Check & Mate is a unique sports YA from Ali Hazelwood

Check & Mate by Ali Hazelwood. Image Courtesy of G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers.
Check & Mate by Ali Hazelwood. Image Courtesy of G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers. /

Since the release of The Love Hypothesis, Ali Hazelwood has become a mainstay in the romance world and she’s moving to the YA sphere with Check & Mate.

While her adult titles are mostly focused on women in STEM, Check & Mate takes a different approach. This time, she’s focusing on the world of professional chess playing and it’s such a cool concept.

Whether you’ve read her adult books or not, Check & Mate feels like the perfect blend of something old and new from Ali Hazelwood. It still feels fresh while also having some of her trademarks.

Thank you so much to G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers for sending me an ARC so I could share my thoughts and feelings with all of you.

Check & Mate is a fun YA sports romance from Ali Hazelwood.

With the title Check & Mate, I’m sure you can guess which sport our characters are playing, and that’s chess. The story begins with us being introduced to Nolan Sawyer, a chess prodigy and best player in the world but he was actually beaten by someone in the past he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about.

Of course, that’s none other than our main character: Mallory Greenleaf. Mallory has long given up her chess dreams and is now helping to make ends meet. Her mother is dealing with an illness and Mallory is taking care of her two sisters until she ends up getting fired.

From there, it’s a whirlwind for Mallory who decides to train to become a professional chess player. In such a male-dominated field, she already has a disadvantage, and coupled with her attraction to Nolan, it’s not easy being her. However, this book doesn’t focus solely on the romance.

Ultimately, Check & Mate is a story about Mallory figuring out what she wants when it comes to her family, her career, and her love life. Throughout the book, she grows and changes so much in a way that only teenagers can do. Despite being over 18 when the book starts, it’s clear she had a lot of growing up to do.

Regardless, this book enthralled me from the very beginning as a good game of chess can do. You have to keep watching and learning before making moves which is the entire point of the story. Mallory and Nolan don’t have a straight path to their happily ever after but instead, have to work through things before they can get there.

As with most Ali Hazelwood books, I can see Check & Mate not being for everyone but I really enjoyed this one. It was fast-paced, fun, and entertaining along with being incredibly realistic, too. If you haven’t picked up a book of hers or aren’t into her adult stories, then Check & Mate is a fun one for fall.

Check & Mate by Ali Hazelwood is out now where books are sold.

Will you be grabbing a copy of the latest from Ali Hazelwood? Let us know your favorite book of hers!

Next. New Romance Books being released in November 2023. dark