Friday, 31 May 2013

Review: The Academy - Game on by Monica Seles

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
Format: Paperback
Released: June 6th, 2013
Rating: 7/10

Amazon summary:

The Academy is the hottest international sports school for teen athletes. There are only two ways in: money – and lots of it – or enough talent to earn a scholarship. Young tennis star Maya’s dreams have finally come true! She’s got the scholarship. She’s got the drive. She’s on her way from small town to pro career . . . But when Maya starts boarding at the sports training school, her fantasy of the Academy doesn’t quite match the reality – because where there are beautiful, talented teens, there’s plenty of drama. Meet the players: Nicole: a tennis star who feels threatened by Maya (although she’d never admit it). Cleo: Maya’s rebel / punk room-mate who’s reaching the top of the golf world. Renee: a super-rich, super-gorgeous swimmer. Travis: the son of the Academy’s owner and perfectly groomed to be the next big star of the National Football League. Jake: Travis’s younger brother – and the bad boy of the school.


I'm always dubious when it comes to celebrities and sports personalities turning their hand to fiction. I usually avoid it as my past experience hasn't been an overly positive one, though something drew me to Monica Seles' debut novel. I'm a huge tennis fan and YA fiction like this is my guilty pleasure - think 90210 meets an ATP tennis tour and that's what you can expect to find here!

Maya Hart gets a scholarship to The Academy, a sports school for teenagers. There she'll learn to become the best in her field, forging a career for herself that will hopefully take her all over the world. She soon makes new friends at the school, and catches the attention of two brothers who just happen to be the Academy owner's sons. Talk about dramatic! What follows is a plot worthy of Gossip Girl comparisons, full of twists and turns and shocking revelations. Basically everything I love about YA fiction like this!

Monica Seles had some help with this novel, but I think it was mostly her writing. Either way, the writing holds up and the story kept me hooked all the way through. It is a bit cliched at times but I never let anything like that get in the way of my overall enjoyment of a book. I hope more authors will start mixing drama and sports, Miranda Kenneally does it well and now I can add Monica Seles to that list. I wasn't expecting great things from this book but I'm glad I gave it a go. I'm genuinely surprised by how much I enjoyed it!

The Academy: Game On is a fun, light read with plenty of angst, drama and tennis. I whipped through it quickly and am actually really looking forward to the sequel which is published in 2014. I've been looking for a book to replace the It Girl series that finished a few years ago, and I think this might just be it. Here's hoping the second book is just as good!


Ailsa said...

Sounds interesting. I've never heard of the author for - what's she famous for? The cover says she's an nyt bestseller, but like I said I don't remember hearing anything else about her.

Leanna (Daisy Chain Book Reviews) said...

As you know, I'm also a big tennis fan, so I'm looking forward to reading this one. Should be fun! Now, if only Rafa would start writing YA...but somehow I can't see that happening any time soon! ;)

caroline.taylor078 said...

I am wacthing the French Open as I type this, for some reason I expected this book to be aimed at a middle school age so to hear it is like 90210 mixed with tennis sounds a dream! I am definitely interested in reading it now!

prophecygirl said...

Hey Ailsa, Monica Seles is/was a professional tennis player.

Dana Shepard said...

Sadly, this book was not what I was expecting. Being a follower of tennis, this was the aspect I was most looking forward to but it barely played any part in the story. The sports academy in the book is just a cardboard setting, and the plot of humble girl getting taken in by the backstabbing rich kid and swooning over poorly developed love interests could honestly have taken place at any kind of school.

prophecygirl said...

Dana - I agree there could have been a bit more tennis, but I think that might be something that plays more of a part in the sequel(s), now that everything has been established in this book. I'm hoping for a big tournament or something - in sure that would cause lots of drama!

Ashleigh said...

Young Adult fiction has always been a guilty pleasure of mine too, just couldn't quite give it up as a I left middle/high school...boys, friends and drama, something every young girl can relate to! It would be interesting to find out how much of Seles' real life influenced the characters/events in the book.

Becky Scott said...

You seem to have a thing for sport-themed reads lately. I'm thinking about how much you love Chasing Jordan :-)

prophecygirl said...

Becky - yes, I do seem to have a thing for sports-themed books don't I? Catching Jordan was brilliant though. It just seems to make the girls much stronger characters, and it's a change from a normal high school setting.