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Game of Love by Ara Grigorian

Game of Love

by Ara Grigorian

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Tennis anyone? Or shall I say, sensational debut novel anyone? Ara Grigorian’s Game of Love is exactly that—a winning book. Filled with my favorite sport (tennis) and my favorite subject (love), Grigorian brings these two topics to life through his engaging characters and electric story about the deepest of human vulnerabilities. Grigorian explores what happens when we let our guard down, and truly let someone else see us for who we really are. The two protagonists, Gemma and Andre, are carved out of extraordinary attributes, but shown in their most basic humanness that we can all relate to, empathize with, and root for. Intense and truly reflective moments fill these pages, creating a fast-paced, well-written account of life, love, and the high-skates of both. To Ara Grigorian: Game, set, match, indeed!
( )
  CherieKephart | Aug 3, 2017 |
I received a copy in exchange for honest review, this does not influence my opinion in any shape or form.

Imagine at five years old you discover that you have a real talent for playing tennis. You dream of becoming the best. You dream of fame and fortune. You dream of winning it all especially a Grand Slam or at least a couple Grand Slams. You dream of going down as one of the best players in the history of tennis. So at five years old, you begin working on your dream, you sacrifice your childhood, your adolescence to live your dream.

Fast forward a couple years, you proved your great but you haven't achieved a championship. The fame surrounding you has caused a dozen different headlines claiming this or that. You don't know who to trust or who really has your best interest at hand. If that's not enough, you tried to have a relationship with someone who was a celebrity just like you. He'd understand the pressure, the schedules, the headlines etc. but one thing lead to another and disaster happened. Now they say you aren't focused, you can't win, everything distracts you. You're all hype. You've built a wall so high that you may not be able to climb over it. This is the story of Gemma Lennon.

Now, lets imagine again but this time you are eleven years old, you show a real knack for solving problems. You are wise before your years. You graduate high school early, you're working on your bachelors at the age of fourteen and by age 23 you already have a Ph.D.. You sacrificed your childhood and adolescence to achieve a great paying job. But the pressure, the time away from your family is finally getting to you. The constant headaches. The tension radiating your body. It's just getting to be to much. Six months. That's all that's left on your contract with your current employer M&T and then you are free to enjoy life, who knows maybe you'll find love, maybe you'll finally have a real day off. The possibilities are endless. This is the story of Andres Reyes.

The Story
Game of Love is told in altering POVs including third person to really give you the sense of the story. I was hesitant when it came to reading Game of Love because I don't know anything about tennis. I am a sports fan but tennis is not something I watch let alone know anything about. I was worried I wouldn't be able to connect to the story but Ara did an excellent job of including basic information of tennis for those of us who don't understand the game. He also started the story strong. Seriously, that beginning had me wondering just what happened and how that chain of events would play out in the book. Not to mention the cover really won me over. It is beautiful right?

Gemma and Andres meet by luck and hit it off right away. They share a similar childhood in the respect that they both gave it up to achieve their dreams instead of enjoying their life. It is what formed their bond and developed their love.

When the story begins, Andres is working on an important meeting that could help secure his well earned bonus and Gemma is about to redeem herself after a very public scandal had everyone doubting she could win a Grand Slam. There is no time for dating or even relationship for both of them. They have busy schedules, one is in the public spotlight the other works hard to solve problems for government agencies. There's no way this could work. But if they both tried could it?

The Characters

"Hollywood is a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul"-Marilyn Monroe

Gemma is one of our main characters who has been in the spotlight for a long time even though she's only 21. She's had to learn the hard way about learning who to trust, who has your back, to always try and hide because who knows what the paparazzi will print in the headlines the next morning. So, she constantly overthinks, overanalyzes, doesn't trust, always listens to her team and most importantly is focused on her career and proving to herself and others she can win a Grand Slam. She was a hard character to like sometimes. She really couldn't trust anyone. She always second guessed their intentions. I especially hated how she treated Andres half the time, because you could tell the guy was really nice and unlike those in her circle. But in a way, Ara did an excellent job of developing Gemma, she really did seem to act like most celebrities trying to gain privacy at whatever cost. It was sad to think that this is what most celebrities may be going through.

Andres is really smart, at the age of fourteen he graduated high school. He had multiple degrees by the age of 23. He's worked hard really hard but a devastating family tragedy has him questioning just what is life about. He is counting down six months that's all that's left of his contract and he'll be able to finally enjoy a family vacation and sometime to himself without the pressures of work. He is really a likable character, he isn't a total dominating Alpha but he's protective and understanding of Gemma.

Romeo, take me somewhere we can be alone.
I want to be near you. I need to be with you. When we're apart, I feel empty. Like something important is missing. I realize we've just started, but I know what I feel. And I know what I want. I want you in my life."

Gemma and Andres do fall insta-love but really I think it worked out well. It wasn't an over the top insta-love like most books these days. It was well played out. It not only showed how hard it is to be a celebrity and have a relationship but also a long distant relationship. I really loved the connection between Gemma and Andres. I liked who they were when they were around each other, both would let their guards down and show who they really were. You couldn't help but root for them because you wanted them to work it out at all costs. I loved their relationship because it wasn't focused on sex [thank God! I've been searching for a book like this for a while]. It was focused on trust, respect and being understanding.

I also loved how Andres was a real support system for Gemma. He really tried to motivate her even when he wasn't around. It was really sweet to read how he was always cheering her on and how he believed in her even though she didn't always believe in herself. I love those type of relationships, they seem real.

I really enjoyed this story. I couldn't stop reading it from beginning to end. My heart dropped to my stomach a couple times because of certain events. I also loved the cover, the quotes at the beginning of every chapter and the tennis ball that was at the beginning of every chapter.

Even though I don't much about tennis, there was enough information that you understand what's going on. I thought it was also excellent how Ara had incorporated not just the relationship into the story but also issue of trusting those around you, discovering who are before and after you achieve your dream.

Overall, this book gets four stars. I would recommend it. So check it out!
( )
  tina_thebookworm | Feb 12, 2016 |
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