In the wake of tragedy, Jonah was Charlie’s anchor, the man she connected with, the man who taught her everything she needed to ensure that she had the tools to work against and perhaps even prevent what had happened to her roommate from happening to anyone else. But what felt like the perfect love affair came to an end without an end when Jonah simply left, disappeared and moved away without explanation or goodbye. One day they were Jonah and Charlie, and the next day they were severed. Charlie managed to pull herself together and hone her skills, but now her education is over and her future is up in the air. So when she sees Jonah at a hacking convention, his brand of uncertainty is the last complication she needs.
The Verdict: While I’ve never stepped into the worlds of hacking or gaming, I had no trouble following along as the characters immersed themselves in that lifestyle. That’s probably because I spend my workdays surrounded by eccentric programmers and technology fiends, but still, it was interesting to see it new through Charlie’s eyes.
Charlie’s been getting by since Jonah walked out of her life, but since then she’s failed on the relationship front, and it seems her education and career aspirations are no more successful. Having now dropped out of school, her last ditch effort to secure a career will be to prove her hacking skills at a convention and hopefully catch the eye of a gaming or technology recruiter who might give her a shot. Running into Jonah, though, was a twist she didn’t expect, and while she knows it won’t go anywhere lasting, she’s not about to waste her week with him.
Jonah hates the way he left Charlie, but her single-minded and self-destructive track wasn’t something he could stay on with her. Leaving her was supposed to be her wake up call, and it seems to have worked — at the expense of his heart. But then he found her online persona and couldn’t help befriending her in a virtual world, and what started out as him simply checking in and checking up seems to have become something much more substantial. But Charlie’s come to depend on their friendship, and Jonah can’t figure out how to tell her the truth behind it.
I expected there to be more conflict and drama between Jonah and Charlie when they came face-to-face again, so it was a rather pleasant surprise when Charlie played it civil and friendly. While she certainly couldn’t forget his abandonment, she didn’t fully question his gestures of friendship now, and that allowed for their exceptional chemistry to flare without the usual overdone angst and reflection. It was great to see two characters following their broken hearts, giving in to themselves instead of fruitlessly fighting their attraction. Of course, they both had their reservations and little moments of caution, but they didn’t let that get in the way of their one week together.
Jonah’s reasons for leaving Charlie in the first place made sense to me, though I can’t say I agree with the way he went about it. It would seem to me that someone on the edge the way Charlie was, someone on a path to complete self-destruction would have simply imploded at such a loss. She was already devastated by the death of her roommate. Why on earth would he think walking away from her without so much as a goodbye would have a positive effect. If you ask me, he’s lucky she didn’t fall into a depression and never come back out.
However, I did feel that the characters were a bit more real and grounded than the ones in the first book. While I certain enjoyed Her Best Shot, Charlie and Jonah in Her Perfect Game seemed like people you might run into in Starbucks or at work. Jonah had made a great career for himself, but he was still growing. And Charlie, like so many young adults, was struggling to do the same for herself, and I think that’s where this one wins out. Even if you’ve never picked up a video game in your life or tried to decipher a single line of code, Charlie’s difficulty in living up to her potential, her struggles in finding her place are something anyone can identify with. She perfectly embodies the young adult who finds that the real world never quite turns out the way you expected, and that achieving the goals you set in your younger years takes much more work and sacrifice than anyone ever told you. Add in Jonah, an incredibly sexy and smart hero who wants nothing more for Charlie than for her to grab ahold of her own success, and you’ve got two characters it’s hard not to fall in love with.