Reviews

Dangerous Play, by Emma Kress

aanya12's review

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5.0

This book was deep!
And a beautiful read about strong women and the problems in our society!
A must read for every person on this planet!
Thank you publisher and Netgalley for a copy!

merricatfromblackwood's review

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adventurous emotional hopeful inspiring medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

mallorychritine's review

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adventurous challenging dark emotional tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0


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cadybooks's review against another edition

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emotional reflective medium-paced

marreadsbooks22's review

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3.0

3.5 stars

This book had a lot of good things. The exploration of the aftermath of something so tragic as an SA was very hard to read but it was done very tactfully albeit not too deeply. I just wish that would've been the main focus of the story, the actual emotional ramification of that. Heck, I would've love if the girls had gotten full vigilante plot! But what we got was a pretty lukewarm story.
I feel part of the issue was that there were too many things or subplots that in the end none of them developed fully.
It's a shame because the potential for an amazing book was there.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for the chance to listen this audiobook in exchange for an honest review

bookbruin's review

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4.0

CW: sexual assault/attempted rape (on page), mentions of rape, sexual harassment, misogyny, violence, sports injury (concussion), assault, guns, anxiety, post traumatic stress, bodyshaming, and injury to parent with lasting physical effects.

4.5 stars

This was a very powerful read. It was heartbreaking at times, but I thought the author tackled the issues head on in a realistic and honest way. At times I had a visceral response to what the characters were experiencing. The examination of rape culture was both eye opening and in some ways also sadly not. I think many readers will relate to the situations presented, so please note the content warnings before starting this one.

The writing was engaging and I liked how the sport of field hockey brought all these different individuals together on and off the field. I played field hockey throughout High School, so it was wonderful to see the sport featured in a book. Sometimes the game play scenes felt overly descriptive, but they added an element of excitement and helped convey the different emotions the characters were experiencing. Zoe's growth through the novel was very satisfying and I appreciated how realistic her journey was (the highs and the lows) and how she learned from her choices. Some aspects of the story came together a little too neatly at the end, but ultimately, Dangerous Play is a triumphant and empowering read.

*I voluntarily read an advance review copy of this book*

hayleysnextpage's review

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4.0

Dangerous Play is such an important YA book and an amazing debut from Emma Kress. Our protagonist is Zoe - co-captain of her school's field hockey team, her main goal is to get her team to the State Championship so she can earn a scholarship. But when she's sexually assaulted at a party, her team instead take their parkour skills and act as masked vigilantes, ensuring other girls feel safe in their hometown. But do they go too far in the end?

There were quite a few things to like about Dangerous Play:
- the unique field hockey focus.
- this strong group of badass teenage girls. I honestly wish they were my friends in high school! The way they supported each other was heartwarming.
- the sensitive but honest way Kress handled the topic of sexual assault from a teenage perspective.
- the character development. Zoe grows throughout the book, as she learns to live in the "after" and reclaim her power.
- the audiobook narration, as Jacobs did a fantastic job showcasing Zoe's emotions.

Dangerous Play is the kind of novel that tugs at the emotions. While I was proud of the girls at the end, I was naturally infuriated by the honest reflection of toxic masculinity and multiple instances of sexual assault and harassment. I encourage everyone, especially teenagers, to read this YA novel.

Thank you to NetGalley and OrangeSky Audio for the ALC in exchange for this honest review.

leahbrarian's review

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3.0

I thought that there were definite strong elements to this title, a readalike to Exit Pursued by Bear and We Are the Wildcats, particularly the main character, Zoe, who is fierce and flawed and whose perspective was extremely readable. The portrayal of her relationships with her parents, and her father’s disability were also really strongly portrayed, and I enjoyed the inclusion of her mother’s friend group, the Rebels. However, the large cast wasn’t particularly differentiated and even characters who were intended to stand out didn’t seem to have much personality. The pacing and transitions also seemed off, as if the story was too strict in following an outline and moving from one event to another, and the tone seemed to shift to be extremely dark without much warning or follow-through. Also, other readers might enjoy the game play-by-play, but I ended up skimming over quite a bit.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the eARC.

literallybookedsolid's review

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4.0

Zoe loves field hockey and her ultimate goal is to play at UNC. After a terrible season last year, Zoe and her co-captain Ava decide to work all summer to turn their high school team around. As season starts and their team begins winning, Zoe gets assaulted at a party, which turns her inside out and spirals the team into a losing slump. After more girls come forward with similar experiences, Zoe, plus the team, decide to take matters into their own hands, becoming vigilantes to save other girls from similar fates.

Dangerous Play is a story about friendship, what it means to be a part of a team and consent. I loved the loyalty that the team showed each other, especially when times were rocky for some of the girls. Instead of competing against each other, the players truly embraced each other, which is something that is sometimes hard to come by in the high school athletic setting. Seeing the team rally around each other repeatedly was inspirational.

This book delves into heavy content. It talks about assault and rape and what comes after for the victims. Every girl in the book was depicted as brave and loyal. Dangerous Play featured a large cast of complex characters with lots of layers.

Zoe was an excellent heroine. Her tenacity and perseverance was admirable. She shoulders a lot of outside pressure, which is very common for teens in high school. I adored the relationship she had with her father and the respect she showed him through her actions. The book did a wonderful job depicting a tough relationship with her mom, but then finding a way to meet in the middle.

⚠️ CW: assault, rape

Dangerous Play is out August 3.

Thank you Roaring Brook Press, Books Forward and NetGalley for the advanced copy.

mggpie's review

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5.0

Emma Kress's Dangerous Play is a wonderful addition to contemporary #metoo YA fiction. Dangerous Play follows Zoe Alamandar through her junior year of high school and the journey of her school's field hockey team. Zoe and her teammates bond on and off the field. As the team puts up with the harassment and assaults from male students, they are met with unfairness and double standards at every turn. As they try to cope with their separate traumas, they take matters into their own hands. Will their dangerous play on and off the field bring them the win and justice? Or will it tear them apart?