Friday, January 14, 2011

Book Review: Head Games by Keri Mikulski


Taylor is calm, cool, collected, and ferocious on the basketball court. A total all-star. Not so much in real life. She may be tall, gorgeous, and an incredible catch, but just try telling her that!

And lately, Taylor doesn't know which way to turn: The summer showcase game is almost here. Her BFF Hannah roped her into a fashion show (eek!). And she can't decide between Zach - the super-popular, super-tall, super-off-limits basketball dynamo - and Matt - the sweet boy from her math class (who may just be dating her BFF's older sister). It's enough to make any girl's head spin!

Can Taylor strike a pose, land the boy of her dreams, and win the game?


The Short Version:
Flirty and entertaining, Head Games blends teenage drama with sports in an enjoyable way. With a likable protagonist, an easy transition between high school, basketball and home life scenes, and some hottie boys thrown in the mix, this is a feel good read more than anything.

The Extended Version:
Taylor is an easy character to like and side with who not only is great at basketball, but loves it. Standing at six feet, she has an advantage on the court but feels completely out of place off, particularly around guys. The back and forth between these two sides is steady and well handled, and very realistic. Taylor wants everyone to like her, and to be happy, even at the expense of herself, which also helps to build not only her character but the plot.

Hannah, Taylor's best friend, is spunky and completely in to fashion, but the relationship between Taylor and Hannah has a great strength to it. Their banter is fun, their conversations deep, and their feelings clear. Despite the huge differences in their personalities and interests, they are close and this does add a very real note to the book.

The rest of the cast has enough depth to make them noticeable, with some garnering more attention depending on role. Zach is the stereotypical jock, seemingly sweet and charming while still have his cocky jerk side. Matt is just downright sweet, a good friend, and awkward in all the right ways. Holding a few secrets of his own, getting to know his character was a great element.

Naturally, basketball had a strong presence and role in this book, although I did find the overall team interactions to be over the top. However, given the nature of the book, this kind of playing into stereotypes and play ups can be expected, even if for convenience. Also playing on the issue of motivations for playing basketball, and how much stress being on the team can bring Taylor even if it's a sport she loves, adds another layer to the book.

The plot has a few story arcs that are weaved together well, and the final outcome is feel good, understandable, and ties everything up. There are several layers to this book, some deeper than others, and though overall, it's a very lighthearted and fun book, Mikulski does hit on some rougher stuff, even if only a little, to flesh things out. Add in the well done writing and Head Games is a great read for those that like sports and flirt.

Source: ARC received from publisher/author in exchange for an honest review
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: January 6, 2011


  1. Great review! Hannah and Taylor remind me of these two girls I know from college. I might pick this up out of curiosity :)

  2. I don't think I've ever read a YA book that revolves around sports. There just aren't many around, at least that I'm aware which has definitely got me interested in this book. And it has the classic love triangle, which I love! Great review!

  3. Great review. I love reading books like this because it takes me back, way back :) to when I was dealing with all the same issues

  4. Thanks for the great review!~ Head Games sounds like a fun book to read.

  5. Good review! I think a lot of girls will like this "sporty" book! I know my daughter will.


  6. This sounds like a cute read. Great review.


  7. I agree with Theresa...I haven't read many sporty ya novels. Might give this one a try!

  8. I agree with Theresa and Erin. This will probably be my first YA book that has sports as a main topic. Great review!

  9. Thanks for the review--sounds like a good YA read!

    eemoody77 at gmail dot com

  10. This book looks like a lot of fun! I've read so many YA books lately that are so dark and depressing! I need something light!