Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book
Rate this book
As king of baseball in the small town of Lewis Creek, Eric Perry can have any girl he wants and win every game he plays. But when a fight lands him in jail, he’s only got one more strike before his baseball career is over for good. His only chance for redemption? The girl next door, Bri Johnson.

Bri hasn’t talked to Eric in months—for starters, she’s been too busy dealing with her jerk of an ex-boyfriend, not to mention the fact that Eric’s been preoccupied trying to drink every keg in the country dry. But when he needs a way to stay on the team, she proposes a plan: if he helps her out with community service, he can stay on the team. At first it’s a nightmare—Eric and Bri stopped being friends years ago, surely that was for a good reason, right? But as volunteering turns to bonding over old memories of first kisses under the stars, they start to have trouble remembering what pushed them apart.

In a town as small as Lewis Creek, nothing stays secret for long and their friendship and romance might mean bad news. But in this final, tumultuous spring before graduation, Eric and Bri are about to realize that nobody’s perfect alone, but they might just be perfect together.

328 pages

First published August 16, 2016

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Michelle Smith

3 books112 followers
Michelle Smith was born and raised in North Carolina, where she developed a healthy appreciation for college football, sweet tea, front porches, and a well-placed “y’all.” She’s a lover of all things happy, laughs way too much, and fully believes that a little bit of kindness goes a long way.

Michelle lives near the Carolina coast with her family.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
80 (21%)
4 stars
166 (45%)
3 stars
97 (26%)
2 stars
20 (5%)
1 star
5 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 67 reviews
Profile Image for Mara.
159 reviews222 followers
November 24, 2017
Eric Perry is a gem and I want to see male characters like him in every single YA/NA romance ever, thank you. This was such a sweet little romance. My heart is pretty full right now.
Profile Image for Danielle (Love at First Page).
726 reviews621 followers
April 1, 2017
Game On is a next-door-neighbor romance done almost perfectly! After a shaky start - I wish a couple of Eric's interactions with other girls had been left out - I ended up liking this so much. Michelle Smith is such a great writer. And a twitterpated Eric is about the most adorable thing ever. He grabbed my heart just like Braxton before him. There's so much more to enjoy here, too - baseball and the love for the game, family, background ships, learning to love yourself. I sincerely hope there's more Lewis Creek stories to come!
Profile Image for nick (the infinite limits of love).
2,119 reviews1,336 followers
September 28, 2016
How do you decide if Game On is a book you must try? Let me help you out!

Do you like sports romances?
Do you enjoy dual POVs?
Do you like reading character-driven books with strong focuses on family and small-town living?
Do you love shippy slow-burn friends-to-more romances?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you very much need to experience this gem of a book!

Game On is the sort of the book that once you’re done reading want to cuddle up with and think about all the warm and fuzzy feelings it gave you. I love YA contemporaries like this book, that aren’t just so romantic that they squeeze your heart, but also explore issues that real-life teens can face on a daily basis. It’s a favorite book of the year for me and I want everyone who loves a good YA to pick it up.

Game On is told in the dual POVs of two of the most precious characters to ever grace a YA book, Bri and Eric. The character development in this book was terrific. These two teens will seep into your heart and settle there. Even though I can’t say my experiences as a teenager were anything like theirs, I connected profoundly with them as characters because Michelle Smith writes them with so much of heart – you can tell that these are characters that are near and dear to her just from the way she penned them.

At the start of the book, Eric was a hot mess because of the pressure that his baseball-obsessed small town put on him because of his position on the high school baseball team. When a fight lands him in prison and with a threat of being throw off the team if he doesn’t clean himself up, he goes on a journey of redemption. I loved Eric’s voice so much. There was something so genuine about him. Even when he was going through his issues though, he always looked out for others and was always willing to be there for others. Plain and simple, he was a sweet boy and watching him learn to deal with the pressure, deciding what he wants out of his future, becoming an even better person and realizing just how great his life was amazing to watch. I cheered for him as he faced obstacle after obstacle, and learned to rise up from them.

Game On

On his path to redemption, he reconnects with his childhood friend and neighbor, Bri. Usually when a book has dual POVs, I find myself gravitating more towards one character over the other. Here, I loved Bri and Eric’s voices equally. Bri’s story broke my heart a little. She is in a relationship with an emotionally abusive and manipulative jerk and isn’t quite sure how to get out of it. Watching how her boyfriend, Matt’s, callous words would resonate with her was heartbreaking and I wanted nothing more than to push him off a steep cliff. When Bri finally did dump his sorry ass, I was really really proud of her! Even with all the problems she was facing, Bri was an amazing girl with a sweet, thoughtful and sensible personality. I especially loved the scenes of her at the community center where she volunteered with little kids. Bri too had to go on her journey in Game On, learning to understand just how special and how deserving of love she was.

When these two fractured kids found each other, it was so so sweet. Theirs was a romance that developed slowly and subtlety because they had to deal with their personal issues first – I loved that their individual growth came before the romance. But despite their slow romance, I shipped them with every fiber of my being. You just knew from the start that Bri and Eric were going to be a super adorable couple that you will envy. Seriously, it was one of the best romances I have read this year. I also loved all the focus on family that this book had. Eric’s family especially was incredible. His parents constant support of him and their willingness to get involved in his life and to help bring him on the right path made me so happy. I also want to briefly mention how great Eric’s baseball coach was with how he always encouraged Eric. What a class-act that man was!

I also loved how sporty this book was. I’ve come to realize that I’m the least sporty person ever, but I will devour any contemporary romance which has sports at the center. Here, there’s both baseball and soccer. I loved how Game On not only portrayed the glamorous side of sports, but also the tougher and more stressful side of it. It did the exact same thing when it comes to small-towns too. Often, small-towns are romanticized in books, but with this book you realize how they aren’t always cute and picturesque and that they can be quite toxic, especially when it comes to their views of how other people should behave and how people are constantly up in other people’s business.

Game On is a really special book, with a lot of heart and soul to it. I’ve only just read the book, but I’m already making plans to re-read. It was that great for me!
Profile Image for Michelle Smith.
Author 3 books112 followers
Shelved as 'i-wrote-this'
July 24, 2015
It's time to go back to Lewis Creek, you guys, and I kind of (really) love that place. This is a companion novel to PLAY ON, and this time, we see the fall of Eric Perry...along with the re-building. You'll also get to meet Bri, and this girl completely swiped my heart and ran away with it.

With family, friendship, romance, small-town scandal, and plenty of baseball, GAME ON is a book that's near and dear to my heart. I can't wait for you guys to read it!
Profile Image for Jaime Arkin.
1,419 reviews1,326 followers
August 10, 2016
I was very much anticipating this book after how much I enjoyed book one of the Lewis Creek series, Play On.

And I wasn’t disappointed.

Eric Perry is known around Lewis Creek as the fun guy… He can have any girl he wants and it seems get away with just about anything as the starting pitcher of the baseball team. But with a reputation as a troublemaker and a fight landing him in jail, his coach bails him out one last time with a warning… any more trouble and you’re off the team.

Bri Johnson has lived next to Eric for years and at one time they were best friends… they even shared their first kiss with each other. But Bri’s boyfriend’s jealousy has forced her to push him away and despite living next to each other, they’ve grown apart. But when Bri breaks up with her controlling ex, Eric is there to support her and Bri realizes how much she’s missed him being in her life.

First let me tell you the things that didn’t so much work for me… because there were just a few.
The biggest one… I wanted more! That sounds incredibly demanding, but honestly, if you’re going to start the book with our hero hooking up in a truck with some random girl then please be prepared to give me more of him and our heroine together too. I felt like I waited so long for them to just finally kiss that I was anticipating when it would happen more than focusing on the story itself! I get it… they needed to rebuild their friendship and trust and get rid of that douche ex-boyfriend, but ugh I so wanted more.

Which leads me to the douchey ex-boyfriend. Holy crap you guys. This guy was downright scary and a bit ridiculous. That none of his friends kind of pulled him aside and said “WTF are you doing”, is crazy. I just felt that some of his actions were a bit over the top and while could truly happen in real life, kind of took over much of the story… and I really was getting tired of him showing up as often as he did.

So I know I ragged a bit on the lack of kissing above, but that means that we get a lot of repairing of the friendship these two once had, which was really well done. Get prepared for some sweet and touching moments and reminiscing! I really liked Eric and Bri together and seeing them rebuild while doing community service really provided the perfect setting. Another plot point I liked… Bri’s pretty smart and knows what plans she has for her future, but Eric’s a bit lost in that regard. His focus right now is baseball, and he can’t see past that to figure out what he’s going to do after graduation. I kind of love how he finally figures it all out and Smith does a really good job of showing how stressful senior year can be for those who really aren’t sure where they’re going!

Can we also talk about Eric’s family? I absolutely love them and I really thought their part in this story was wonderfully done. I love that he had these incredible people behind him who were determined to help him succeed, even if it meant punishing him to make him realize that he’s done something wrong and holding him up when the small town of Lewis Creek were ready to tear him down.

Overall, a really wonderful story, and a good addition to the Lewis Creek Series. I’m kind of hoping we’ll get some more from this small town.

Fans of the ‘friends to more’ trope are definitely going to love this as well as those who love a good contemporary sports YA – this one has baseball and soccer! With strong characters and a story that will keep you turning pages, make sure you grab this one on release day!

Thank you to the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.
Profile Image for Kim.
2,435 reviews379 followers
August 30, 2016
Find this review and more at kimberlyfaye reads.

My love for Michelle Smith's writing and this book is so very real, I'm not even sure what to say about it. I suspected it when I read Play On last year, but now I know for sure: I'll read absolutely anything and everything she publishes. New favorite auto-buy/auto-read author for sure!

Game On was the perfect book at the perfect time for me and I loved absolutely everything about it. The characters were both amazing. The issues they face are so real and the way they face them was honest. The romance was perfectly paced and felt right from the very start. Eric and Bri were both easy to root for – on and off the field. Y'all know friends to more is one of my favorite bookish tropes and that's exactly what I got here. Except, you know, they had to get past their previous issues and become friends again before they could move forward. I loved that. Neither of them were perfect and the situations they were in weren't perfect either. I loved how they found each other and helped each other figure things out and move forward.

I'd be looking so forward to Game On that I dropped everything to read it cover to cover in pretty much one sitting. I was so sucked into Eric and Bri's situations that I found it nearly impossible to stop reading once I started. It was heartwarming and swoony and I ate up all the words. (I highlighted A LOT of quotes... and didn't even include all of them below. The words were just so ... darn good.) It was another one of those books that I read with a giant grin on my face and those are my favorites when I'm in a mood like this. Game On was a great YA contemporary that hit on a lot of issues I think teens can relate to and it did it in a really honest way. I couldn't have enjoyed it more if I tried.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

In Lewis Creek, South Carolina, you either play baseball, worship baseball, or—well, there really is no "or."

It's weird, when you get the thing that you wanted the most, the thing you've worked your ass off for, and all it does is send you into a spiral of "what the hell did I get myself into."

Hearts are funny things. They can be bruised and stomped on and torn to shreds, but they recover so easily that it's deceptive.

The thing about small towns is that you're whoever these people what you to be. And you're stuck with that until you get the hell out of dodge.

Stars are amazing. Some nights they shine brightly, showing off their brilliance. Some nights are a little dimmer than others, but you can still see the light. And some nights, they're hidden by the clouds. But even after all those nights of being hidden, after all those nights of being suffocated by the clouds, they show back up to shine.

No matter how much you hate someone, no matter how much you wish to the heavens that you could just be done with them, if they were once the reason that you smiled, it's impossible to remind your heart of the atrocities they've committed.

My heart doesn't want to be held. My heart wants to learn to beat on its own for awhile.

I wanted him to kiss me. I wanted him to lay me back on that couch and kiss me until I couldn't breathe, until I saw stars, until the sun set and rose again.

"I want to believe in shooting stars and the magic of kisses and—"
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,694 reviews702 followers
August 4, 2016
3.5 stars

I really enjoyed the previous book in this series, so I was pretty excited for this one.

I really liked Bri and Eric. They are both good people and I enjoyed being in their heads. They had some great banter and playfulness between them, but I would have liked to see more kissing. I think they deserved it.

I wasn't a fan of the situation with the ex boyfriend. There was a lot a lot a lot of drama and stalking and unnecessary behavior that happened. If someone is calling and texting you at all hours of the night, block them. And if they're threatening to get your scholarship taken away, tell someone. Don't turn your phone off.

Overall, it was a cute and quick read. I would have liked a more cement ending, but for these two it worked perfectly.

**Huge thanks to Bloomsbury Spark and NetGalley for providing the arc in exchange for an honest review**
Profile Image for Dahlia.
Author 18 books2,333 followers
March 22, 2017
Not leaving a real rating or review because I worked on this book in a professional capacity, but oh, you should read it.
Profile Image for Deniz.
1,140 reviews100 followers
August 8, 2016
And I just realised that this the second book in the series.. guess I'll go read the first one now.

Profile Image for Grace {Rebel Mommy Book Blog}.
475 reviews170 followers
August 29, 2016
This book was really sweet. It wasn't anything groundbreaking or super original but it was a heartfelt story about two neighbors, family and of course baseball.

Bri Johnson has kind of a crappy home life. Her mom left and her dad is a truck driver so he is gone a lot leaving Bri alone. I love that this doesn't stop her from being an awesome student and amazing soccer player that has her college all planned and a future envisioned for herself. Still, with an awful ex-boyfriend that won't leave her alone, her senior year is in jeopardy of being ruined.

Eric Perry is kind of a bad boy with a big heart - my favorite. His bad boy ways include being with lots of ladies, drinking and partying too much and maybe a fight or two. You can tell right away though he is a good guy and he loves baseball. Named the team's starting pitcher he has a lot of pressure on him since Lewis Creek lives for baseball. The pressure starts to get to him and he doesn't know if he will even still be on the team let alone the starter if he doesn't shape up. This is where his neighbor Bri gets involved.

Since some of the trouble Eric is in is kind of due to her (and her issues with her ex-boyfriend) she comes up with a punishment that has them spending some time together volunteering. Here we see a lovely slow burn romance come into play. You can tell these two always had some feeling for each other but I loved to see them realize it. Also, I loved how much Eric learned from the volunteering.

Along with a great romance, this book shows the best of a southern atmosphere. I wanted to go a baseball game in South Carolina and hang out with all of them. Another great aspect was a strong family presence on the Perry side. His parents were very involved in their children's lives as well as the community since the father was a pastor. Eric also had a strong relationship with his brother who was off in college and you could tell how much he missed him and looked to him for support and approval. Love a good sibling relationship!! Even Bri's dad who wasn't around a lot you could see cared for her so much.

Overall I loved the sweetness of the story. Even if it all was a bit predictable and worked out a little too neatly, I didn't really really care. This put a big smile on my face and made me need to go back and read the first in this series!!This review was originally posted on Rebel Mommy Book Blog
Profile Image for Giselle.
1,055 reviews911 followers
October 9, 2017
Love these characters. There was always something more developing underneath all their personas and I love how realistic these two were. Sure the romance was a slow-paced one but don’t you just love those ones? Tensions building and their attraction grows ever so slowly? I also just love his family because they’re also amazing. Michelle Smith knows how to warm my ice cold heart because this is the second novel of hers that I loved.
Profile Image for Lauren.
1,179 reviews316 followers
September 14, 2016
3.5 stars.

This is a very smart, well-written, thoughtful contemporary, set in a baseball obsessed small town in South Carolina. It's also one of those stories that I can fully agree with how great it is and understand why people love it, while also recognizing that there were some elements that didn't work for me personally. (You all know I am crazy about some things, guys.)

What struck me the most is how complexly both Eric and Bri are drawn, and, despite their differences, how well they work together. Eric is the new starting pitcher on the baseball team and dealing with a lot of anxiety and self doubt from all the pressure that brings. Much of that comes out in negative ways, like excessive drinking and carelessness. Bri, on the other hand, is a focused student who works hard, plays soccer and doesn't get into trouble. Bri is also trying to move past her awful, emotionally abusive ex., who won't leave her alone. At first it seems like the deck is stacked against these two finding their way to each other.

Eric and Bri two have been neighbors for a long time, and though they used to be close, they haven't been in a while. They didn't have a falling out so much as grew apart over time. On the surface, these two do not seem like a good match, but the wonderful thing about this story is seeing everyone - including themselves - be proved wrong about that. I enjoyed watching Eric and Bri begin to connect again, and realize that the best things are sometimes right there in front of you. These two support each other really well: Bri doesn't let Eric get away with his self pity, and over time Eric shows Bri that there are better guys out there. Their relationship builds slowly, as it should, because these two have a lot things they have to work through in their own lives too.

I am not a huge sports fan and have never lived in that culture so it was really hard for me to see the way Eric got away with everything in the beginning - including a past drunk driving incident. That was nearly a deal breaker for me, and despite his charm, I didn't like him much at first. But this book does clearly show the brokenness of a town like this, and Eric grows up a lot through this story. I also loved Eric's family. He has a great relationship with his parents and they don't let him get away with the things his town does.

I'm not a fan of the player guy, and Eric is a big one of those at first, even if a lot of it is self coping for him. This author does a great job at explaining the reasons behind these character's behaviors, which I appreciated a lot. But I was still uncomfortable with that aspect of him. Bri is still dating Matt when the book begins and it was hard to see her still into him, despite his obviously terrible behavior towards her. That ends quickly, however, and I think it was important to see her get out of that abusive relationship, despite how hard it was to watch. I was expecting this book to focus most on the romance between Eric and Bri. I didn't realize how heavy this book would get, and while that makes it stronger and more complex, it also made it harder to read in places.

Michelle Smith is definitely a contemporary writer to watch! I haven't read Play On yet and really want to try it after this. Despite some small elements, I liked this author's writing a lot and have heard great things about the first in this series.

Love Triangle Factor: Mild .
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone companion.
Profile Image for Miranda.
733 reviews111 followers
August 4, 2016
3.5 / 5 Fangs

I am a huge fan of Friday Night Lights and the synopsis of this book gave me Friday Night Lights vibes, so I knew I had to read it. This book really did feel like the baseball version of Friday Night Lights , and I loved that!

Overall, I liked the plot of this book and I thought it was very addicting. The one main issue I had with the plot had to deal with some of the drama with Bri's ex boyfriend. I thought the drama was necessary and it could have totally been avoided. It was just really frustrating to have the characters deal with this drama instead of doing something like develop relationships more.

Eric and Bri were really cute together! I thought Bri and Eric had great chemistry and banter. I thought the romance was paced really well, but I wish there would have been more romantic moments between Bri and Eric. I liked the romantic moments, but I felt like I would have enjoyed the book more if there was more romance.

I liked the character development Eric went through in this book. I thought the author did a great job showing Eric basically rebuilding himself. I easily fell in love with Eric, and I was sad to have to leave him at the end of the book!

This book was a fun and enjoyable read! I would recommend this book to anyone look for a cute and quick read.

3.5 / 5 Fangs

*This ebook was given to me in exchange for a honest review. *

MrsLeif's Two Fangs About It
Profile Image for Samantha (WLABB).
3,379 reviews233 followers
November 24, 2016
Eric, the wayward pastor's son, was not taken seriously in any capacity. Girls saw him as "fun" and "not boyfriend material". The boosters saw him as a mediocre pitcher with a bad image. Bri, the overachieving girl next door, was trying to escape a toxic relationship, while still living with the stigma left from her mother's abandonment. Circumstances bring them back into each other's lives, and together they heal and become the best version of themselves.

This was a rather sweet love story. Better than that, it was a redemption story, a story of moving on, and a story of healing. Both MCs were scarred in some way, and their friendship had also suffered. As they mended their friendship, they also healed. I really loved their friendship. In fact, the book is filled with many beautiful relationships, that were so varied, but still important. Smith did a great job creating these two characters, because I felt so much for these two. I shared their hopes, fears, joy, and sadness.

Overall: very sweet romance with characters I cared for and would have loved to have heard a little more about.
Profile Image for Andi (Andi's ABCs).
1,539 reviews187 followers
December 5, 2016
This review was originally posted on Andi's ABCs
Game On is definitely my favorite of the two books in the Lewis Creek stories. Eric and Bri’s story was the perfect “girl next door” type of story. Seriously I just loved both of these characters so much. And they played off each other perfectly. They had a natural chemistry and you just couldn’t help falling for them. They were both in a place where they needed to grow and change and I think finding their lost friendship was a way for them to do that.

I guess what I liked the most was how Michelle Smith told the story of Eric and Bri. They didn’t go from not being friends to being friends in the blink of an eye. It was a process and it slowly happened, naturally happened. And when it did they remembered all the things that had made them besties in the first place and built off of that. That was what I enjoyed the most and what made Game On a book I would recommend
Profile Image for Carolyn Elaine.
380 reviews3 followers
July 1, 2020
Rating: 4 stars

It's Eric Perry's year to shine, but will he make it to the baseball season? After an incident with the cops, Eric is hanging on a thin thread for any chance of playing on his baseball team his senior year with him starting as pitcher for the first time ever. When his next-door neighbor, Bri, suggests he helps out with with community service with her, he has no choice but to accept. Eric doesn't want to risk giving up baseball. Soon, Eric and Bri become friends, discussing topics from ways to handle her jerky ex-boyfriend to baseball and soccer. Friends eventually turn to more than friends for Bri and Eric, but scared of the backlash, they decide to keep things on the down low. Will it stay that way for Bri and Eric, and will their relationship last? Find out in Michelle Smith's novel Game On , sequel to Play On.

I liked this second book to Play On. I liked reading from Eric's and Bri's perspective, maybe even more so than Austin's perspective in Play On. Game On, I noticed, had loads more drama than the first book, and it was just enough drama to hook you in. I was not a fan of the baseball, though. I live actually in South Carolina, and I can tell you, my town does NOT breathe baseball. We don't really breathe any sports, except maybe horse related things, but that may be because we're an old people town. I did appreciate reading about Winthrop because that's where my sister goes to school. I liked Eric and Bri fairly well and was happy to see some old characters, too. Game On had all the qualities of a basic 4 star novel.

Happy reading!
Profile Image for patrick Lorelli.
3,037 reviews26 followers
September 14, 2017
Eric Perry and Bri Johnson have lived next door to each other for years. Now their senior year in high school is changing for both. For Eric, he is dealing with his own pressure that he is putting on himself as becoming the baseball teams starting pitcher. Still, this does not account for all of his drinking and the trouble that he has been getting in. Bri, on the other hand, has been dating the star center fielder who also happens to be a jerk and that has just taken her awhile to figure it out. After seeing Eric one night drunk she gives him a ride home so he does not get in trouble and wonders what happens to the time when they were friends. After the ride, the next day she has to put up with her boyfriend’s verbal snide, so she breaks up with him. The problem is he won’t let. Later when he starts something at a local restaurant Eric steps in and they fight. Afterwards, Bri steps in with the coach because he was doing it on her behalf and he now must spend Saturdays at a community center. His parents also found out about all of his other troubles and besides being grounded he had to clean the chapel his father is the preacher at. The good thing about this story is for teens it shows overcoming your insecurities and also how you can reconnect with the friends you had when you were younger. They worked through their problems both helping each other. This story also dealt with today’s issues for young people in bullying through cell phones, and how friends of one, because that person is more popular, can make the other person’s life miserable. A very good story with good characters and a good story line. Overall a very good book. I got this book from Netgalley.com I gave this book 4 stars. Follow us atwww.1rad-reader.com
November 1, 2016
I have been struggling with YA Contemporaries for a while already. YA Contemporaries used to be one of my favorite kind of books to read but lately, I've been finding them lacking. Either the romance is too cute and juvenile or else it's too dramatic and over the top fake, or we have mental illness contemps which are missing that good romance that I love. A few months ago, when everyone started talking about how good Game On was, I added it to my list. When Nick told me it was good, I grabbed a copy and finally read it. It was the kind of YA I've been looking for! There were so many things I liked about Game On, mostly that it felt like the 'original' kind of YA Contemporary that I love. Here are a few reasons why you should read Game On... if you haven't already.

Slow Burn Romance:
I absolutely love me some good slow burn romance! There's nothing like reading about two people slowly falling fr each other, with each stolen glance, hidden words and kisses you saw coming from a mile away. The romance between Bri and Eric was like that. Although they were childhood friends, they had a falling out because of Bri's asshole boyfriend (now ex-boyfriend). I loved how they both found their way back to the kind of friendship they both desperately needed and how that oh-so-slowly turned into so much more.

Normally, I'm not a huge fan of sports. I don't really like watching them and you would think that would mean that I would hate to read about them. Oddly enough, I love books that feature sports. Give me some romance paired with hockey (my personal favorite), soccer, football, baseball, etc. and I'm all over it. Game On features baseball and although it's not one of my favorites to read about, I really enjoyed the author's take on it this time around. Usually, sports is used as a 'way out,' their chance to get in a good school, get out of town, or have a career. What I loved about this book was that although Eric loved baseball, he wasn't the best and he was well aware. He didn't have scouts looking for him and he wasn't even sure at time if this is what he wanted to do. He had a lot of insecurities about the sport and life in general and I liked how baseball helped him work through his issues, especially with the help of his awesome coach.

Friendships & Family:
I love good friendships and families in books, YA books especially. Eric and Bri both had some really great friends and although the friends didn't make as much of an appearance as I would have liked, when they did show up, they were great. Bri didn't have a good family presence, with her mom walking out on them years ago, it's just Bri and her dad. To help with bills, Bri's dad is a trucker who is gone most of the time, which leaves Bri lonely most of the time. Luckily, Eric and his big family live next door. Although Eric's father is a pastor, he wasn't one of those annoying pastors. He knew his kids got into trouble and didn't have unrealistic expectations of them. His older son is gay and he was okay with it, his daughter likes to have boyfriends and Eric has had his fair share of trouble. At the end of the day, Eric's parents were great and I loved his family as a whole, especially how they treated Bri.

All the good tropes:
I love me a good trope. Next door neighbors? Yes. Friends to lovers? Yes. Ex-friends? Yes please. But there can be such a thing as too many tropes and luckily this wasn't the case with Game On. The tropes were all handled beautifully and I loved seeing them all used so well in this book. The flow and pace for the romance and friendship for this book was pretty much perfect.

Great Hero and Heroine:
Bri and Eric were probably my favorite part of the book. I love when we have such well fleshed out characters that you can not only root for, but you enjoy reading about. Bri was such a strong girl, although she didn't start off that way. She let herself get lost a little bit in a bad relationship with an asshole boyfriend who always put her down and dictated her friendships. She dumps him early on, but he doesn't make it easy on her after he spreads rumors about her and refuses to leave her alone. I love that Bri always held her own, even at times when she wanted to give up. Eric was just as great. He hasn't always made the greatest choices and even though he still makes stupid choices, at least we know that they come from a good place (like punching Bri's ex for talking shit about her). I liked his struggle with baseball, with not being the best although he was damn well good enough, and his struggle with his family and always being under inspection by everyone in town. I loved that they found the strength they needed in each other when it got too hard to deal with it on their own and although I loved the slow romance and friendship between them, I loved them as individual characters too.

Nereyda│ Nick & Nereyda’s Infinite Booklist
Profile Image for Heidi.
1,395 reviews152 followers
September 5, 2016
Four and a half stars: A fun, flirty, best friends romance that takes on some serious topics.

Eric Perry should be ecstatic, on cloud nine, celebrating that he is the starting pitcher for his high school baseball team, something he has worked for his whole life. Yet he is not. Eric instead feels a sickening dread in his stomach, and the only way to get rid of that tension is to have a few drinks. The only problem is that he is on thin ice, since he got caught drinking last year. Luckily, his neighbor and former best friend, Bri, offers to drive him home. Eric can't figure out why she is dating one of his teammates, whom he can't stand. Unfortunately, Bri driving Eric home causes tension between her and her jerk boyfriend, causing Eric to intervene. The fight lands him in hot water, and it may cost him his baseball career, that is until Bri steps in. Can an old friendship be rekindled?
What I Liked:
*This book was exactly what I needed. It was fun, flirty, and had a best friend romance that took its sweet time building. I also appreciated that this one took on some more serious topics such as teen drinking, the pressure to achieve, an abusive romantic relationship, and all the drama that occurs in a small town. I loved the strong focus on family. All around this was a win win.
*The romance is the best kind. It is one where two neighbors who grew up as best friends, rekindle their friendship and then it slowly blossoms into more. It takes its time to build and build until you can't stand it anymore, and then the magic happens. I loved watching this couple help one another, and I liked the way they supported each other, and became better people. It was just right.
*I liked that the author didn't shy away from the tough stuff. This one has teen drinking, and the consequences, the stress one feels to perform under tough conditions, and the harsh reality of gossip and everybody poking their noses into one another's business in a small town. I especially appreciated the spotlight on the teen romance that was becoming controlling and abusive. Big props to the author for handling the issues well.
*Surprisingly, this book featured a wonderful cast of adult characters that were involved in the kids' lives. I loved the dynamic between Eric and his parents. His parents were present, and always there for their kids, to the point where Eric's mom stood up to the town gossips. At first, I thought the baseball coach, Coach Taylor, was going to be the stereotypical type of coach, but he surprised me, especially when he took action to help Bri with her situation. By the end, he was one of my favorite characters.
*I am a sports fan, so I appreciated the focus on soccer and baseball. This book with its small town setting and love for their high school baseball team reminded me a bit of Friday Night Lights.
The ending was a bit abrupt, mostly because I wanted more, but it ended in a good spot, and I liked the way things resolved. I was left though wanting more story, and I am hopeful there will be a third book.
*This was the second book in a the series, but it is a companion book, so I was able to jump in and read this without having read the first book, which focuses on Eric's older brother. I have already bought a copy of Play On, and I plan on reading it right away.
The Not So Much:
*I was a bit disappointed that there wasn't a bit more focus on Grace, Eric's younger sister. She was dealing with her own issues, and I was itching to know more. I am hoping that perhaps the third book will be her story.
*I didn't like that the boys in the book were always sleeping around. Even Eric was disappointing in the beginning because he was always hooking up with girls.
*This is a book that I would consider for older readers because it takes on issues and topics that are suited for older teens.
*I was hoping for some type of movement with Bri and her father, but it didn't pan out.

Game On was a delightful read that snagged me with its engaging characters, serious topics, focus on sports, and a sweet best friend romance. If you are in a bit of a reading rut, this is one to try, it certainly put a smile on my face. I cannot wait to read more from this author!

I purchased a copy of this book. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.
Posted@Rainy Day Ramblings.

Profile Image for Holly .
1,354 reviews291 followers
January 1, 2017
I’d been waiting for this book ever since I finished Play On, and I’d learned there was another novel in this series. PO is one of my all-time favorite books. It’s one of the books I’ve pushed A LOT over the last year, and it’s a book of my heart. So I was understandably nervous going into Game On, because I had super high expectations for it. And I adore Michelle and didn’t want to end up disliking it, you know? But I’m so glad to say that I LOVED this. Not as much as Play On, but not surprising given how special PO is to me. ;) But it was still such a good story, and I will read anything Michelle writes in the future.

I wasn’t too sure about Eric at first. He’s kind of like this stereotypical jock who is first shown at a party where he’s drunk and has been hooking up with a girl. But he quickly tells y’all that he is more than that, though it’s hard for him to believe that he’s deserving of anything. He’s a good guy, but he doesn’t really know who he is, and it’s easier for him to act how everyone expects him to. But throughout the book, Eric is starting to learn and see that he can do so much more in life than what he thinks. And that he is deserving of a girl who sees him and knows him better than he knows himself.

I’m so happy that this was dual POV because I ADORED Bri and would have missed her spunk and genuineness. She’s a compassionate and kind person who volunteers when she can and who just wants to help people. But she’s going through something that she doesn't let people see; she’s involved with an emotionally abusive guy. And throughout the book, Bri has to find herself again, the person she was before dated Matt, and she learns that she deserves so much better and that it’s okay to not have everything together. And throughout all of this, she’s got Eric right there by her side.

I absolutely loved the way that their romance developed, from ex-friends to friends again to possible lovers. It was handled with such care too, given that Bri has just gotten out of a manipulative and abusive relationship, a guy she’d fallen for in the beginning. And with Eric, he wasn’t perfect, but he was very respectful and though he’d been more into hookups than dating in the recent past, he wanted to try a relationship again with Bri. Though sometimes his martyrdom and his whole I don’t deserve her woe was a bit annoying. ;) I totally shipped them and loved their banter a lot.

Also high five to Michelle for addressing the whole “you’re not like other girls” bullshit, and in the guy’s POV no less. That is seriously the first time I’ve read a book that did that. And I loved how she also handled the subject of an abusive significant other. I hadn’t been sure what to expect from this book, but I loved the story so much. And I thought it had some wonderful things in here about relationships and finding your path and standing up for yourself. Game On was full of the same spark that was in Play On, with more lovable characters, cameos of favorites, and that Lewis Creek charm.

Rating: 4 Paw Prints!
Profile Image for Maf (Bookworm Wanders).
286 reviews74 followers
August 18, 2016
4.5 Stars

If you have been following me for the past year on any of my social medias you'll know this year has been not great reading wise which is why when I find a book I enjoy I legit do not shut up about it. Which is thankfully the case with this book.

This book wasn't just a love story, although I admit the love story was pretty great. Small town, neighbour's all their life but also sort of slow burn romance? What's not to love about that?!

But this book was also about believing in yourself, about dealing with the extremely high expectations most teenagers live with now days, I never had to deal with an entire freaking town counting on me to win baseball games but I did relate to the being good but not nearly as good as you need to be part. I related to giving up on myself and not truly getting why everyone wasn't giving up on me, just like Eric.

"It's weird, when you get the thing that you wanted the most, the thing you've worked our your ass off for, and all it does is send you into a spiral of 'what the hell did I get myself into.'"

And Bri. Wow, I am speechless, when we first meet Bri she is in a verbally abusive relationship with a guy who essentially runs the town. Being in high school and breaking up with someone so evil and so influential he could ruin your reputation with one word is obviously scary but Bri handle it the best way possible.

"As cheesy as it sounds, those stars up there give me hope. That maybe I can break through the clouds and, I don't know, shine again?"

It was awful to see so how Bri was treated by her peers in the book, there were little moments when she started blaming herself for the situation and as a outsider looking in, it would have been easy to be frustrated with her because of her thoughts but the author handled her character development and her situation in such a way in which Bri ended up being the strongest character in the book and I never once stopped rooting for her.

Eric and Bri both go through different things that are very hard for them but it was so easy to sympathise with them, so easy to put yourself in their shoes. Their relationship worked for me because they both brought out the best in each other and were there to help support and encourage and give pep talk when necessary so the other could go through the bad in their lives. Their romance was slow burn and sweet and everything good I love form a contemporary YA romance.

"You never forget the night that you fell head over feet for your neighbour. And you definitely don't forget the night that it happens all over again."

I have not read the first book in this series but I will definitely put it at the top of my TBR, I need so much more Bulldogs baseball in my life!
Profile Image for Rachel Reeves.
354 reviews6 followers
August 8, 2016
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I requested this ARC without noticing it was book #2 in a series, but I didn't find that it affected my enjoyment of the book or understanding of the story at all. I went into it expecting a romance novel type of story and was very happy to get something more along the lines of typical contemporary YA. While I like some romance in my stories, I don't like many of the tropes of romance novels, so I was very pleased. The book actually had a bit of a Friday Night Lights kind of feel to it with the small-town, set in the south, sports ruling the town (baseball instead of football), the awesome coach (even named Coach Taylor), etc. The dual POV was done very well with both Eric and Bri narrating the story. I also really liked that there was more to it than just the girl getting her guy or guy getting his girl storyline that it can sometimes be reduced to when authors rush the ending as soon as the two get together. That's a big pet peeve of mine, so I was really happy that the story was more complete than that. I also really liked that there was some diversity with the characters, though it was more with minor characters in the book, and it was great seeing how a religious family in the south is accepting of their gay son (this is in reference to the brother of the main male character). It happens and it's nice to see it depicted versus having the very different stereotype reinforced. I also liked that the book was primarily from a male POV, as it isn't seen a whole lot with contemporaries really. The book is kinda fluffy but with some depth to it. It was a great, quick read that I enjoyed far more than I was expecting. It wasn't flawless, but there were no glaring issues worth mentioned. I wish half stars were available, as I would rate it a 4.5 if so. This one gets a recommend from me!
Profile Image for Madison.
1,065 reviews59 followers
September 19, 2016
Sport and romance combine in this fun story of second chances and starting over.

Eric finally has the starting position as pitcher on the baseball team. And that means a whole lot more pressure and more people watching his every move. So getting arrested for hitting one of his teammates isn't going to improve his popularity with the townspeople. Bri knows its time to end things with her boyfriend. But she doesn't need her neighbour and old friend Eric fighting with her ex for her. She surprises herself when she stands up for Eric, offering his coach an out instead of Eric getting kicked off the team. Even if it means spending a whole lot more time with Eric.

I love boy/girl-next-door love stories, especially ones about friends. Bri and Eric haven't spent much time together since they were kids, so it's fun watching them reconnect, especially as they share with each other everything that is going on in their lives.

Bri has been coping with a lot, an abusive boyfriend, an absent dad, and now everything's worse with the rumours being spread about her. I loved how Bri wants to stand up for herself. Sure, having Eric there to back her up is nice, but she doesn't like it when he takes up for her. She knows she needs to find the strength within herself (go girl), which she does!! She also knows that she needs to take things slowly and not fall straight back into another relationship. Even if this time it's with the right guy. But talking with Eric helps, just as it helps him to have someone to share everything with.

And mixed in with all the romance and friendship developments, the family interactions and the small-town drama, is sport, baseball and soccer. It brings a sense of added lightness and drama in this touching book.

Find more reviews on my blog Madison's Library.
Profile Image for Wendy.
803 reviews102 followers
January 30, 2017
3.5 stars!
Immediate reaction: I really enjoyed Eric and Bri's story but I wish there was just a bit more of them together, maybe? I'm not sure but it was missing a bit of the spark of how much I loved the first. maybe Eric was just down on himself for so long. however, I still very much enjoyed!

My thoughts:

As a whole, I really enjoyed this sports romance! I am not a huge fan of baseball in real life but really love baseball in books! I think I just like seeing the love that characters, in this instance, Eric, have for the sport.

Eric has been struggling a bit, especially with his brother gone off to college. After some incidents, he is now stuck with community service -- with his next door neighbor and previous friend, Bri. I personally love the friends to more trope so I was all over this. Things have pulled them apart but now they're rediscovering their friendship as they're there for each other for different things. I really loved seeing them together -- they were just so perfect.

I did think this one was missing...Something. I just felt it didn't have the same spark as the previous book for some reason. Maybe it was the lack of a presence of close friends of the main characters? I know I loved the secondary characters a lot in the previous. However, all that being said, I still enjoyed it! I would recommend for anyone who loves small town or sporty romances, with a great focus on family too.

In short...

Game On was a sweet sporty romance -- even for those who may not like baseball! Eric and Bri are such a treat to see together. I know they'll put a smile on your face!
Profile Image for Mischa.
912 reviews
August 27, 2016
Okay. Whatever you're doing, just stop and read this series. I'm serious. I love Michelle's writing, her characters, the Lewis Creek (really screwed-up) world and her stories.

Now, a really high praise for a book I didn't give 5 stars to. I wanted to. I really did. It was amazing and I was just rooting for Bri and Eric so much and it felt so freaking real, the characters didn't just change overnight and had some serious issues which weren't just suddenly gone. There was also a little christian presence with this book, but it was done really well in a way where it just fit into the story and it wasn't obnoxious.

But the issue was with the philosophical sentences. Now, it's not like the author was talking crap or that I wouldn't stop and think at times and be like "omg so tru" because let's be honest, I did. But the book was really heavy on the life-advice thing, so a lot of other times, I just felt like a bright-eyes freshman in a how to do life 101, which just suddenly ripped me out of the story and into the real life. And exactly these little "slaps" are the reason why I just can't bring myself to give this book the five stars I do, really do want to give it. But the back-to-real-life events were just too distracting for me. Because I like a good, well-put deep sentence in a book like any other, but this book is really full with it, so at times, it felt like too much, which is a shame.

But seriously. Read this. And marvel.
Profile Image for Kelly Hager.
3,097 reviews129 followers
August 19, 2016
I hate sports but for some reason, I love sports movies. I learned recently that that also extends to sports books and Michelle Smith's duology about a baseball team in Lewis Creek is just delightful.

Bri and Eric have been next door neighbors forever. They were each other's first kiss (at 10) and now they don't really talk. She's dating a jerk and he's a player. But of course things are about to change.

Baseball and the small town they live in are almost characters in this novel (baseball in a good way; the town not so much). I love the way Michelle Smith paints this vivid picture and makes me wish I were in the stands with a box of Cracker Jacks and a soda the size of my face. (No small feat because sports and I are not friends.)

And oh the love story. I had the goofiest grin for most of Game On.

I hope there are more stories set in Lewis Creek. (Maybe a soccer spinoff with Becca? Please?)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 67 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.