All Laced Up by Erin Fletcher
Reading Level: Young Adult
Release Date: October 10, 2016
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry
Budding hockey star, Pierce Miller, has a sizeable following, in person and online, but Lia Bailey is far from one of his fans. In fact, she thinks he's an arrogant jerk. They are both seventeen and have been in the same school and used the same ice rink for over a decade, but he doesn't even know her name. Lia wouldn't have minded never getting to know Pierce up close and personal at all, but fate has another plan in mind. The two of them are asked to share the responsibility of teaching a skating class to young children in order to save their beloved ice rink from bankruptcy, and extended close proximity to Pierce reveals a sensitive side of him that Lia never imagined possible.
I adore a good YA sports romance, especially when both the hero and heroine are talented athletes. In this story, not only is the hero Pierce being scouted to play professional hockey, but the heroine Lia is well on her way to becoming an Olympic-caliber figure skater. The hero is especially sympathetic as he compassionately cares for his disabled little brother. I also especially enjoyed the central, romantic plot device of them growing to be friends on two levels, in person, and in private chat sessions on a sports forum online where Lia, in the guise of an anonymous poster with a fake screen name, offers him hockey advice, which she learned from her deceased stepfather, a hockey superstar.
I am delighted to report that there are no scenes with drinking, drugs, sex, or any house-destroying, wild parties. There are no Mean Girl cheerleaders, and no Mean Boy sports stars. The hero has no tattoos, and there is no indication he has ever been promiscuous. What a concept! It's always great, and far too uncommon these days, to discover a YA novel minus the endlessly copied John Hughes movie tropes from the 1980's.
As an additional surprise, the hero and heroine actually eat a healthy diet due to their coaches telling them lousy food produces a lousy sports performance. What a pleasant change from endlessly boring repetition in YA novels of teen protagonists gorging on pizza, chips, burgers, and sugary treats.
I rate this book as follows:
Romance Plot: 4
Sports Plot: 4