Title: The Hard Count
Series: Standalone Novel
Mature YA Contemporary Romance-Stand Alone
Author: Ginger Scott
Release Date: July 15, 2016!

Nico Medina’s world is eleven miles away from mine. During the day, it’s a place where doors are open—where homes are lived in, and neighbors love. But when the sun sets, it becomes a place where young boys are afraid, where eyes watch from idling cars that hide in the shadows and wicked smoke flows from pipes.
West End is the kind of place that people survive. It buries them—one at a time, one way or another. And when Nico was a little boy, his mom always told him to run.
I’m Reagan Prescott—coach’s daughter, sister to the prodigal son, daughter in the perfect family.
Life on top.
My world is the ugly one. Private school politics and one of the best high school football programs in the country can break even the toughest souls. Our darkness plays out in whispers and rumors, and money and status trump all. I would know—I’ve watched it kill my family slowly, strangling us for years.
In our twisted world, a boy from West End is the only shining light.
I hated him before I needed him.
I fell for him fast.
I loved him when it was almost too late.
When two ugly worlds collide, even the strongest fall. But my world…it hasn’t met the boy from West End.
 I'm just going to lead with the fact that THIS. BOOK. IS. INCREDIBLE. I can't remember the last book I read that completely captivated me the way THIS extraordinary book just did. This was my very first Ginger Scott book and within two or three pages I was absolutely addicted to her writing style. Within four or five pages I was absolutely consumed by this storyline. The cover screams sports romance. The prologue whispers of an emotional, difficult journey. The first chapter alludes to the potential for an enemies to lovers romance and, given all of that, I was sold. Within mere pages, I was sold. I fell in love with two characters and an author in a matter of moments and that love only grew exponentially with each turn of the page.

It seems so simple, this story. In many ways, it's your quintessential YA football romance where a seemingly privileged daddy's girl falls for the disadvantaged boy from the wrong side of town. But this story is so layered, so poignant, so unexpected, it's a whole lot more than anything I anticipated. So. Much. More. The Hard Count is a story of finding love in an unlikely place. It's about opportunity and struggle. It's about football and passion. It's adorably sweet, with moments of tenderness, humor and swoon-worthy romance. It's about breaking barriers, standing up for what's right, and refusing to accept the labels others place on us. It's about bravery and determination and love. It's about the unlikely hero you never saw coming and the heroine who believed in him. It's a coming of age story of love and friendship and family. It's about tradition. It's about brotherhood. It's about survival. It's about two teenagers just trying to write their own stories, trying to figure it out as they go. It's about standing up for yourself, facing adversity head-on, and fighting for what you want... what you deserve.

The writing in this book is absolutely stunning. I found myself holding my breath at times, like I was underwater, feeling and seeing nothing but what Ginger Scott illustrated for me on these pages. I found myself gasping over words so beautiful they took my breath away. It was as if I could only breathe in one thing and I chose words over air. Each word is so meticulously chosen, so precisely placed that even the tiniest detail, the smallest movement, the most subtle smirk packs such a punch, evokes such emotion. The storytelling is brilliant. I'm a reader that appreciates simplicity, authenticity, and a clean, polished story and Ginger Scott delivered with The Hard Count. I don't often reread books these days, but THIS will be a book I go back to again and again just to feel all the things I was made to feel within these breathtaking pages.

If you're a fan of Friday Night Lights (the TV show, not the movie) you will LOVE this book. The Hard Count is a story all its own and I hesitate to compare it to a sports storyline that already exists because there's truly nothing like it. But this story gave me many of the same feels that I loved so much about that show. It's a story firmly immersed in the game, in a town where tradition and titles are the ultimate measure of the program. Where a coach tries to unite a team and save his job while the boosters behind him only care about themselves and their own. Where the game wars with romance and drama to make for a layered storyline peppered with familial strife, friendships tested by loyalty, pep rallies and unexpected attraction. This story took me back to high school, to the excitement of game night, to the anxious feelings of first love. This is by far the most unputdownable, unforgettable high school sports romance I've read, and it's unequivocally one of my top reads of the year. I loved it. I absolutely LOVED it.

Jessica's Rating:

Ginger Scott is an Amazon-bestselling and Goodreads Choice Award-nominated author of several young and new adult romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling, You and Everything After, The Girl I Was Before, Wild Reckless, Wicked Restless and In Your Dreams.

A sucker for a good romance, Ginger’s other passion is sports, and she
often blends the two in her stories. (She’s also a sucker for a hot quarterback, catcher, pitcher, point guard…the list goes on.) Ginger has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for more than 15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns. For more on her and her work, visit her website at http://www.littlemisswrite.com.

When she's not writing, the odds are high that she's somewhere near a baseball diamond, either watching her son field pop flies like Bryce Harper or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ginger lives in Arizona and is married to her college sweetheart whom she met at ASU (fork 'em, Devils).


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