I continued reading. I love the characters in this book; I really like the poems in the book as well. At first I thought Marty was weird but as I as read more and as she developed more as a character, some little thinks about her made me think of myself. I like the message in this book; I would like read more books from this author. The bad ...more
Cathy Smith
Mar 23, 2013 Cathy Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads. I enjoyed this book greatly! I can see what Marty was going through, and sympathize. Everyone needs to find their own "voice" and it is great that Marty found hers before she was stuck in a rut. I really liked Lil too, but I wish there had been more with her; she is still a mysterious person, with just a few glimpses coming through at the end. It will be a wonderful read for any and all who want to figure out how to discover their true ...more
Mar 07, 2013 Carey rated it it was amazing
FULL DISCLOSURE-- we published this book! I will never forget the day a year ago when I opened the attachment in my email as I got on to the Path train and read the first four pages of "Playing Nice". Bekah's fresh voice slapped me awake and I couldn't contain my excitement as I RAN off to the train to call Saira. Who has just had the same experience. We called Bekah ten minutes later. Within an hour we had signed a deal with her to publish "Playing Nice". It was pure kismet. And Bekah just keep ...more
Jan 30, 2013 Lisa rated it really liked it
This book was cute and not as predictable as I thought it would be. Marty is a 17 year old girl that tries to live up to her parents expectations by being nice, polite and pretty much perfect. Then she meets Lil. Lil dressing in black wears a lot of black eye liner and has no probably swearing in front of adults. Marty struggles with whether she wants to be what everyone else wants her to be or who she wants to be. This was not a book that gets you hot and bothered but I think it was written wel ...more
May 07, 2013 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought it was a nice story. Tons of teenage angst. Lol. It follows a young girl through her transformation during her junior year in high school. Always known as "the nicest girl at Minster High", Marty begins questioning who she really is.
I think it could have been a bit shorter. It seemed a bit of repetitive in the beginning, making it a little hard to stay into at times. But as I said, good story.
3.5 out of 4 stars
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Rebekah Crane is the author of three young-adult novels—Playing Nice, Aspen, and The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland. She found a passion for young-adult literature while studying secondary English education at Ohio University. After having two kids and living and teaching in six different cities, Rebekah finally settled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains to write novels and work on screenpla ...more
More about Rebekah Crane...

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