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Reviewed by Caitlyn Lynch for Readers' Favorite
Game Changer is a charming, clean New Adult romance about an unlikely couple who would probably never have found each other and fallen in love, were it not for an unexpected twist of fate. Charissa Stastny has created a delightful heroine in Meridee, a girl-next door type who works night shift at the hospital and thirty hours a week at the college ice-cream parlor, all while somehow maintaining a straight-A average on her undergraduate degree. Meridee has a secret, however; plain face and boring life aside, she harbors an enormous, unrequited crush on Parker Harrington, star of the football team and all-round nice guy. Problem is, of course, literally every other girl on campus has it bad for Parker too, including Lily, the stunning cheerleader Parker can’t tear his eyes off. Quite content to silently admire him from afar and fully aware he’d never even notice her, Meridee's and Parker’s worlds suddenly collide - literally - and once he really looks at Meridee, Parker starts wondering if everything that’s falling into his lap is what he actually wants after all.
Both Parker and Meridee feel incredibly real. I thought Parker seemed a little too perfect to be true at first, until he demonstrated one or two juvenile qualities that had me snickering behind my hand at the realization that guys that age really do think with the head that isn’t located atop their shoulders. I was puzzled by his relationship with Lily remaining chaste until a startling reveal about Parker’s past later on in the book suddenly made everything make sense. I won’t spoil it for you, but it’s a really good one and it just makes Parker and Meridee, who has a couple of skeletons in her own closet, that much more perfect for each other.
Meridee was a delight throughout the story, sticking to her principles and always demonstrating an integrity that would make any guy thank his lucky stars to have her. Her complete ignorance of football was rather cute (from a girl who has no interest in it either!) and was the one thing that made Parker sure she wasn’t just after him for his fame and the position in the spotlight he could offer her. Parker’s mother was a lovely side character who was clearly in Meridee’s corner from the beginning, as was Parker’s best friend, Riley. Lily was a rather stereotypical ‘mean girl’ and I’d have liked to see Meridee’s friends drawn in a little more clearly as supportive female characters, but overall I enjoyed the book immensely. The story is well written and in clear, easily understandable language. All the characters felt very realistic (with the possible exception of Lily) and I came to the end of the book with a feeling of great satisfaction that everybody who deserved one found their happy ending. I’d be delighted to read more of Charissa Stastny’s work in the future.