Reading The Player Next Door was a nostalgic journey for me: the main characters were all in high school together and came together again years later. The main character, Scarlet Reed, was a misfit in her small town high school and was often made fun of because her mother was known for ‘getting around’. Throughout her high school career, while trying to distance herself from her mother’s reputation, Scarlet was bullied by Penelope and her sidekick Becca (although Becca sometimes was nice to her). One summer, Scarlet dated popular jock and heartthrob Shane Beckett, and it turned out to be a summer she would never forget.
Do any of these instances sound familiar? Thought so. The experiences these well-written characters endure are perfect examples of high school romance, drama and everything in between.
So many of the situations recalled in The Player Next Door reminded me of my own high school experiences, loves and drama. While the book takes place thirteen years after high school has ended, it’s funny to see the key memories each of the characters draws on. Scarlet remembers so many little instances from her summer romance with Shane, and she remembers being bullied in the corner of the bathroom by Penelope with such accuracy that they could have happened yesterday. Tucker writes a flawless representation of how we look back on experiences that seemed so monumental to us in high school; and in truth, those experiences did shape us.
Scarlet moves back to her hometown after thirteen years being away and faces all of the memories that shaped her through high school. She realizes that some of her deep-seated issues stayed with her even though she had been able to get away, and it isn’t until she is bombarded with all of the people she left behind that she is forced to face them.
The Player Next Door is a story full of flirtatiousness, love, humour, and a guide to facing those inner demons we all have. It’s the perfect K.A Tucker story and I couldn’t have been more excited to devour this one- especially during a time of such uncertainty in the world. The Player Next Door is the bit of the delicious escapism we all need right now.