For Nell Becker, life is a competition she needs to win.
For Jackson Hart, everyone is a pawn in his own game.
They both have everything to lose.
Nell wants to succeed at everything—school, sports, life. And victory is sweeter when it means beating Jackson Hart, the rich, privileged, undisputed king of Cedar Woods Prep Academy. Yet no matter how hard she tries, Jackson is somehow one step ahead. They’re a match made in hell, but opposites do attract.
Drawn to each other by their rivalry, Nell and Jackson fall into a whirlwind romance that consumes everything in their lives. But when a devastating secret exposes their relationship as just another game, how far will Nell go to win?
Visceral and whip-smart, Laurie Devore’s Winner Take All paints an unflinching portrait of obsessive love, toxic competition, and the drive for perfection.
I honestly don’t even know where to start with this one. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where I liked the storyline but absolutely could not stand the two main characters. The story was interesting and I had a hard time putting the book down because despite my dislike for the characters I truly wanted to see what happened.
Our main character is Nell Becker. I thought the author did an amazing job of writing this character in a way that truly allows the reader into Nell’s every thought and emotion. However, inside Nell’s head is not a great place to be. Nell is a flawed character who throughout the story is really trying to figure out who she is. I completely agree with the message the author was trying to send but I think she missed the mark with Nell. For a character who is supposed to be working to show that girls deserve the same opportunities and treatment as boys do; she does a heck of job judging every girl around her. I think readers would want to see at least some redeemable qualities in Nell but I think it comes to late in the story and at that point I just didn’t care. Jackson wasn’t exactly a likeable character either but I think we saw things occur throughout the book that balanced his character out. I just couldn’t find that balance with Nell.
I felt that the true heart of this story and the message the author was trying to convey came way to late in the book. It felt as though the majority of this book was treated as a pity party for Nell and then things were wrapped up too quickly. It just didn’t feel authentic to how a situation like that would play out.
I think a lot of people will really enjoy this book. The writing is excellent and it hooks you in immediately. This just wasn’t the story (or characters) for me.
Thank you to Raincoast for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.