‘The Harper Effect’ by Taryn Bashford.
Publisher: Pan Macmillan.
Published Date: December 27th, 2017.
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary.
Page Count: 384 pages.
Sixteen-year-old Harper was once a rising star on the tennis court—until her coach dropped her for being “mentally weak.” Without tennis, who is she? Her confidence at an all-time low, she secretly turns to her childhood friend, next-door neighbor Jacob—who also happens to be her sister’s very recent ex-boyfriend. If her sister finds out, it will mean a family war.
But when Harper is taken on by a new coach who wants her to train with Colt, a cold, defensive, brooding young tennis phenom, she hits the court all the harder, if only to prove Colt wrong. But as the two learn to become a team, Harper gets glimpses of the vulnerable boy beneath the surface, the boy who was deeply scarred by his family’s dark and scandalous past. The boy she could easily find herself falling for.
As she walks a fine line between Colt’s secrets, her forbidden love, and a game that demands nothing but the best, Harper must decide between her past and her future and between two boys who send her head spinning. Is the cost of winning the game is worth losing everything?
Thank you so much Pan Macmillan for sending us a copy of The Harper Effect to review. Thank you for also letting us be part of this blog tour!
‘The Harper Effect’ by Taryn Bashford is a debuting young adult novel allowing readers to discover the art and lifestyle of a teenager and her dream of becoming a professional tennis player. But for any teenager, this lifestyle includes first loves, friendship, grief and the ability to follow your dreams.
Whilst we made our way through this novel, we couldn’t help but love the author’s connection to tennis! We haven’t found too many novels that include sporting/athletic aspects which we have really enjoyed however, we have loved seeing it in this novel!
Taryn Bashford has done an incredible job with providing a message behind each word written. This novel doesn’t just follow a teenager’s love for tennis, it provides inspirational messages about determination, forming strong relationships, grief and forgiveness, especially with the ability to forgive yourself.
We all must follow our hearts in order to follow our dreams!
Here is our Q&A with the author! Thank you for answering our questions Taryn!
- What was your inspiration behind ‘The Harper Effect’?
Well the seed of the idea for The Harper Effect was planted when I was 14. I wrote the bones of the story back then, but obviously it’s had a few revisions since. At the time, my brother was training to become a professional tennis player, and he went on to win Nationals and then won a scholarship to a tennis academy in the USA. So I guess it was natural that I’d write about tennis at that time. I was also training for the Olympics and so sport was a big part of my family’s life. As I grew older, I became fascinated by teens who went above and beyond the norm – not just in sport, but in any aspect of life. I liked to compare elite teens to your average high school student and found that although they were hugely talented in one area of their life, they were still teens in the sense that they were finding their place in the world, discovering what person they were going to grow up to be, and they made mistakes and bad choices just like every teen is expected to do when they’re leaving their childhood behind. I was also fascinated by what high-achieving teens have to sacrifice in order to be the best. All of this, I put into The Harper Effect – Harper certainly makes her fair share of mistakes and bad choices!
- What motivated you and inspired you to begin writing?
Some of my earliest memories are of me writing stories in different coloured pens – a different colour for each line, or even each word. I loved to write stories from a young age. I also remember touching and fingering the books in our house, loving their smell and the colourful pictures, and longing to be able to read well enough to consume the books with no pictures. Books were always in my life and I loved to escape into them. Reading was a joy, not a chore, and from that came writing. I have been trying to fit writing a novel into my life for twenty years and to this day when I write it’s a place I love to be; it’s where I feel safe and calm and more than anything, I love to lose myself in my story world and hang out with my characters. Sometimes, it’s hard to step back into the ‘real’ world again.
- What advice would you give to new writers?
I know new writers will have heard this before, but it’s repeated because it’s so true. READ. It’s amazing how much the mind and subconscious absorbs by reading – not just the obvious stuff about what’s popular out there but also things like the right structure for a book, the different voices, the layering needed in a novel, characterisation and pace…the list goes on. Secondly, I’d say write every day, even if it’s just for half an hour. It’s about using that creative muscle in the brain, it’s about discipline, and if you’re writing a full novel, it helps you keep the strands of the plot weaving along nicely without you dropping a thread. Finally, I’d say let others see your work and gain feedback from experts like mentors and competition judges. It’s the best way to see if you’re on the right track.
- Who are your literary role models?
Enid Blyton. She was prolific and had the most amazing imagination. L.M. Montgomery for the Anne of Green Gables series. I must’ve read it into double digits. J.K. Rowling because no matter how hard things were for her, she never gave up and boy, did she achieve her writing dreams!
- We absolutely loved ‘The Harper Effect’! Thank you for writing such an incredible story. We are both sisters ourselves and we were wondering if you relate most to one of the sisters? If so, which sister would you relate most to? Harper or Aria?
Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m thrilled that you loved my book. I have a brother (I always wanted a sister too), so the sister dynamic was one that came from my imagination – what might it be like to have a sister under those circumstances? Before I wrote The Harper Effect, I really enjoyed talking to sisters, and even twins (as Harper and Aria are so close in age), to learn about their experiences. I’m afraid the answer to your question isn’t as simple as choosing one or the other sister. I relate to the drive and self-motivation that Harper has for her tennis, because I remember how it felt to go after my own sporting dreams day after day. But at the same time, I also played the piano, clarinet, and violin, and even today I love classical music. As a teen, I was more level-headed than Harper, more certain of what I wanted, and so in that instance, I relate a little more to Aria.
Book Rating: 4/5 Stars.