Thursday, January 16, 2014

Book Review: Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill

Being Sloane Jacobs Cover Fun, YA, girl-power, trading-places, sports story

Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill

Reading Level: Young Adult
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Pages: 354 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Amazon Vine
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry

Sloane Emily Jacobs is the sixteen-year-old daughter of a U.S. Senator in Washington, D.C. She has been burned out on figure skating since she fell in a major competition three years ago, but her mother wants her to make a comeback by attending an ice-skating camp in Montreal, Canada which will consume eight weeks of Sloane's summer break. Sloane seeks out her father at his office to gain his support in foiling her mother's plan and stumbles upon him in an amorous embrace with his young, beautiful press secretary. Suddenly all Sloane ggj is to get out of town.

Sloane Devon Jacobs is the sixteen-year-old daughter of a working-class family from Philadelphia. Her mother is an alcoholic currently in court-mandated rehab; her father is struggling with losing his wife, and Sloane has put her painful feelings of abandonment on hold by making hockey her whole life. Unfortunately, her game is a mess because she keeps getting into fights with her team members, and she freezes up every time she has a clear shot at the puck to make a goal. Her coach warns her that her chances for a college, hockey scholarship will go up in smoke if she doesn't get her act together. In order to make that more possible, he uses his personal connections to get her a spot at a prestigious hockey camp in Montreal.

The two Sloans meet by chance at a hotel in Montreal, and impulsively agree to trade places for the summer, since both have a similar need to avoid the stressful pressure to succeed at their particular sport.

Anyone who enjoys stories where two protagonists switch places (such as The Parent Trap, The Prince and the Pauper, and Trading Places) will enjoy this novel. And those who are fans of young-adult, girl-power, sports stories will be particularly pleased. There are also family-dysfunction subplots for both of the heroines which will be appreciated by readers who like YA family drama.

My favorite parts of the book involve the skating scenes. They are extremely well done and often quite exciting. There are also excellent romantic subplots, with each of the two young women finding very appealing romantic partners in Montreal.

The main trading-places plot is based in several major coincidences, and there are additional coincidences strewn throughout the novel. However, since the author consistently employs coincidence to cause conflict rather than to conveniently solve problems, it is easy to overlook that literary device because it results in such a fun story.

Both of the Sloanes are sympathetic and intriguing heroines, and I loved that each are clearly outstanding athletes. I liked that their love interests were both athletes as well, and that these guys were supportive and sensitive, rather than merely well-muscled alpha males.

The setting of Montreal is very well done, adding to the unique appeal of this story. It is great to discover a YA novel that has not a single scene set in a high school. In addition, the writing in general is excellent.

This story is a "clean read," suitable for all ages. There is no underage drinking, smoking, wild parties or sex.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book through Amazon Vine.

I rate this book as follows:

Heroines: 5

Subcharacters: 5

Girl-Power Sports Plot:

Romance Subplots: 5

Writing: 5

Overall: 5

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