I used to be the blogger called YAL Book Briefs, but I grew bored of the handle and changed my name to Howdy YAL. I also respond to MJ. I like to read, write, eat truffles, and watch bad Lifetime movies.
By now, you’ve probably heard my rant about packaged books. But occasionally, on very rare occasions, I do indulge in them.
This was one of those books. It involved figure skating, you guys. That in itself almost guaranteed that I would read it.
However, the whole sport of figure skating was just sort of shitted on in this book and if you like hockey…you might like this book better than I did. Of course, I know nothing about hockey, so all the hockey talk in this book might be wrong.
The basic gist of this book is parent trap but without the parents and without the twin angle. Oh, and add winter sports to it. But during summer time in Montreal.
If that didn’t make any sense I’ll link you to the summary.
Anyway, despite its packaged state, I was excited about this one and it had been getting fair to decent reviews. Once I read it though, I was not impressed. Not that there was anything technically wrong about the writing-if I don’t count the horrible research done regarding figure skating. The prose is pretty bearable. And the characters gradually became well formed, but I really think it did suffer in part from the dual narrative.
I just didn’t think like I got to know the two Sloanes that well. Maybe this was in part because they had way too many issues to be solved when their page count was cut in half. I really didn’t feel like I got to know them and when they were doing pranks that were more juvenile than what you’d see in a Marauders era fanfic, well, I was not amused.
That seemed to be a big problem I had with this book: the maturity factor.
It really felt like the characters were five or six years younger than they were actually supposed to be. The pranks, the use of the Mean Girl trope, and the characters overall reactions don’t appear how someone in their late teens would act. I try to give some slack, but eventually my eyes couldn’t help but roll.
Honestly, this book read like a watered down immature version of a Stephanie Perkins book. And while you might think this is a good thing because I love Stephanie Perkins’s writing, the immaturity factor made it painful to read. The reason Stephanie Perkins writing works (for me) is that it doesn’t try to be something its not, this book tries too hard to be “cool” and talk “teen”.
Pro tip: if you’re writing a YA book never try to talk like a teen.
Also, if you claim a book involves a plot that heavily involves figure skating actually do some research about the sport and don’t make it a damn hockey book.
It’s not that I don’t like hockey. I really know nothing about it, I’m from Texas after all. But figure skating, that’s the only sport I’ll regularly watch on TV. And I know that it should be impossible for a novice who is going to an elite skating camp to wind up second let alone in pairs.
Even if you’re a figure skating novice if you watch The Cutting Edge you know that skating in pairs is a completely different thing than singles. Having a hockey player who doesn’t even know how to do figure skating basics being almost instant good at pairs makes me seethe.
Also, I don’t think “Hedwig’s Theme” would exactly work as skating music-this is my personal opinion though.
Also, I find it weird how everyone believes that this figure skating novice is qualified to attend the camp. Surely, they must notice she can’t make any of the jumps or know the lingo. The same applies with the other Sloane who is at hockey camp. Heck, with the way Morrill wrote the story you might think that Sloane Emily is a hockey prodigy despite the fact that she has never played hockey before in her life and based on those Rachel Gibson books I’ve read I don’t think playing hockey is that easy.
But what do I know?
I also just loved how all the research on figure skating seemed confined to cliches. Of course, all figure skaters are itty bitty mean girls and their male counterparts are gay b.f.f.s. Oh, and everyone wears sequins too.
Sigh, I guess the problems with this one are partially my own. I was really hoping for more. The last time I was this disappointed was when I went to see the movie, Ice Princess. I remember being so excited because it was a screenplay written by Meg Cabot. I mean, can you imagine a Meg Cabot script. It would probably be something akin to Gilmore Girls, but on steroids. But you know what happened…..Disney.
Instead of keeping the Cabot storyline where a hockey player turned figure player falls in love with a Zamboni driver, we got a crappy movie with Dawn from Buffy in it trying to pretend she’s smart (she doesn’t do that great of a job).
Remind me, to review that movie eventually.
This book sort of reminded me of that movie. Lots of potential, but what could’ve made it great was ignored and what we got was well meh. I didn’t hate this book. I’ve read much, much, worse. Especially in the past month, but I can’t really recommend it either.