Author: Monica Seles
Category/Genre: YA, Contemporary
See it at Goodreads
The Academy is an International Sports Mecca for teen athletes of all sports. There are only two ways in. Deep pockets or enough talent to score a scholarship.
Young tennis star Maya's dreams have finally come true when she earns a scholarship to The Academy. Plucked from her small town, Maya moves to the sports training facility/boarding school to (hopefully) start the beginning of her pro career. But Maya's fantasy of The Academy doesn't quite match the reality. Because where there are hot, talented teens, there's a lot of drama. Meet the players:
Cleo: Maya's rebel/punk roommate who is nearing the top of the golf world.
Renee: The gorgeous swimmer with enough money to buy her way into The Academy.
Nicole: A tennis star who feels threatened by Maya (but she'd never admit it).
Travis: The son of The Academy owner--perfectly groomed to be the next NFL star.
Jake: Travis' younger brother--the bad boy to his brother's good.
Let’s get this out of the way first before I start my review:
I completely fan-girled when I saw who the author was. Most of you know by now that I’m a tennis junkie (if you didn’t know that, well now you do). Monica Seles is a well-known name among the sport and fans. She was THE superstar. Former world number one. In the International Hall of Fame. Won nine Grand Slam Titles. Youngest ever to win the French Open (at age 16). Sadly, in 1993, a fan attacked her on court during a break at a match and stabbed her in her back. She took a leave from tennis for a few years, returned, but played her last pro match in 2003. Yes. I really know these facts in my head, people. I didn’t have to Google at all. O_O
So, anyway, I fan-girled because it’s THE Monica Seles authoring this series. I made complete grabby hands for the book. I had to have it. Not only because it was hers, but because well it’s a book based around a sports academy and a character that plays tennis. This had to be my dream book in every way possible.
Unfortunately, I was disappointed.
It wasn’t terrible. But it wasn’t what I expected either. I’m actually quite torn on writing this review because for me it was one of those reads where you’re just left feeling quite meh by the end. While I enjoyed it for the most part for an entertainment value due to it being a fast and mostly fun read, I also had several qualms with it at the same time that left me feeling dissatisfied.
Despite her tennis ambitions, Maya was not a character I could get attached to. In fact, the majority of the characters left me feeling under whelmed. If you’re going into this book hoping for action when it comes to their sports lifestyle, their training, or details and drama surrounding their competition events, you won’t get it. There was little to no action. This was genuinely a teen drama romance with a sports academy setting and that was it. Did that make it bad? Not really. It just gave me something I didn’t quite expect from the beginning and I was a bit let down by this. I was hoping for more.
The dreaded love triangle is prevalent. Along with the eye-rolling insta-love romance. This was perhaps my biggest annoyance. And where I found myself face-palming and cringing the most. So, it’s easy to say I just couldn’t get into the romance at all. I wasn’t the least bit interested in either guy. I didn’t care what happened between the characters by the middle of the book because I found it incredibly cheesy. The only character I may have cared about at all was Cleo. Everyone else.... Well, I sure hope they get more oomph in the next installment. Even the "mean girl."
But here’s the kicker. I sound like I didn’t like it, I know. But I’m on the fence here. Or net. Let’s use net. ;) Because at the same time, I did. I really did find myself enjoying it because I sped right through the pages. There’s entertainment to it. An un-put-down-able sense to the book because of the drama, and it’s a fast read. It could be an easy guilty pleasure. I just wanted more action personally--especially since I was looking for the tennis aspect in this. In a way, it reminds me of something that could easily be on television right now. A bit Gossip Girl-esque (though I’ve never sat and watched a full episode of Gossip Girl, so don’t take comparison to heart).
I’m going to continue this series and see where it goes from here.
P.S. I found what I think is the U.K. version of the cover:
I really love this cover so much better than the one above! Had to share! :)