Head Games: A Pretty Tough Novel 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?
Head Games was the first novel in the Pretty Tough series that I have read and one of my first forays into sporty YA fiction. I really enjoyed reading about all the basketball plays and games and how focused Taylor was on the sport.
Taylor was a very relatable main character; dealing with a lot of ordinary teen problems. Not only was she uncomfortable in her own skin but she was adjusting to working on a fashion show with her best friend, Hannah. Taylor was incredibly tall and perfect for the modeling gig as well as playing basketball. I enjoyed reading about her high school experiences and ups and downs dealing with boys and the mean girls in her school. Keri Mikulski really got inside Taylor's head and made her a very realistic and believable teenager. Pop culture references, slang terms, everything was modern and actually what high school students would talk about today.
I'm not very athletic although I used to participate in cross country and track so it was interesting and eye opening to see how tough things can be for a basketball star. Taylor was under pressure from her team mates, coaches, and parents and was trying to balance basketball with the rest of her life. The basketball references in Head Games were not overly complex that it would be boring to someone not interested in the sport, but it also was interesting to learn some of the terminology.
There was drama among Taylor and Kylie, another girl on her team, which starts to disrupt the team's dynamic. There is also some romance in this novel that may not turn out well once Taylor discovers some boys are making a list seeing who can date the most girls.
Overall, Head Games was a fun and original debut novel by Keri Mikulski filled with fun twists and a great main character. I definitely recommend it!
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
January 6, 2011/Razorbill/284 Pages/Young Adult/Book Three
Source: Author/Publisher (ARC)
Other books in the series: Pretty Tough, Playing With the Boys (both written by Liz Tigelaar)