The Harper Effect (ANZ)
Sixteen-year-old Harper was once a rising star on the tennis court until her coach dropped her, leaving her feeling abandoned by the sport she loved. Even worse, she now finds comfort in the arms of her sister's ex boyfriend—a secret that could start a family war.
But when Harper is offered a chance to get back in the game by training with young tennis phenom, seventeen-year-old Colt, she throws herself back onto the court . . . and into his family’s scary world of steroids and alcoholism.
As she walks a fine line between Colt’s secrets, her forbidden love, and a game that demands nothing but the best, Harper must choose between her past and her future, two boys who tempt her heart, and whether the cost of winning will actually cost her everything.
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Reviews of The Harper Effect
Kirkus Reviews raves that "Details about tennis and the struggles of teens on the cusp of adulthood are nicely balanced. Harper is well-characterized, and the secondary characters, including coaches and parents, ring true. Colt and his backstory are compelling, and the revelations are skillfully handled. The match action is pitch-perfect...A layered romance in a unique setting."
Publisher's Weekly says "debut author Bashford captures the conflicting emotions of a teen facing more than her share of dilemmas. Harper’s struggle to sort out priorities, understand the meaning of love, & emerge a winner will be strongly felt."
School Library Journal: "This sports romance will have readers asking all the right questions about growing up. Fans of Simone Elkeles’s Perfect Chemistry will enjoy the dialogue and bildungsroman style."
Teen Reads: "A heartfelt story about perseverance, believing in yourself, family and love, THE HARPER EFFECT did not disappoint. Bashford kept me hooked from the first page. I was so engrossed, I ended up reading it in one day."
“An exciting peek inside the world of professional tennis, this adorable young adult romance will leave you wanting to hit fireballs at your opponent across the court and snuggling up to your doubles partner after the match!” --Kristine Asselin, author of Any Way You Slice It
"Taryn Bashford has done a marvelous job blending tennis, teen angst and family strife. Harper is a flawed but totally relatable young woman who finds her better self through challenges to her rigid beliefs. I loved how committed and determined she was, yet so clueless and fragile at the same time. Not a single relationship in this book is simple, and that’s a testament to Bashford’s superior writing." --Alice Kaltman, author of WAVEHOUSE
"This novel is the kind of book that makes me want to be a better writer. There are so many wonderful things about this book: a high stakes plot, a gripping love story, characters who breathe and live on the page, details that place us in the exciting and unfamiliar world of professional tennis... Beautifully written, this story will stick with me for a long, long time. I only wish I would have had this novel when I was a teenager." --Tara Gilboy, author of UNWRITTEN.
"We've all faced that moment, when your life is turned upside down and the people, the carefully planned future, everything disappears. What we do in that moment is what makes us human, and that means that this book is, above all, about being human: growing up, coming to terms with who you are, and facing the struggles that make us real. I enjoyed every second of this read, and I know others will, too!" --Caryn Lix, author of SANCTUARY.
"Part love story, part family drama, and part coming-of-age novel. But at its core, it's a story of resilience. I really appreciated how every character had his/her own challenges to overcome-- and it was fascinating to get a glimpse inside the world of professional tennis. A fast-paced and cinematic read."—Ingrid Palmer, author of ALL OUT OF PRETTY
"An unapologetic, realistic novel about an ambitious young woman navigating the tough, complicated world of professional sports. Whether interested in sports themselves or not, readers will relate to Harper, the protagonist, who is tenacious, reflective and authentic – she makes mistakes, but she also searches for ways to fix those, to reconcile with herself, while remaining true to her identity as an athlete, a sister and a daughter, and, above all, a young woman. The novel doesn’t shy away from the topics of disadvantage, class, and access to opportunity – all very important when writing about professional athletes. Feminist, sex-positive, and extremely well-written, this book is an anthem for all determined girls out there, regardless of where in life they find their purpose."--Katya de Becerra, author of WHAT THE WOODS KEEP
“I am such a sucker for people falling in love after being forced to team up!...I loved the family drama, all the sports talk, and of course, I loved Colt. Sexy!”—Vicky Skinner, author of HOW TO BREATH UNDERWATER
"An absolute must read, and one I cannot recommend highly enough. It’s a story of childhood connections and memories, of emotional turmoil, of regret, of bad choices, of growing up and becoming your own person, to reconnecting and finding that place of healing. This book has it all.” --Juliann Wallace, author of VANILLA SWIRL
Sneak Peek: The Harper Effect
The dining room is where the ghosts and monsters play. That’s what Jacob said when I was five and he was six, necks curling around the half-open door, our eyes blurting fright. On a dare, we’d tiptoe into the room, dash around the table then jump through the French windows into the garden, screaming with delighted terror. Nearly twelve years later, it’s still my least favourite room in the house. Maybe that’s because it’s where the recent pep talks have taken place and the grandfather clock seems to count down the seconds to the end of life as I know it.
So when Dad and Coach Kominsky invite me to join them at the dining table, the cream-cushioned chairs imprinted with the bums of Jacob’s make-believe ghosts, I wrap my arms around my chest and respond with a brisk, "I’ll stay standing, thanks."
"There’s not an easy way to say this, Harper," says "Killer" Kominsky in his clipped Czech accent. He smooths a hand over his perfectly round shaved head, no freckle or bump daring to blemish it. "So I just speak the words. It is time for me to move on. I do not believe you are good enough to make it to the top."
The ground falls upwards. My chest squeezes.