Playing to Win, Ashlie Knapp: Book Review

playing to win ashlie knapp book / Ashlie Knapp
Playing to Win Book Cover Playing to Win
Playing Series
Ashlie Knapp
Adult Fiction
Ashlie Knapp

Spunky, quick-witted twenty-one year old Callie Thompson is a University of Oklahoma journalism student by day and Oklahoma City Thunder dancer by night. Callie hopes her connections with the franchise might get her foot in the door for a sports broadcasting job when she graduates. She just has one rule: never date the players.

Kyle Kelly is the deadly handsome and charmingly Southern Thunder man of the hour. All the twenty-six year old is looking for is an NBA championship to call his own. An unexpected meeting with an opinionated, feisty Callie, however, who is very unimpressed with his celebrity status, sets his sights toward winning two things: her heart AND the championship.

Ashlie Knapp has created a romance you will not forget and will not be able to stop talking about. This is the first one in the Playing series.

Knapp is able to construct these relatable characters, even though they both do not have normal jobs.

Callie Thompson goes to school for journalism at the University of Oklahoma. But during the evenings, she is an NBA Oklahoma City Thunder professional cheerleader. She does not have a normal life by any means, but she is making it work. One of the biggest reasons why she is a dancer is because she is hoping to get a job in sports broadcasting. This job could give her many contacts and help advance her career in journalism. This job also helped her with her tuition for the University of Oklahoma. She was raised by her single dad and what they didn’t have a lot of was money. So on top of all this, she made one single rule to follow if she was going to be a professional basketball cheerleader: to not date any of the basketball players. But she obviously does not follow that.

“Being a professional basketball cheerleader had its perks. Callie did get paid, even though her salary was minuscule at best. Still, it helped pay the bills, so who was she to complain? The real money was actually made when she was required to go to sponsored events like fan meet and greets or hobnobbing with the executives of the team. Besides, it also got her an amazing court side view night after night without paying for a ticket. For a daughter of a career basketball coach, that was a dream come true.”

— excerpt from Ashlie Knapp’s Playing to Win

Then there is Kyle Kelly. The star player for the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team. His goal (and all of NBA players’ goals) is to win the National Championship. He does not want anything to get in the way of that. That is until he meets Callie. What intrigues him the most about Callie is the fact that she could care less that he is the star player and who is really famous. So his goals sort of change. All he wants to do now is win the championship and win Callie over. But it won’t be easy.

“Heck, Curly didn’t even like him. Lord willing, he was going to change her mind. And he only had five times to do it. Which was why he was sitting on the curb outside her apartment, or what she said was her apartment, at three in the morning, with a pizza and sweet tea.” (Kyle had a nickname for Callie, which was Curly.)

— excerpt from Ashlie Knapp’s Playing to Win

My favorite part of this novel was the beginning of Kyle and Callie’s relationship. You could tell how hard Callie was trying not to fall for him and how hard Kyle was on trying to make her fall for him. It was fun to read the tug-and-war between the two. I recommend this to anyone who is looking for a sweet, romantic beach read.

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Jessica Duffield
the authorJessica Duffield
Contributing Writer
I am a sophomore in college. Books are my passion and I hope to work in book publishing once I graduate.