Cover Redesign by me.
All for the Game: Book One
Written by Nora Sakavic
Young Adult, Sports, LGBT
Published January 15th 2013 by Smashwords Edition
Add to Goodreads
Neil Josten is the newest addition to the Palmetto State University Exy team. He's short, he's fast, he's got a ton of potential—and he's the runaway son of the murderous crime lord known as The Butcher.Neil Josten has lived his entire life on the run from his father. A father who would not hesitate to kill Neil if he is were to be found. Neil finds himself in the small town of Millport with a population of nine hundred. It is there that the coach from Palmetto State University finds him and offers him a spot on the team. PSU boasts one of the most aggressive Exy (a fictional sport) teams in America - the Foxes. It is no secret that to qualify, one must have had a difficult life.
Signing a contract with the PSU Foxes is the last thing a guy like Neil should do. The team is high profile and he doesn't need sports crews broadcasting pictures of his face around the nation. His lies will hold up only so long under this kind of scrutiny and the truth will get him killed.
But Neil's not the only one with secrets on the team. One of Neil's new teammates is a friend from his old life, and Neil can't walk away from him a second time. Neil has survived the last eight years by running. Maybe he's finally found someone and something worth fighting for.
After much consideration, Neil agrees to join the team - understanding the consequences of his face being flashed on plasma screens all over the nation making him a viable find for his father. However, Neil is not alone in his fight for survival. The Foxes consist of ten kids that are damaged and broken in their own way. The entire team has everything to gain, yet nothing to lose which makes them dangerous opponents both on and off the court.
I won't do this book justice. I know I won't. I can't even wrap myself around my thoughts at the moment. I'm stumbling through the woods trying to find my way out. I'm quickly discovering that this will be a series that will hold onto my soul forever. One of those books where you go nothing can get better than this book. I mean that with every bit of me. My only complaint is that the original cover is ugly, I had to make my own because I knew with one glance at the other one people would think it was a cheap story based on the lazy cover (shh we all care about the cover a little bit).
This book kept me awake. I finished it at nearly 3:30 AM and I couldn't sleep until 5:40 AM simply because I was worried for the characters as if they were real people. I had to hold off reading the second right at that moment because I knew if I started I probably wouldn't have stopped. I think when people hear a book consists of sports, we wrinkle our noses (unless sports are your thing). In my case, I hate sports so that was my initial reaction when I read the synopsis. But I was wrong, and 100% ignorant. I'm happy I pulled myself out of my shallowness and read this book.
Also the Exy (sports) scenes are actually bad ass and I was always into them.
I know I say a lot of the books I read are my favorites. That's because I'm open to enjoying just about everything as long as it entertains me. But this was different. The Foxhole Court gnawed a gaping wound into my feelings, it left me shattered. These characters, all ten of them broke my damn heart. They're on the team for a reason, horrible and gut wrenching reasons. But they are still strong. They are fighters, especially our MC's (Neil, Kevin and Andrew). This book consisted of the richest cast of characters I've ever read. Each was so different and had different personalities and voices.
The plot was brilliant. Despite the book heavily focusing on Exy, the plot was always up in your face. Neil puts himself in a vulnerable position, after eight years of running he has finally crept out of the shadows. His dad is a psychopath, and he knows one day he'll come for him. Not only that, but some of his teammates are rabid and viscious in their ways. Some will make Neil earn his place on the court, some will make him wish he never accepted the position. Either way, Neil must go through hell and back throughout the book. It made for a fantastic thrill ride that always had me nervous and pleading for the safety of Neil. Plus, there's a few plot twists that put me through the ringer.
"People want to pretend people like us don't exist, you know? Everyone hopes we're someone else's problem to solve. They don't understand, so they don't know where to start. They feel overwhelmed and give up before they've taken the first step."
The writing is a bit unpolished, but I think that's what added a special effect to it. There are no pretty words to nurture the nasty world the Foxes were birthed in. Nora Sakavic made sure to emphasize that she has no problem hurting a character. Nothing is predictable, nobody is safe. The Foxes have been fighting tooth and nail since birth. They'll fight to survive no matter the end result.
I probably won't review the next two, but since I've read them I'll tell you right now: This series is fucking amazing. It's so dear to me that I can't begin to tell you all how much the story and the characters meant to me. I don't care what I read after, nothing will beat this series.
Give this book a chance. You don't even have to spend your money on it, its free on Amazon and Smashwords. The sequels are only a dollar each. It's everything: broken boys and girls, bruises and blood, tears and sweat. The characters are loveable in so many ways, despite their flaws they are unhateable. The plot is terrifying yet exciting. The writing is raw and focused on telling a twisted and soul sucking story. There's nothing quite like this. I plead for everyone to read it and suffer with me.
Kynndra is going to go curl up on the heater and watch some X-Files while wallowing away about the end of this book.