Release Day Review: The Hard Count by Ginger Scott

Welcome to THE HARD COUNT review
tour with Ginger Scott, hosted by Wordsmith Publicity. Be sure to check out all
the participating blogs, reviews and enter the tour giveaway!

Mature YA Contemporary Romance-Stand Alone
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 watchedit 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 worldscollide, even the strongest fall. But my world…it hasn’t met the boy from West End.

  ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Wow. Just wow.

I’ve been devouring Ginger Scott’s books ever since some Goodreads friends recommended them. I love each and every one of them. They all have something special, something I connect with. I always have a hard time picking my favorite, but The Hard Count has taken that problem away. It is officially my favorite Ginger Scott book. Let me tell you why.

When I first picked up the book, I knew I was in for something epic. Private school dynamics, football tradition, different sides of town, a forbidden love, a narrator who is behind the scenes of it all…It had the makings of a timeless love story.

As always, Ginger Scott’s writing was flawless, captivating and filled with heart. Her characters were complex and the situations they dealt with were relevant to today’s world.

Reagan was that easily forgettable girl everyone knew of in high school, but didn’t really know. She wasn’t popular or unpopular. She was just kind of around, taking everything in. Even after finishing the story, all I can remember about her looks was her long hair, pale skin and freckles. It was perfect. What stood out about her was her “voice”. I loved seeing the people, football, school, Nico –the world —  through her eyes. Despite her upbringing, or maybe because of it, she challenged who she was told she was supposed to be. I could identify with her struggle to be seen.

“I’m willing to go the distance,” he repeats. “No matter how far that is.”

Nico was one of those poor kids from the bad part of town you see overcoming adversity and making something of themselves on the local news. He was handsome, determined, nice and a good kid. He knew how to play “the game” by his own rules. I loved the respect he constantly showed throughout the story. Can I add him to my book boyfriend list since he’s 18? I feel kind of creepy, but man, he was so dang sweet and mature.

Arguing with him was always so easy. This — this is hard. The quiet. It’s too honest.

I loved how Nico and Reagan’s relationship slowly evolved throughout the story. They started out as competitors who didn’t necessarily like each other. Reagan took a chance asking Nico for help and it shifted their entire relationship. Their connection was so sweet. It was one of those high school sweetheart relationships you hope will last a lifetime.

The story didn’t just star Nico and Reagan, though. Every supporting character in this story was important and played into the social and political setting of the story. The ones that stood out the most were the Prescott and Medina family members.

Reagan’s entire family was submersed in the local football culture. Their lives revolved around a culture based on money, power and success. They all dealt with the pressure differently, but every decision each member made affected the entire family. The dynamics between them couldn’t have been more perfect.

Nico’s family life was vastly different from Reagan’s. They may have been in survival mode, but their relationships were stronger and closer. They did the best they could, while working for something better. Their lives weren’t about football, but family.

“Reagan, your world…Nico’s world…same fuckin’ world. You come from different parts, but who cares? You meet in the middle.”

The social politics of this story were right on and so important to today’s culture. I really respected the care with which Ginger Scott spotlighted the problems and prejudices so many face. Her message was clear and rang true. It made me stop and think about how I can change my initial perceptions.

Oh, and I can’t leave out the football part of this story! Ginger Scott’s love and understanding of the sport were apparent in this book. I’m not a huge football fan and I honestly didn’t know what a hard count was before reading this, but I enjoyed reading the plays on the field.

Normally, I’m addicted to a story and on a rush to the end to find out what happens. This one I had to slow down and savor. I knew I wasn’t going to want it to end. I didn’t want it to end. I’m just in awe of this book, this story. The heart that it had. I absolutely loved it. I can’t name one thing wrong with it.

That’s why I loved it and why you need to read it.

(Just in case you’re curious about the whole “mature” YA book thing, I can verify there is no actual sex. There’s a partial nudity scene, but it’s tamer than some other YA books I’ve read. It did have a more mature feel to it, though. I would probably say it’s best for ages 16+.)

1 signed copy of In Your Dreams, $10 Amazon gift card
Open International




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
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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