Saturday, 6 August 2016

Review ~ The Hard Count by Ginger Scott

Book Description:

Nico Medina’s world is eleven miles away from mine. During the day, it’s a place where doors are open—where homes are lived in, and neighbors love. But when the sun sets, it becomes a place where young boys are afraid, where eyes watch from idling cars that hide in the shadows and wicked smoke flows from pipes. 

West End is the kind of place that people survive. It buries them—one at a time, one way or another. And when Nico was a little boy, his mom always told him to run.

I’m Reagan Prescott—coach’s daughter, sister to the prodigal son, daughter in the perfect family. 
Life on top. 
My world is the ugly one. Private school politics and one of the best high school football programs in the country can break even the toughest souls. Our darkness plays out in whispers and rumors, and money and status trump all. I would know—I’ve watched it kill my family slowly, strangling us for years. 

In our twisted world, a boy from West End is the only shining light.
I hated him before I needed him.
I fell for him fast.
I loved him when it was almost too late. 

When two ugly worlds collide, even the strongest fall. But my world…it hasn’t met the boy from West End.

Buy Links:

(Thanks to Jennifer Kyle for use of her teaser pic)

Our Review:

Reviewed by Donna ~ 4.5 stars

“Ugly doesn’t have a color. It lives among selfishness and hate. And as much as this story is about football…it’s also about that.”

The Hard Count was one inspirational story penned by Ginger Scott. A book of traditions, beliefs, blanket misconceptions, prejudices and honour. A book whereby talent prevailed rather than the amount of cash and social standing your parents had, a book whereby a coach believed in the underdog and put his own reputation and job on the line. A book whereby a girl who spent her life behind the lens stood up for what and who she believed in. A book in which the unknown became known, revered and a god amongst his peers.

“The cream rises to the top with dollars for stairs.”

Nicolas Medina, or Nico to his friends was a scholarship student. His brains matched his beauty and he was the only man brave enough and clever enough to go up against our heroine in debate. As with all private schools the scholarship students are looked down upon and although Nico had the good looks and the physique, his bank balance didn’t match so he was shunned.

Reagan Prescott was the coach’s daughter, that was her ticket to notoriety. A budding documentary maker she spent her life behind the camera and in and around the pitch of the football team. Her brother was the star quarterback, a position earned with strength and talent rather than just being the coach’s son. Her father’s job was dependent upon the success of the team, a pressure that no coach needs or wants and the expectations of the board were high, he was feeling it.

Nico and Reagan were arch enemies, no matter the debate Nico always cut her down to size, sometimes she gained the upper hand but Nico was normally the one that could hold his own, he infuriated her beyond belief. But, she was intrigued by him and her curiosity was even more piqued when she spied him playing football with his friends. Could she have just found the star of her own documentary? Reagan was extremely knowledgeable about football, she knew talent when she saw it and Nico oozed it to the point that she felt he was better than her brother. Could Nico be the answer to the team’s success or would the boy from the wrong side of the tracks become just another statistic in the prejudices of the board and governors? But when the quarterback gets injured and Reagan puts Nico forward will coach give him a chance?

“They don’t hate you. They resent you, because you’re better than they are. You’re better than us all.”

The friendship between Nico and Reagan was unexpected at first. Everyone draws their first impressions and sometimes in situations where you are always the outsider the impression you give is normally the wrong one, it is a defence mechanism. It is only when these two spend time in each other’s company away from the classroom that true personalities begin to shine and Reagan is genuinely surprised by the difference. Their banter was great and the getting to know you stage was stunning to read. This is the best part of YA, genuine friendships born from naiveté and taking people at face value.

“Look at me like you expect more. Look at me like it isn’t going to be easy…Make me earn it…I’ll earn it. I’ll never stop trying to earn it…to earn you.”

This was a love story born from friendship, a privileged girl and a poor boy, total opposites. Nico was a great character, his drive, determination and tenacity was admirable and his family values something to be proud of. He was an upstanding guy that had he had the wealth would have been front of centre of everyone’s attention. Even though Reagan was privileged, you never would have known. She was down to earth, honest, had integrity and saw the best in everyone. She was a beautiful person on the inside and out.

“Nico is the twist in the tale. He’s the element of good. He’s what humanity should be – the lesson to be learned. He is hope.”

This was a fight for Nico, a fight to prove his worth to the school, his teammates and Reagan’s family and a fight for himself, to prove what he knew all along…he was special. I loved everything about this book and this is an author I will definitely be keeping my eyes on.

“This life, our lives – they are colored by expectations. It’s the surprises though = how we deviate – that define us.”

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