As the daughter of a successful Major League pitcher, Charlie Hastings has baseball in her blood. Unfortunately, being the only girl on her high school baseball team, Charlie has always been just one of the guys. When her best friend, and secret love of her life, asks another girl to the prom, Charlie is devastated. She’s tired of being overlooked by boys because she’s not like other girls. Suffering a massive identity crisis, she decides to hang up her cleats and finally learn how to be a girl. But with only two weeks until the state championships, the Roosevelt High Ravens can’t afford to lose their star catcher. Team captain Jace King makes her a deal: Don’t quit the team, and he’ll help her become the girl she’s so desperate to be. After all, he’s got four sisters, one of whom happens to be a cheerleader. He knows a thing or two about girls. (And if he can win her heart in the process, all the better.) From the bestselling young adult author of Cinder & Ella, V is for Virgin, and the Avery Shaw Experiment comes a new sweet romance that's sure to leave you with all the feels! Girl at Heart is a clean and wholesome sports romance that will leave you with warm fuzzies and an itch to watch a baseball game.
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The unpredictability of the story was refreshing, as it wasn't abundantly clear how the relationships would pan out. While feeling out of place when her best friends react poorly to the idea of her even considering attending the prom, it hurts her. She can't understand why the mere thought of her in a dress would be so horrible to them. It hurts even more when Eric asks someone else to prom. All of these things together are enough for her to question who she is, and in doing so, she decides that maybe the team isn't for her. Yet, she finds a keen sense of understanding in her team captain, Jace, who has been harboring his own crush on Charlie for years. Jace is the stuff book boyfriends are made of – sweet, intelligent, and extremely attractive.
When Charlie confides in Jace about how she feels about always being seen as only the tomboy, he helps her find herself. When he brings his twin sister Leila into the mix, Charlie finds out just how much fun being a girl can be. This makes her friends – especially Eric – upset that she's changing, but she finds the process cathartic. Needing a push in a different direction is just what Charlie needed, and it satisfies her more than she ever thought possible.
'Girl at Heart' has a healthy mix of emotion, from pained to lovestruck, and it encapsulates so much of what people nowadays wish for but don't necessarily get. Everyone longs for something. This hope is what makes us human. If we would just reach out and try to take it, like Charlie does in this book, maybe we'd all be a little bit happier. If Charlie had only listened to her friends, she might never have found a part of herself that allowed her to learn and grow and gain new perspective. May everyone have such good fortune! A must read!
Just about everything. This was an adorable YA Contemporary Romance with a surprisingly well-rounded main character. Charlie's relationship with her father felt sweet and real. Watching her form her first female relationship equally so.
The plot was fun and right on par with the genre, all culminating in that HEA we all know and love from Oram.
Where I Wanted More:
I could have used just a little more from nearly all of the side characters, but they were entertaining and served their purposes perfectly well.
This is a perfect feel-good, pick-me-up, perfect for a long, sleepless night or a rainy day kind of book.
“As the daughter of a successful Major League pitcher, Charlie Hastings has baseball in her blood.” This first line of the blurb says it all. Charlie is a catcher, top in her league as her team enters the playoffs. She’s happy with this life, but as a senior in high school, she knows the likelihood of playing in college is low. Baseball is a boys’ sport. She isn’t bitter about it, she accepts it. But she is now having a bit of an identity crisis. She’s always been just one of the boys, her three best friends are boys, and they treat her like a boy, not a girl. But Charlie is a girl, she just doesn’t have anyone to show her the girly things in life. When her secret crush on her best friend is (for lack of a better word) crushed, she’s ready to throw in the towel. Then enters the team captain Jace King.
Jace isn’t like Charlie’s friends. He’s kind and empathetic. As the older brother of four sisters (I think that’s the right number), he gets girls and understands Charlie’s dilemma. Not to mention he may be harboring his own crush. I love Jace. He is exactly what Charlie needs when her world seems to fall in on itself.
The plot of this one reminds me a lot of the movie She’s All That. Now Charlie isn’t the shy nerd from that movie, but the transformation and how her friends react to it are similar. Like all of Kelly Oram's books, Girl at Heart explores the emotions and struggles of the character in a realistic, natural way. I knew Charlie, she felt real. I cried with her, laughed with her, and shared her joy as she discovered herself. I may have even fell in love with the King boy. Shhh…don’t tell Brian ?
Overall I love Girl at Heart. I read it in one sitting and really want to pick it up and read it again. Set in the same world as Robin Daniel’s One of the Girls, it makes for a fun tie-in to the others at Roosevelt High. Not only do you have a cameo from that series, there is at least one easter egg from Kellywood, and I may have squealed and giggled as Charlie learns to do in this one. What makes this book stand out above her others is the relationships that Charlie establishes. Not just with Jace, but with Leila and her dad. I love how well built and real they feel. If you enjoy YA contemporary or you’re looking for a fun, sweet romance, I highly recommend you grab a copy of Girl at Heart.
**This review first appeared on Mom with a Reading Problem. To see it and other reviews, visit https://www.momwithareadingproblem.com