I.Q. "Very few people know what it's like to step, mistakenly, entirely by surprise, into a black hole. The hole swallows you up before you really even get a chance to realize the horrible place you've fallen into. It is frightening, overwhelming, and swift, swifter than anything you can imagine. It swallows sound and heartbeats, logic and reason, and that is where Kylie found herself."
How many of us have experienced what it described in the above quote? I think (sadly) everyone will at one point in their lives, be at their lowest point (in the black hole), but I firmly believe that these are teaching moments and they make us stronger (I'm trying to live by 'what doesn't kill you, can only make you stronger' but it's hard!). Anyway, that's why I liked that quote, I feel like it accurately describes being at your lowest point.
In all honesty, I didn't really like this book. It was a nice story, but just too predictable for me. I thought it was way too similar to the author's other book Jason & Kyra. The story is a little old in movies and books. Popular boy is dared to try and seduce a 'nerdy or plain' girl, make her fall for him. Nerdy girl is a surprise, much different than what was expected, etc. And I'm guessing you know the rest (if not I won't spoil it).
In Played, the popular boy is Ian and the nerdy girl is Kylie. Ian is dared by a secret (very popular) high school fraternity to make Kylie fall sleep with him. If he succeeds, he gets to join the group and be one of the most popular guys in the school. Kylie is chosen because the guys in charge of the frat are sure that Kylie is a virgin (she is) and has never been kissed (she has, once), so it will be fun for them to watch and difficult for Ian to do. Kylie is suspicious as to why Ian is now interested in her, her girls try too warn her. Kylie surprises Ian, and starts to become more beautiful (in his mind at least) and special than he thought. Another guy comes into the picture, Terrence. He tutors Kylie in math and he really likes her. Ian has girl drama as well, because he likes another (prettier) girl, who doesn't understand why he even talks to Kylie.
I liked Kylie, but my favorite character is Dez. Dez is one of her best friends. She's a little more skeptical about Ian's sudden interest in Kylie and can be a little harsh. However, she's only that way because she truly cares about her best friend. Dez is loyal, straight-forward and kind. I also liked the part where the author threw in a reference to her previous book, Jason & Kyra, by briefly bringing the two characters into the story.
The writing is good and I like how Dana Davidson writes YA romance books with African American teens in them, we don't see many of those. (*Full Disclaimer I'm not a huge fan of romance books so it doesn't bother me, but I believe AA teens should have all the options white teens have in books including chick lit and romance novels).This book teaches a good lesson and the characters are genuine, but the lesson is one that has been taught before, over and over. All in all, I liked Played, but I thought Jason & Kyra was better. Read both and see for yourself. Let me know what you think.
For another opinion, read what Tashi thought.