Never play a game you can’t win.
For Cain Kent, that rule is golden. Losing is not in his vocabulary, and up until now, everything has come easy. Football, school, girls … his charm-laced ego may just be bigger than Texas itself.
The competition he started freshman year with his friends, to make ten notches each in their bedposts by graduation day, is practically in the bag. One more to go, and then it’s off to college fame and eventually, the big time. Attachments aren’t something he wants to form, but when the quiet new girl challenges him in front of his classmates, his curiosity is piqued. She would be the perfect final score, and what fun to break her in the process.
Too bad Harper Posy has no intention of being just another warm body, especially to the bad boy quarterback. Even if he does quote Forster and Huxley when no one is listening. An aspiring author herself, Cain and his hidden soft side are dangerous to her heart. She’s seen men ruin her mother’s dreams time and again, and she’s determined to fly far away as soon as she has that diploma in her fist.
But as the school year’s end looms closer, both realize they didn’t quite understand the rules to begin with. Is winning a dirty bet worth the gamble when the stakes, or the other’s heart in this case, are so high?
Harper is the one girl who isn’t up for playing games. And she just might make Cain lose. Everything.
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
The book is told from two points of view, Harper’s and Cain’s. I never used to like dual POV books, but they’ve been growing on me, and I think that it works very well for this book. We get to see the softer sides of Cain, when he’s not putting up such a facade to everyone through his chapters. It allows us to see even more of him that he doesn’t even show Harper at first, which is good. It’s always a good idea to show that characters are dynamic instead of static right from the get-go.
As you all know, I love reading books where the main characters are into sports, even though I’m not really a fan of sports in my actual life. Cain is the star quarterback, which falls neatly into one of the categories of books I like to read, and is one of the reasons that I picked this book to read. My high school wasn’t really into sports too much. Obviously we had them, and I guess they were pretty decent, but I didn’t pay too much attention to them. The players certainly weren’t look at as god-like as the characters in this book are.
The story is decently predictable, as in the main plot points, but I still enjoyed reading it! It’s definitely full of cliches, but I don’t think of that as always being a bad thing. It tends to have negative connotations, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having cliches in books. After all, they have to come from somewhere. The writing style was good and easy to read, and overall it took me about 4 hours or so to read, since it’s only 207 pages. The plot sort of reminded me of the Wattpad book “Last Virgin Standing,” which I read years ago. The same sort of concept overall, but the characters and storyline are different.
Harper is an aspiring author working on self-publishing her first book. I’m not quite sure how realistic her self-publishing journey is, but I love the storyline nonetheless. It’s also nice to show that college isn’t the best option for everyone, which is something that I don’t think we get to see enough in any sort of media, or even in real life. As a character, Harper is smart and relatable, which are great qualities for a protagonist to have. I enjoyed reading through her point of view, and about her through Cain’s point of view, too.
Harper and Cain are both really into reading, with most of those books being classics that I’ve heard of but probably haven’t read. Even so, it’s definitely attractive when a boy likes to read, or at least puts effort into schoolwork. Harper and Cain *technically* meet for the first time (as in speak to each other–they encounter each other before that) in honors English, which shows that side of Cain as well.
Harper and Cain’s relationship is cute throughout the book, although due to the physical aspect of their relationship, I think that this book is more suited for older teens than it is for younger ones. The book has a more new adult feel, even though the characters are still in their senior year of high school. The book also includes a short epilogue that takes place two years after the events at the end of the book that summarizes the past two years and previews the future for our two main characters, which I LOVED!!
Overall, this was a fun, fast read, and I’m looking forward to reading more of Carrie’s books in the future! There’s a standalone novel called “You’re The One I Don’t Want,” which follows a minor character from “The Tenth Girl” that I can’t wait to read.