SidelinedAfter being pushed to excel her entire life, high school basketball star Genna Pierce is finally where she wants to be. University scouts are taking notice, her team is on its way to the state tourney, and Jake Butler, the hot boy she's daydreamed about since ninth grade, is showing some definite interest. When he asks her out and their relationship takes off, Genna believes things can't get better.
by Kendra C. Highley
Published: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Then, it's over.
A freak accident ends her career before it's even begun. Her parents are fighting more than ever, her friends don't understand what she's going through, and she's not sure who she is without basketball. And while he tries to be there for her, Genna doesn't understand how Jake could ever want the broken version of the girl he fell for.
Her life in a tailspin, Genna turns to the only solace that eases her pain: Vicodin.
My Thoughts: Genna Pierce's whole life has been about basketball. Her dreams, her future, and her desires all revolved around playing the game. Now in her senior year in high school, things seem to be going great for Genna. The team is on the way to the State Championship, Jake, the guy she has crushed on what seems like forever is now dating her, and she has several colleges that want her to play for them. Everything changes the night of the tournament when Genna is severely injured resulting surgery on her leg to repair some major damage, followed by months of therapy, and having to face the fact that she won't be able to play basketball again. All of this sets Genna on a downward spiral. She's depressed, doesn't want to see her friends, she's embarrassed, her mom is driving her nuts, and the pain is more than she can bear. The only thing that helps numb the pain in her body and in her heart, is her new best friend - Vicodin, only it isn't really her friend at all.
Sidelined is a really great story with a fantastic message. Genna, the main character, is popular, a leader, and has everything going for her. After the accident, her life changes so much she can hardly come to terms with her life as it is now or her future. Her parents are fighting and there are things going on there that she isn't aware of, which really blindside her. Therapy is kicking her butt, and she gradually begins taking more and more pills until she is out of control, which leads to lying, doing things she would never have considered before, and pushing away everyone who loves her. Jake is great, I just loved him. He has a reputation as a player, but now that he's with Genna, he only has eyes for her, and he isn't afraid to call her out on things. Genna's dad was also wonderful. I wanted to slap her mom a few times because of the way she acted and the things she did. She was a heifer, but did start getting better by the end of the story. Then there was her best friend Rowen was also a really likable character.
I loved the message in Sidelined. This hits a personal note with me because I had a family member in a similar situation. He was burned severely, wound up on pain pills and addicted to them, almost lost everything trying to get them, and finally wound up in rehab because of the addiction. Kendra Highley has done a wonderful job in writing a novel that is not only a great story, but is also one that addresses a very serious and very prevalent problem that is escalating out of control in society today, with no respect for age group, gender, or social status. Sidelined is a wonderful story chronicling Genna's journey from the top of the mountain until she hits rock bottom, and everything in between. Genna falls down a lot, she gets back up again, and falls some more, until she eventually finds her place on the mountain once again. I really enjoyed Sidelined and appreciated the way Kendra Highley didn't sugarcoat the effects of addiction, nor the pain or challenges faced in the recovery process. The ending of the story was really great also, and yes, there is that romance that we all crave and love. Sidelined is really a great story and is something I would recommend and consider appropriate for younger teens to adults.
Kendra C. Highley lives in north Texas with her husband and two children. She also serves as staff to two self-important and high-powered cats. This, according to the cats, is her most critical job. She believes in everyday magic, extraordinary love stories and the restorative powers of dark chocolate.