I’ve never played chess in my life, but Ali Hazelwood’s YA novel Check and Mate had me wanting to learn.

It just makes chess sound like it’s so much fun. ♟️🖤

Here’s My Book Review of Check and Mate

Check and Mate is about Mallory, a fresh-out-of-high-school teenager struggling to pay her bills. Her mom is ill, and her dad is not in the picture.

She is trying her best but feels defeated; the bills are coming in faster than she can pay them.

Her friend Easton convinces her to do a chess tournament, but Mallory is hesitant since she swore off chess years ago.

Later, she gets an offer that could change her life for the better, and yet she doesn’t want to take it out of fear of what her family might think.

I found that Mallory was a very relatable character. Every emotion Mallory was feeling, I could feel as if I was her. When she was experiencing difficulties throughout the story, it was like I was experiencing them, too. For example, she was nervous when it came time to participate in the chess tournament. I could feel my own heart rate increase and the anxiety that she had when it was her turn to compete.

This book had me not wanting to put it down. Even when I had to set it aside, I felt the urge to go hide and read more. The unexpected scenes are enough to keep you wanting to read. There were a few surprises that I didn’t see coming, which is always the best part of a story. I love being surprised, even if I hate the surprise.

Another thing I loved about Check and Mate was that it had me laughing. It has some witty humor that will make you fall in love with it even more.

I never thought I would say this, but the story even had me wanting to play chess!

Let’s be honest: if you find checkers boring, you’re likely to think chess is too.

But the thing is, a well-written book makes you want to do the thing you never thought of doing before.

The one thing I dislike about the story is the ending. I was hoping for more closure for Mallory. I wanted to know more about how her life turned out. We saw so much growth, which is good—you want that for a character. But did she get the life she wanted? The ending that Ali Hazelwood gave us was a bit of a glimpse—and that was it. No indication of whether what you were rooting for actually happened or not. Just a bit of a guessing game.

I would recommend Check and Mate mostly to young adults and older, as there’s some talk of sex, and to those who enjoy a little romance. I think you would like this story whether you’re into chess or not; it will draw you in from the first page to the last. You will end up falling in love with every character that Mallory comes across. Well, almost every character; there’s one that definitely got under my skin a little bit.

I gave Check and Matea four-star rating. Only because I wanted a better ending.

I just wanted something more.

Nonetheless, I loved this book. You’ll probably find me reading it again.

This book review was written by our Bookly Pro Reader, Martiemary 💙

Book Synopsis

check and mate

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