Game, Set, Match by Nana Malone
August 12, 2010
Paperback/E-Book, 354 Pages
The Wild Rose Press
Reviewed by Mandi
Izzy Conners has been raising the now teenage Nick, pretty much his whole life. Although not his birth mother, he has lived with her and she has cared and loved him as if he was her own. Sabrina, Nick’s biological mother has issues of drug abuse and dropping off the face of the Earth at convenient times. Izzy is acting currently as a foster mother, never being able to convince the courts to proceed with adoption. Izzy often wonders if it is because she is black, and Nick is white – but the courts say mothers and children should always be tried to kept together.
Fifteen years ago, Izzy and the now tennis superstar Jason Cartwright were friends – and maybe even a little more. But they lost touch – until now. Izzy has been scheduled to photograph Jason for Sports Illustrated. Jason is currently on the sidelines with a knee injury, but that doesn’t mean he is still not in the public eye. They reunite and there are definitely some sparks. But, Izzy is in a relationship with her manager Simon, although what Izzy feels the first five minutes she is with Jason is 100% more than what she has ever felt with Simon.
As they work together, their attraction flares. But life likes to throw curveballs, and this one comes in named Sabrina. Nick’s birth mom, and former lover of Jason has come back home. No one wants her there, but she causes trouble nonetheless. Izzy wants to do everything right for Nick, and Jason wants to prove to her he is more than just a playboy gossip tennis star.
Game Set Match is a pretty straight forward story of two people reuniting and working around adult, real life problems to make their relationship work. Izzy’s number one priority is Nick. Everything else goes on the back burner. So when Sabrina comes back to town, Izzy’s fear that she will take him away overwhelms her. She struggles with balancing her feelings for the three men in her life – Jason, Simon and Nick. I like that her and Jason already have a past, and they ended on not the greatest note, so they have an immediate trust issue. They not only face internal conflict with Sabrina, since they both have a connection to her, but the external conflict with paparazzi puts even more pressure on their friendship and eventual relationship.
Izzy comes across a little too perfect for me. She is the perfect mother to Nick, and overall I wanted her more flawed. She treats everyone so nice and kind and never says or does the wrong thing. I wanted her to have something more – something that made her stand out in the book. Paired up with Jason, their relationship becomes quite steamy and Nana Malone does give us lots of romance in this book. It all flows smoothly and nothing is rushed.
Nick and Jason are definitely more interesting characters. It was fun watching Jason deal with winning Izzy back and trying to keep Sabrina out of his life. For a teenager, I think Nick is portrayed well. He came across with his immature moments, not always handling the stress of his life well.
Overall, this is a light and easy read, although a bit predictable. Between the villain Sabrina (who gets off way too easy at the end) and the complications she brings into the story, there were no big twists delivered to the reader. But it will hold your interest and and Izzy and Jason have nice chemistry together.