Out of Play by Joy Norstrom Release Date: October 27, 2015 Publisher: Crooked Cat Publishing Chick Lit/Contemporary Fiction Stand Alone Book Number of Pages: 211 Kindle Edition Source: Net Galley ARC Rating: PG Read 9/27/16 to 10/1/16
The premise of this book seemed interesting to me. Although nobody in my family is a LARPer (that I know of!) I am surrounded by the type of guys who would possibly do that. My oldest goes to conventions and often does cosplay when he goes. So I kind of get it.
Although I really enjoyed the writing style and the story pulled me in, this was a slow starter for me. I can’t pinpoint the reason though. Of course the beginning is all set-up which is needed, but that’s nothing new. There’s a possibility that it’s because I wasn’t a huge fan of the heroine, Gillian. As the reader, I could totally see where she was going wrong and got frustrated that she wasn’t able to open her own eyes. Don’t misunderstand, I didn’t dislike her. I just wasn’t all in with her yet. As much as she frustrated me, I’ve known real people who have reacted the same way when knee deep in marital ennui.
By halfway through I was all in and had even thought I may give this book more than the 3 stars I was initially thinking it deserved. I still wasn’t thrilled with Gill’s way of dealing with her issues, but somewhere along the way I decided to have her back.
All along I just loved the relationship Gillian had with her best friend, Jas, and her goddaughter, Jas’ daughter Arianna. It was real and rough and loving and dirty and deep. They were her support system when she didn’t even realize they were the ones lifting her.
Where this book transformed for me was when Gillian’s truths started coming out. Now, most readers will figure out at least the basics of what caused the problems in Gill and Ralph’s marriage. It’s the execution of the reveal; the heart-wrenching eye-opening that Gillian has to go through to truly heal. These are the things that suddenly catapulted this book to damn near perfect in my eyes. I cannot even describe the feelings that went through me while reading the last few chapters. After the light humor through the beginning, things got super real. Having some of these scenes play out in middle of a LARP event kept them from totally burying me in emotions since there was still that element of oddness.
Joy Norstrom has a bright future in writing ahead of her.