Published by Independently Published
Publication Date: April 30th, 2013
Also by this author: The Proposition, The Proposal, The Pairing
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
For Noah Sullivan being the best friend to a douchebag and player like Jake Nelson has never been easy. It's been a rocky road since kindergarten when Jake duct taped Noah to his chair before recess. With just six weeks to high school graduation, Jake accidentally blows his drunken ass up on his grandfather's tractor, and Noah finds himself immersed not only in a whirlwind of grief, but on a quest to find a mystery girl from Jake's past.
While cleaning out Jake's room, Noah and Jake's dad make a startling discovery. Instead of the obligatory porn collection or pot stash, they find a ring, but not just any ring. Its half a carat of commitment in a platinum setting-proving even man whores have taste. After Jake's mom pleads with Noah to find the girl who meant so much to Jake, Noah begins a modern day Grail quest to track the girl down.
Since Jake was a notorious player with a legendary collection of trophy panties, Noah finds himself in over his head. There are the usual suspects like Avery, the Ice Princess Jake dated for appearances, or Presley, the school mattress Jake dated for convenience. But the trail begins to point to the most unlikely of suspects: Maddie, the Valedictorian and choir girl who was trying to help the unmotivated jock graduate--the girl who also has surprisingly caught Noah's eye and meddled with his heart.
Hanging out with Maddie shows Noah a different side of Jake--one that was deeply human and surprisingly douche-free. And the more he tries to solve the mystery of the ring and of Jake, the more Noah starts to discover about himself and of love.
This book produced so many *feels* my eyes hurt….but I mean that in the greatest way possible!
When Noah’s best friend Jake dies is a freak accident, Noah is left in utter turmoil. All his life, Noah is used to losing the ones he loves. His grandfather, his best friend, etc. And under the unbearable weight of grief, Noah is used to shoving it deep in the recesses of his heart. He is constantly trying to be the ‘macho-guy’ always avoiding the powerful emotions and ‘man-ing’ up.
When Noah is helping collect Jake’s belongings for his funeral, he stumbles upon an engagement ring. When Jake’s mother finds out about it, she makes Noah promise that he will find the girl the ring belongs to. As Noah tries to discover who the girl is that Jake left behind, he ends up discovering a different side of Jake, and all of Noah’s per-conceived notions about friendship, life, love and faith are put to the test.
To say that I cried throughout reading “Don’t Hate The Player…” is an understatement. I know I could blame this on PMS, or the fact that I cry very often, BUT the emotions I felt reading this cut me to my core. In the acknowledgments Ms. Ashley states that the idea for this novel came after the tragic passing of one of her students. Between middle school and high school I remember 3 of my classmates that passed away and reading “Don’t Hate The Player…” brought back a flood of emotions that made me identify with Noah so strongly. I felt the pain every time he reminisced about Jake. I felt the cruel twist of irony that Jake’s life was gone before he could really start living. I think this novel was a beautiful testament to the grief, guilt and overall strength a person feels after losing someone.
“Don’t Hate The Player…” has romance but I think the reflection of Noah and Jake’s friendship, as well as the relationship between Noah and his family, really took center stage and created a beautiful story about grief and the ways one person can move on from that. This wasn’t just a story about Noah just finding love. Noah also finds strength, faith and forgiveness.
“Don’t Hate The Player…” is one of those books I could honestly recommend to my best friend or my grandma. I know it is technically “young adult” but I think the lessons and overall message would resonate to anyone that has lost someone.