Book Review: Playing Hard to Get by Monica Murphy

Monica Murphy’s “Playing Hard to Get” is the first book in The Players series, an engaging tale of college romance set against the backdrop of college football. The story unfolds on a college campus where our protagonist, Knox Maguire, is the football team’s star offensive tight end and the king of the campus.

His life takes an unexpected turn when he crosses paths with a shy, quiet girl who is his polar opposite in every aspect. This novel is more than a simple love story; it’s a narrative about self-discovery, trust, and the courage to step out of one’s comfort zone.

Playing Hard to Get by Monica Murphy

TitlePlaying Hard to Get
AuthorMonica Murphy
GenreFiction, Romance
Publication DateDecember 1, 2022
Length396 pages

Where to Purchase

The Intriguing Plot

The plot catches your attention right from the start, with the contrasting personalities of Knox and the unnamed female protagonist creating a tension that keeps the pages turning. She’s quiet, shy, and fresh out of a breakup, whereas Knox is loud, popular, and the ultimate player known across the campus.

When she becomes his English tutor, she’s determined to keep their interaction strictly professional, a resolution that is tested as they spend more time together. The dynamics between them change gradually, bringing them closer in a way neither of them anticipated​​.

The story takes a delightful turn as they find themselves getting hot and heavy in the library, a place once symbolic of their contrasting lives. Their growing attraction is palpable, and as they get to know each other better, they realize there’s more to their relationship than just physical attraction.

The budding romance between Knox and the female protagonist is tender, filled with the anxiety and excitement that come with new love, and readers will find themselves rooting for them despite the odds.

Character Analysis

Knox Maguire is portrayed as a typical college athlete – confident, popular, and not shy about his conquests. However, beneath the facade, there’s a person with fears and insecurities, making him a relatable character.

On the other hand, the female protagonist, whose name we later find out to be Joanna, is introverted, intelligent, and cautious, especially around Knox whom she deems as a player. The author does a wonderful job of portraying her internal struggle as she battles her growing feelings for Knox against her fear of getting played​.

Monica Murphy has crafted well-rounded characters whose interactions feel genuine. The dialogues are witty, the banter between Knox and Joanna is entertaining, and the chemistry between them is electrifying. As Knox pursues Joanna earnestly, their romance blossoms, revealing a tender, emotional connection that goes beyond the physical attraction.

Final Thoughts

“Playing Hard to Get” is a captivating read that explores the uncertainties of young love, the thrill of the chase, and the vulnerability that comes with letting someone into your heart. The narrative is engaging with a good blend of humor, emotional depth, and romantic tension that will keep readers invested in Knox and Joanna’s story.

The college setting, the football backdrop, and the opposites-attract trope are well-utilized to create a believable and enjoyable narrative. Whether you’re a fan of sports romances or new adult romances, this book is a delightful addition to your reading list.


  • Elsie Sandlin

    Elsie Sandlin is a talented content writer and she seamlessly blends her love for reading with her flair for crafting engaging content. She finds solace and excitement between the pages of books, with a particular fondness for romance novels. Reading is not just a hobby for her; it's her favorite activity, a constant source of inspiration and joy. With a soft spot for love stories, Elsie has a discerning eye for the nuances that make each romance book unique and enthralling. Her reviews are not only insightful but also resonate with the hopes and dreams of readers who seek escape and connection through these tales of love. Through her words, she guides readers to the romance novels that are sure to captivate their hearts and imaginations. Elsie's deep and personal connection with the genre lends authenticity and warmth to her writing, making her an invaluable member of the book review team. Whether you're a seasoned romance reader or a newcomer to the genre, Elsie Sandlin's thoughtful recommendations and reviews are your compass to finding books that will whisk you away on romantic adventures.

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