A review by melaniereadsbooks
Dangerous Play, by Emma Kress

reflective tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


Thank you to Netgalley and Fierce Reads for an arc of this book.

Zoe Alamander is determined to lead her field hockey team to States this year. Zoe and her co-captain Ava spent the summer recruiting and training the best possible varsity team, and they are going to have each other's backs on and off the field.  But when the girls keep experiencing sexual assault and harassment from the boys at their school, they decide to fight back in the shadows.

Wow this book made. its. point!  The struggle with rape culture in this book is all too real and extremely poignant.  It was honestly making me feel a little sick because I know how true this stuff is in our schools and it was so frustrating to see the same stale arguments and victim-blaming happening in this book. It did such a good job illustrating the power differentials at play and a few of the different ways people might deal with that trauma.

I honestly really liked Zoe and related to her a lot (other than her overactive crush). I loved her determination and the way she fiercely fought for her teammates and friends, and for herself.  The sports aspect was very fun!

My only dislike of this book was the pacing. There were times when chapters felt like they ended really abruptly and started later on, and I didn't really like the way that worked. Some of the sports scenes in particular felt really drawn out and detailed, while things I thought were more important didn't always get enough air time.

Overall, I definitely recommend picking this up!

Pub Date: August 3, 2021

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