Saturday, October 26, 2013

ARC Review: Sidelined by Kendra C. Highley

Author: Kendra C. Highley
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Genre: Young Adult
Source: eARC via NetGalley

After being pushed to excel her entire life, high school basketball star Genna Pierce is finally where she wants to be. University scouts are taking notice, her team is on its way to the state tourney, and Jake Butler, the hot boy she's daydreamed about since ninth grade, is showing somedefinite interest. When he asks her out and their relationship takes off, Genna believes things can't get better.

Then, it's over.

A freak accident ends her career before it's even begun. Her parents are fighting more than ever, her friends don't understand what she's going through, and she's not sure who she is without basketball. And while he tries to be there for her, Genna doesn't understand how Jake could ever want the broken version of the girl he fell for.

Her life in a tailspin, Genna turns to the only solace that eases her pain: Vicodin.

I have so many feels about this book. It packs a powerful message and it was incredibly realistic. While I never got addicted to painkillers, I have first hand experience on Genna's emotions and insecurities and I completely connected with her. I was a basketball player in high school too and I suffered a career ending injury my senior year as well. I know all too well the emotional distress and depression she falls into. I pulled away from my friends a bit and began fighting with my parents. When you lose something that you feel defines you, it's like you've lost a little piece of yourself and at that age, it can be overwhelming to deal with.

Genna is a basketball star and she loves the game. She eats, sleeps and breathes basketball. She is constantly pressured by her mom, who seems to be living her unrealized dreams through her daughter. While Genna really just wants her mom’s approval, she plays basketball because she loves it. After securing a spot at the state tournament and being asked out by her long time crush, Jake, Genna is on cloud nine. Everything seems to be falling into place for her. During her first game at state, she suffers a brutal injury that will keep her from every playing competitive basketball again.

I really liked Genna, she reminded me a lot of myself at that age. She is determined, confident, athletic and hard working. Basketball is her passion and she works hard at it. She is a team leader and everyone looks up to her. When she gets injured, she feels broken. She has always defined herself with basketball and now that it’s gone, she doesn’t know who she is anymore. My heart went out to her because I know that feeling of loss all too well. If she didn’t have basketball, who was she. This is what bonded her to her mother and her friends. While the vicodin is prescribed to her for the pain, it becomes painfully obvious that she starts using it to numb more than just the physical pain. I really became worried about her as she continued to up her pill intake.

“Will I always be hungry like this? Because, right now, I’d take a pill even if I had to pick it up off a dirty truck-stop floor. I’d promise never to see Rowen again for a two-day supply. I’d agree never to touch a basketball again for a single bottle. I’d give up Jake.”

Jake is a genuine good guy who truly cared about Genna and it really scared me when she became insecure and started pushing him away because I didn't want her to lose him. He was the kind of person she really needed in her life and I was so afraid she would push him away for good. He saw the signs in Genna and wanted to help her. I really liked that he didn’t give up so easily, because he didn’t see Genna as being broken like she saw herself. He knew that basketball didn’t define her, that her addiction to vicodin didn’t define her, that she is so much more than those things. She just needed to believe them herself.

I loved that Genna had a really good support system in her friends and family. Her best friend Rowan was loyal and always there for her when she needed her. Her dad was awesome and he got her the help that she needed and he took care of her and put her first despite the things going on in his life. I really liked the amount of familial interaction in this book. You don’t always see that in young adult books but it was definitely a highlight for me. Even though I felt like Genna’s mom was selfish, I know she really cared about her. I understood the feelings had towards her mom and the anger was definitely not misplaced. Her mom always put all this pressure on her but when she needed her the most she wasn’t really there. 

One of my favorite parts about this book was that it didn’t just focus on Genna’s addiction. Her recovery play just as big of a role. I loved that her friends and family recognized what was going on quickly and they jumped into action. Recovering from a serious injury and a pain medicine addiction at the same time is tremendously tough and it definitely tested her resolve. She is a fighter and not a quitter so to see her so vulnerable at times was heart wrenching. However, she climbed out of the hole and fought her way back to health and happiness. She made amends with the people she hurt and she finally understands that basketball isn’t what made her who she is. Who she is was what made her good at basketball and she can put those qualities towards discovering a new future.

I really enjoyed the plot of this book and found it so unique and refreshing. It isn’t something you see explored often in the young adult genre and I loved the way the author handled it. Every emotion that Genna felt and the identity crisis she experienced was so realistic and this book was so well written.

~IPOD Picks~
“Fighter” by Gym Class Heroes
“Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson
“Shake it Out” by Florence & The Machine


*An eARC was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions expressed are my own and unbiased.*


  1. Oh! YAY! I have this! I need to read it pronto! I love sports stories and this sounds right up my alley because I too, played basketball! :D Great review chica!

  2. I find you and I have more in common with each conversation we have :-) If only we lived closer! This was a really great sports read and I definitely connected with Genna.

  3. Aww I remember us talking about this and you saying that it would be an emotional one for you! Glad you connected with it despite the painful memories, It does sound like a lovely book! Great review love x

  4. Thanks girl! It was a really great book! I think you'd like it.


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