Review by Kayleigh

Buy from

I hadn’t been this happy since I’d gotten the job offer from the Red Sox. But that’s the thing about getting what you want: the moment it’s in your hands, you have to make sure you don’t lose it.

Play for Me is a delightful read that merges sports and music to build a symphony that hits it out of the park!  

Sophie Doyle has her dream job as the head athletic trainer for her favorite baseball team (go Red Sox!), a handsome boyfriend, and easy access to the finest cannoli in Boston. When she loses all three and the World Series to boot, she’s forced to apply for the open trainer position at an arts-focused boarding school in New Hampshire. The only available room is a glorified closet in an apartment with three guys: Jonas Voss, the aloof and attractive orchestra teacher, and his two rambunctious roommates.

Sophie knows that training a bunch of privileged high school kids whose idea of a play is A Chorus Line instead of a walk-off homer is going to be a big change from the pro athletes she’s used to. She wasn’t expecting that these students would have big-time talent and even bigger-time problems. Sophie has troubles of her own—Jonas is a full-fledged grump who clearly doesn’t want her near him or the precious piano he never plays.

With sunny optimism, Sophie sets out to win over Jonas and help the kids she’s growing attached to. But when her relationship with Jonas moves to the major leagues and plans change at the end of the season, they have to choose whether they are playing for keeps. 

Play for Me is an utter delight. It crosses a sunny sports obsessed trainer with a grumpy classical pianist. And let’s just say they don’t get off on the best of terms. If you love forced proximity enemies to lovers then you need to read Play for Me. This was my first read by Libby Hubscher and I can’t wait to dive into her backlist. 

Sophie and Jonas are two characters who I enjoyed spending time with. Play for Me is written from Sophie’s perspective only so we unravel Jonas slowly with Sophie. Both Sophie and Jonas have baggage they are carrying – from parental death to verbal and emotional abuse and failures in their respective careers. I loved watching the two of them fall for each other while helping each other work through their baggage. After all, as adults our lived experience does impact our interactions with others and I love romance stories that highlight that we come into adult relationships carrying our wounds from past traumas – it isn’t up to our partners to fix us but rather to support us as we work on healing ourselves. Sophie and Jonas are a shining example of this.

There’s so much I could gush about the books: the setting (boarding school!), the characters (incredible cast of secondary characters!) and the sexy tension between Sophie and Jonas (just kiss already!) but one of the things that really delighted me was the analysis of similarities and differences between sports athletes and artists. As someone who went to an arts focused highschool I found many of the conversations to ring true – especially musicians and dancers who weren’t’ allowed to play sports in case they hurt themselves, for example. I loved the discussion of how artists, like musicians, should treat their bodies the same as athletes, as well as Jonas and Sophies many conversations about students’ futures and how to mentor them. I would have loved a Sophie or Jonas at my school when I was a teenager!

Play for Me hits all the right notes. 

Thank you to Berkley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.