Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Don't Hate the Player...Hate the Game by Katie Ashley


For Noah Sullivan being the best friend to a douchebag and player like Jake Nelson has never been easy. It's been a rocky road since kindergarten when Jake duct taped Noah to his chair before recess. With just six weeks to high school graduation, Jake accidentally blows his drunken ass up on his grandfather's tractor, and Noah finds himself immersed not only in a whirlwind of grief, but on a quest to find a mystery girl from Jake's past.

While cleaning out Jake's room, Noah and Jake's dad make a startling discovery. Instead of the obligatory porn collection or pot stash, they find a ring, but not just any ring. Its half a carat of commitment in a platinum setting-proving even man whores have taste. After Jake's mom pleads with Noah to find the girl who meant so much to Jake, Noah begins a modern day Grail quest to track the girl down.

Since Jake was a notorious player with a legendary collection of trophy panties, Noah finds himself in over his head. There are the usual suspects like Avery, the Ice Princess Jake dated for appearances, or Presley, the school mattress Jake dated for convenience. But the trail begins to point to the most unlikely of suspects: Maddie, the Valedictorian and choir girl who was trying to help the unmotivated jock graduate--the girl who also has surprisingly caught Noah's eye and meddled with his heart.

Hanging out with Maddie shows Noah a different side of Jake--one that was deeply human and surprisingly douche-free. And the more he tries to solve the mystery of the ring and of Jake, the more Noah starts to discover about himself and of love.


I think Katie Ashley did a fabulous job with this book.  Don’t Hate the Player…Hate the Game is told in a POV, of a 17 year old male.  I think Katie did a marvelous job in doing it.  I could actually feel the emotions that Noah was feeling while I was reading the book.  This is such a great book about young love. 

Noah Sullivan loses his best friend Jake Nelson, when he is killed in a tragic accident a few weeks before they graduate from high school.  While helping Jake’s father gather some of Jake’s belongings from his room for the funeral service, they discover an engagement ring and lyrics from a song.   Noah is completely shocked by these findings, as Jake was a confirmed player and never settled for just one girl.  Noah learns that he didn’t really know everything about his best friend. There was another side of Jake that no one knew… accept for one girl. A girl that captured Jake’s heart. A girl that Noah had to find.

Jake’s mother makes Noah promise to find the special girl who the ring belonged to.  There was a girl out there that Jake truly loved enough to want to marry.  Jake didn't get the chance to give it to her, however Mrs. Nelson wanted her to have it.

While Noah is trying to figure out who this mystery girl is, he is dealing with the memories of his best friend and his grandfather, who had passed a few years back.  Noah never really grieved for Jake because in his head he thinks he needs to be strong, that if he shows any emotions, he wouldn’t be a man…  My heart broke for Noah.  Noah pushes his grief aside to try and find out what girl Jake had intention of proposing to.  After narrowing the search down, everything seems to be pointing to a girl named, Maddie.

Maddie is the preacher’s daughter, who was tutoring Jake.  Maddie is such a sweet girl.  Her heart is broken by the death of Jake.  Maddie is struggling with her own emotions.  Maddie and Noah begin to comfort each other over their loss of Jake.  A friendship develops between the two, but Noah is drawn to Maddie like a moth to a flame.  

Noah begins to develop feelings for Maddie.  Once Noah knows that it was Maddie that Jake loved, should he have told Maddie about the engagement ring?  Is Noah being selfish for not wanting to tell Maddie about the ring? Does Maddie have the same feelings for Noah?

You can see Noah struggling with his feelings for Maddie. Is it wrong that he was falling in love with his best friends girl, even if his best friend was dead?

      “Don’t be ashamed of your emotions, Noah.  Experience them and
       embrace them.  They’re what make us alive and strong.” ~ Maggie Sullivan
       (Noah’s mom)

 This quote sums up the book in two sentences….

      “So it’s kinda like ‘don’t hate the player, hate the game’, right?”  Like you
       were a product of what society wanted of you for a long time – even though
       it wasn’t who you really were deep down inside.”

Jake kept his feelings for Maddie a secret because he felt as though he needed to keep up his image…  Was that fair to Maddie?

On Jake’s headstone there was a saying:

 The life of one we love is never lost.  Its influence goes on through every life it ever touched.

After reading this book, I felt as though Jake brought Noah and Maddie together for a reason. Maddie saved Noah from the epic storm of grief. Noah wasn't drowning anymore.  Noah and Maddie comforted each other in their time of need and it was heart warming to see their love blossom from such a tragedy. If it weren't for Jake's death, Maddie and Noah wouldn't have found love... Does everything happen for a reason? 

This review was prepared by Heather.

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