‘Beautiful Game’ by Kate Christie

Kate Christie’s Beautiful Game (Bella Books) opens in 1991 when Camille (Cam) Wallace is starting her sophomore year at San Diego University on a soccer scholarship. Cam is focused on soccer. She’s not thinking about her future, she hasn’t yet met the love of her life, and is content to allow life to happen to her. Then she meets Jess Maxwell, the number one tennis player on campus. Jess is aloof and as focused on her sport as Cam is on hers. There is something about Jess that intrigues Cam.

This is Christie’s third book, following Leaving L.A. Here, Christie takes her time developing the story. She introduces Cam  at length, and we meet her best friend and teammates. We are told the details of key games throughout the season. However, Jess gets less attention. The reader gets no back-story on Jess, so we only know Jess filtered through Cam. Christie hints that Jess is flawed, but we don’t find out why until near the end of the book. Jess remains elusive right to the end. The book ends during the summer between Cam’s junior and senior years. We never find out what choices she makes, even though we know she is conflicted about what direction she should take, and we don’t know whether the team makes it to Nationals.

Unfortunately, this outing falls short of the excellent Leaving L.A. Christie’s writing in this outing is often cliche-ridden, Christie tells us way too much rather than showing us, and she rushes to the end as if her deadline were upon her, which may leave her readers feeling disappointed and cheated.

If you are a soccer fan, you will undoubtedly enjoy this book because of the sports details, but for many, this Christie outing will likely disappoint, especially if you enjoyed Leaving L.A.
Beautiful Game
By Kate Christie
Bella Books
Paperback, 9781594932458, 260pp
July 2011