The Harper Effect by Taryn Bashford | Review


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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Release Date: AUS December 27th, 2017. US May 1st, 2018

Trigger Warnings: alcohol, abuse

Pages: 375

Publisher: Pan Macmillian

Goodreads Review: here

Goodreads blurb:

Seventeen-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?

A sizzling tennis romance perfect for the summer months, The Harper Effect, will be a grand slam for fans of Kasie West, Miranda Kinneally and Simone Ekeles.


Since I read this book in 2017 and this is a review coming in 2018 I just want to quickly mention that this was my 200th read of 2018.

Anyway, The Harper Effect was a contemporary I was excited to read. When my mum was younger she played tennis competitively and was aiming for Wimbledon when her coach passed away and she fell away from the sport. To this day, I don’t think you’ll find someone who talks about tennis as passionately as my mum. So, when I got the opportunity to receive this book and saw tennis in the blurb I jumped on it.

I forgot how romance filled YA books can be and The Harper Effect is full of romance. Very messy romance. The romance took up maybe around 80% of the book, with family dramas taking another 15% and the 5% being tennis. Which, left me in this messy spot or do I keep reading for the tennis? I did.

The tennis parts are good. The characters are good. But, the romance undercuts this and makes the story feel cheap in some parts. Particularly with the fact the main character is pursuing her sister’s ex-boyfriend. Even if you don’t believe in the girl code (which you should) this is so wrong. The fact that he wasn’t even supporting either sister (which made him a pretty shitty person, and he really was) really frustrated me. Especially since he got such a spotlight in The Harper Effect.

Obviously, these kids are in their late teens so they have hormones and all that, but I didn’t feel as if it added much to the story. I feel Harper would have done better with better friends and building a relationship with her sister instead of destroying it.

I did like Colt though, who is Harper’s mixed (mum said the mixed is very important here) doubles parter. He had a backstory that was something I could relate to parts of. He was passionate and a fighter and some of his conversations are ones I have had with people in my life. I truly appreciated the inclusion of his character but in some places, I feel it was dealt with incorrectly, especially the ending of this book.

The Harper Effect was a solid four star for me until all the messy contemporary drama unfolded on the page. I was struggling to keep myself reading it, which is never how it should be in my opinion.

Harper herself was a tad annoying. She was entitled and never really tried to understand Colt’s story or what he was going through, which was really annoying. The guy had to fight for his ranking and she had the best of the best to help carry her through. It just really annoyed me that she never tried. She simply tried to bring Colt into her life without taking in consideration how strange it may be for him.

It was great to read a book set in Australia with places I understood what looked like. It was also great to be able to support an Australian author.

Overall, The Harper Effect was an enjoyable read. I would have prefered it to have more familial relationships rather than romantic but that wasn’t the case, unfortunately for me. I’m definitely not a hater of this book but I am not blown away. I would still recommend it if you’re looking for a fluffy but serious book set in Australia. This would probably be a great book for that female athlete in your life who isn’t a reader.

E D I T 

I have since changed my review rating on Goodreads to a one star. The author threatened legal action on a reviewer on Goodreads, stating the reviewer had a personal vendetta against her. Goodreads is a safe place for reviewers to share their opinions, not everyone is always going to agree with your book or the content involved. I feel the inappropriate actions of the author cancel out every good thing I have said here. Keep that in mind when you decide whether to support this author.

Happy reading everyone!

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