Jenna's Reviews > Training Ground

Training Ground by Kate Christie
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really liked it
bookshelves: high-school, female-protagonist, f-f-romance, athletes

It's been a long time since I've written a review, but I'm going to give this a try. There's going to be a vague spoiler about the general type of ending (because it's all I could think about), but nothing too terribly specific.

This book is a lovely character study--or rather two character studies--of a pair of young women, both high school soccer players, who develop a long-distance friendship and, eventually, romantic feelings for one another. Don't read it. At least not until the next book in the series comes out. You'll want the next book as soon as possible because the relationship is completely broken at the end of the first. Given what both characters go through, given what they mean to one another, seeing it end on a break felt gutting. As I was reading and watching the Kindle progress tick up through the percentages--70%, 80%, 85%--I kept thinking, "! There's not enough time to fix this!" And there wasn't. So there's that.

Now, all of that said, this is a very well-written book. The lead characters are both fully developed and relatable, their difficulties are understandable and engaging, their friendship feels utterly natural (and speaking as someone with a long-distance friend, very familiar), the supporting characters had enough detail to make them interesting, and it's difficult to see how the book could've ended any way other than the way it did, given the respective ages of the main characters and the challenges they faced. The book has a lot to recommend it, and I'm absolutely going to read the next book in the series. But I wish I'd followed my own long-distance friend's example and read the ending of this one first; I still would've read the book, just at a later date.

So, I rate this one at 4.5 stars, rounded down because it made me sad. I do highly recommend it, but I'll leave the timing of that reading up to you.

(ETA: Book 2 is out, so grab both of them and you're all set! My previous "don't read this yet" suggestion is hereby rescinded.)
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Reading Progress

June 28, 2016 – Shelved
June 28, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
June 29, 2016 – Started Reading
June 29, 2016 – Shelved as: high-school
June 29, 2016 – Shelved as: female-protagonist
June 29, 2016 – Shelved as: f-f-romance
June 29, 2016 – Shelved as: athletes
June 29, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)

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message 1: by Tara (new)

Tara Hooray! A Jenna review! I love Jenna reviews!

Jenna Tara wrote: "Hooray! A Jenna review! I love Jenna reviews!"

You read the ending of the review first, didn't you? I'll still take the compliment, though! Mutual Admiration Society: activated!

Lexxi Kitty I'd seen that there was a new book out by Christie when I finished another book (on my Kindle app there was a list of books, spotted Christie). Saw the price. Recalled my feelings for Christie, bought.

Thanks for the info re: holding off until next book to actually read. I'll attempt to do so.

message 4: by Tara (new)

Tara Jenna, I only read the ending. Was I supposed to read the rest? ;)

Jenna Kurt wrote: "man, I'm knee deep in it at present. I am going to read the ending of the book now."

Good news, though! The second book is out, and it ends on a much happier note! It sort of helps to think of this one in the following terms: you know those romances where, in the beginning of the book, you have a couple of teenagers who love each other, but they're tragically separated before finding each other as adults later in the book? This book is the first couple of chapters in that story, just a lot longer. The second book gets them back together, but just the very beginning part. I think the third book will probably be the happy ending, though Christie could drag it out and have both a World Cup book and an Olympics book if she wanted to.

Regardless, this whole book (book 1) is kind of painful backstory. It definitely adds more emotion to the second book, though, because you feel like you really know the characters.

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