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Monday, November 14, 2016

Review | Well Played by Katrina Ramos Atienza

Synopsis

Amazon | Gooodreads

Patrice Reyes is starting her junior year at the University and she's convinced it's going to be the best semester ever. For starters, it looks like this is the year her team will win the regional football (soccer, for you Yanks) championships. Her subjects are looking good, and there's even a chance she might finally get somewhere with her rock star crush. But a new classmate—arrogant, cold math nerd—is seriously throwing off her groove. Will she ever get rid of him and have the awesome semester she deserves? Or is there truth to never judging (math) books by their cover?

Review

Reader reactions to retellings of beloved classics often fall under two camps.

A) The author gets the characters wrong, forcing the reader hurl the book in the direction of the nearest wall and scream, "NO! I don't care if this is a retelling. Elizabeth Bennett/Jane Eye/Sherlock Holmes would never do that shit!"

B) The author gets everything right. You get the sense that the characters are basically the same people you first loved, but you get to see them in a different setting. This might be the literary nerd in me talking, but that's what makes retellings so darn enjoyable.

Well Played by Katrina Ramos Atienza falls under B.

I adored Patrice and Paul, the book's versions of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy.

Patrice is a varsity player for her university's football team. It was wonderful seeing how she was so focused on her schoolwork, football, and her friends. Girl's got goals, something I always enjoy reading about. As a character, I enjoyed seeing her realize her impressions of people weren't always right.

And Paul! Sorry, Patrice, but he's my favorite character in the entire book.
There are plenty of love stories where the hero is charming but still a total alphahole. Paul is the exact opposite of that. He has no social skills whatsoever and comes across a jerk despite being a great guy.

Since the book is told mostly from Patrice's point-of-view, I enjoyed her reactions to his awkward attempts at flirting and cringed on his behalf. The boy has no game. At all. But it only made his efforts seem even more sincere.

The author made the setting come alive for me as well. I attended a university in my hometown, so I never had to live in a boarding house or a dormitory. As a result, I enjoyed living the dormitory life vicariously through Patrice and her friends--buying barbecue from a stall right outside, enduring a roommate's band practice on the terrace, and a bunch of other experiences depicted in the book.

If you want something sweet that'll reach inside your chest and tug at your heartstrings, I highly recommend this Pride and Prejudice adaptation with a setting that'll make you want to be a college student again. Crazy extracurricular activities and all.

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