Romance” “Game of Love”

GOL Cover  Game of Love by Ara Grigorian

Though a citizen of Great Britain, Gemma Lennon is a Spanish beauty with azure eyes. While her celebrity has made her wealthy, it is her talent as a tennis player that she dreams of fulfilling. Through injury, often related to bad judgment in romantic relationships, Gemma’s great goal–winning a Grand Slam tournament–has eluded her.

At a particularly low point, after an accident and a lopsided loss at the Australian Open, Gemma meets Andre. Coincidentally, the two land in the same place a few times and end up on a flight together. Gemma doesn’t know exactly what Andre does for a living, but he is clearly brilliant and very good looking as well.

For his own part, Andre has as many reasons to stay away from a new romance as Gemma does. His have more to do with his high-tech job, his responsibilities to anti-terrorist work and his contract as a consultant to M&T, which will yield him a huge bonus if he can stick with the work for another six months.

Yet the pair is immediately attracted to one another, and they are quickly falling in love.

This isn’t a romance about a third party who appears to be a valid romantic rival. In this love triangle, it’s work and its rewards that is the illusory infatuation. This is fun for the reader.The fan of romance may enjoy reading about the lifestyles of Andre and Gemma–wealth and celebrity and all of the nastiness of the paparazzi and the journals and magazines that earn their living by lying about the famous. Yet, on a more personal level, readers will be able to relate to the predicament of balancing work and love, of the attempt to be happy through meaningful work without allowing it to ruin meaningful relationships. Gemma and Andre’s battle is on a grander scale, but ultimately, it’s one that we all have to fight. So, of course, we’re rooting for the good guys.

High school housekeeping: Game of Love is a good choice for teen romance fans. It is refreshing to step away from the usual love triangle. In YA romance novels especially, the ‘wrong partner’ always seems too obvious and, while the author insists that the female protagonist is smart, she is often so stupid about recognizing which man or boy is doing what to harm her that I just tire of her and the whole business. (Strangely, authors of future dystopias do a better job of creating love triangles than authors of YA romances.)

The romance between Gemma and Andre is very sweet and much of the physical aspect of the relationship is left to the imagination. I think this is a good choice for an author to make, and not because I am prudish about teens’ reading. I recently read in a nonfiction book about how to write that sex scenes are very difficult to create because once the writer starts, he stops dealing with his individual characters–they lose their personalities–and enters the mechanics of the physical relationship, which can leave the reader with an ‘oh brother,’ sense of the scene.

One last thing–I’ve had students who have asked me for a book of fiction that has some tennis action in it. I’ve never been able to think of something to recommend. Well, here’s one! Happy reading, romance and tennis fans.

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About Victoria Waddle

I'm a high school librarian, formerly an English teacher. I love to read and my mission is to connect people with the right books. To that end, I read widely--from the hi-lo for reluctant high school readers to the literary adult novel for the bibliophile.
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