A little backstory, shall we?
Way back in the year of 2013, I met a lovely lady on Twitter. Her name is Michelle Smith. Now, Michelle and I were Twitter buddies for a while, and at some point (maybe around April or May?) I swapped MSs with Michelle. I sent her a YA manuscript that's currently hibernating until I can deal with it again. And Michelle sent me PLAY ON.
Saying I fell in love with it is not an exaggeration in the slightest. Michelle is an incredible writer, and she manages to deal with some pretty heavy topics with grace and sensitivity. Not to mention she can write a romance like it's nobody's business.
Andplusalso, the shipping that goes down in that book is unreal. Seriously. Just thinking about it makes me all happy :)
When Michelle announced she had an agent representing her and PLAY ON, I was thrilled. When she announced her book deal with Spencer Hill... well, let's just say she probably heard me squeeing all the way in North Carolina.
There are not even words to describe how freaking excited I am to read the final version of PLAY ON- I'm sure it will be fantabulous.
AND GUESS WHAT?
In a true Circle of Life fashion here, I get to show y'all the cover for the book!
AND IT IS SO ADORABLE AND PERFECT I CANNOT EVEN.
I mean, JUST LOOK.
ARE YOU NOT DEAD WITH SQUEES? BECAUSE I AM DEAD WITH SQUEES.
In the small town of Lewis Creek, baseball is everything. Especially for all-star pitcher Austin Braxton, who has a one-way ticket out of town with his scholarship to a top university. All that stands between him and a new start is one final season. But when Austin starts flunking Chemistry, his picture-perfect future is in jeopardy. A failing grade means zero playing time, and zero playing time means no scholarship. Enter Marisa Marlowe, the new girl in town who gets a job at his momma's flower shop. Not only is Marisa some home-schooled super-genius; she's also a baseball fanatic and more than willing to help Austin study. As the two grow closer, there's something about Marisa that makes Austin want more than just baseball and out of Lewis Creek -- he wants a future with her. But Marisa has a past that still haunts her, one that she ran all the way to South Carolina to escape. As Austin starts to peel back the layers of Marisa’s pain, it forces him to look beyond the façade of himself and everyone he thought he knew in his town. What he sees instead is that in a small town like Lewis Creek, maybe baseball isn’t everything—maybe it is just the thing that ties them all together.
Michelle Smith: http://msmithbooks.com
Michelle Smith writes books for teens (and adults who aren't ashamed of their love for YA). She's a lover of all things happy, laughs way too much, and is a complete sap. She advocates for mental health awareness, and is a strong supporter of The Trevor Project, Love is Louder, and To Write Love on Her Arms.
Michelle lives in North Carolina with her family.
This book, y'all. It's sports and romance and dealing with mental illness in a real, honest, and sensitive way. It is everything you want in a YA book, and I am BEYOND excited for it to be published so I can push it on everyone I know.
And I am so, so, so happy for Michelle, and cannot possibly be prouder of her.
And because I can't give away any copies yet (there's no preorder button yet, but trust me, I will let y'all know when one goes up), I'm going to be donating $25 to one of her favorite organizations, TO WRITE LOVE ON HER ARMS. TWLOHA is an incredible non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide, and has saved countless lives. You can find out more about it here.
So, go and add PLAY ON to your TBR list on Goodreads, and go congratulate Michelle on her wonderful cover because ZOMG I'M STILL SQUEEING, and have yourself a fabulous Monday.