This book was just cute. It is The Parent Trap cute. Lindsay Lohan-before-she-became-a-coke-addict cute. There is not much substance to the story or its characters, it is generic, it is inoffensive, but damned if I didn't have a huge grin on my face as I was reading it.
It is a feel-good book. If you need something uncomplicated, something to make you smile, this is the book for you.
The Summary: Sloane Emily Jacobs is a poor-little-rich girl. She has an enviable life. She is from a blue-blooded politician family, with power and money. Her father is a Senator. Her mother is his picture-perfect wife. Her brother is the black sheep of the family because he wants to be an environmentalist. Sloane Emily...she just wants to have a nice, normal life away from it all. She was an ice-skating champion until she fell from grace, the pressure to succeed is just too much.
Sloane Emily just wants to get away from it all, particularly from the fact that she walked in on her esteemed politician father in a compromising position with his secretary.
It is an election year, and her family is putting on as bright a picture as possible. That includes their daughter coming back into the limelight as a bright ice skater. They are shipping her off to skating camp in Canada.
Sloane Devon Jacobs is a tough-as-nails hockey player from Philadelphia. She's got a whole lot of issues, including an anger management problem and a secret---she chokes. Sloane Devon cannot score a hockey goal for her life. She is terrified of taking a shot because she might fail. Every time she tries, there is a tingle on the back of her neck that tells her she can't do it. Sloane is trying to cover up her mental fear the best way she can---by being angry at the world.
This is a problem, because hockey is her only ticket out of town. She needs a hockey scholarship to go to college, and Sloane Devon cannot afford to fail. Her coach wants her benched, her only option is to attend a hockey camp in Canada.
These two girls will meet. Despite the fact that both girls are as different as night and day, they are both running away from their problems. Sloane Devon does not want to attend hockey camp, she is afraid of confronting her fears. Sloane Emily does not want to go back to ice skating, she does not want to do what her family pushes upon her. They come up with an insane plan.
“We look alike. Even that desk attendant thought so,” I say, as much to myself as to her.
Sloane blinks at me from the other side of the table, staring at me as though I’ve gone insane.
And maybe I have.
But the idea won’t let go: Here it is. My chance to be somebody else for a bit.
My chance to switch.
Both have misconceptions of the others. Sloane Devon, the tough hockey player, the tomboy, thinks that ice skating will be a piece of cake.
Figure skating is way easier than hockey. No one is trying to break your legs or bash your brains out when you’re figure skating. There are no shots to take or miss, which means no tingles. And there are no scouts or coaches expecting me to be a hero, thus there’s no way to fail.
Sloane Emily, the pampered, feminine ice skater, is just plain glad that she won't have to skate.
I’m on a public bus in Montreal, on my way to play hockey for four weeks. I can sit however I want, and no one is going to tell me otherwise.
This is going to be the greatest summer ever.
No triple axels. No triple axels.
Needless to say, it doesn't exactly turn out the way they planned. Both girls have plenty of adjusting to do, not to mention that neither ice hockey or ice skating is as easy as they thought it would be. They make new friends, they face their own fears, they learn that you can't simply run away from your life without eventually having to face the consequences. Regardless, it will be a summer to remember.
The Characters: As generic as you would expect from a "fun" YA contemporary, but it is so cute, that I easily forgive this book its faults. There are your usual "bad guys," which is to say the Mean Girl clique, as well as your hulking bully. There is the cute bad boy, the Lothario, who turns out not to be such a bad boy after all. Sloane Emily and Sloane Jacobs are nothing new themselves. One is the typically spoiled rich girl, she's not mean at all, but she is still an ultra-feminine girly girl, whereas Sloane Devon is her polar opposite, a tough, swearing tomboy from the wrong side of the tracks.
Generic, yes, but familiar, and oh-so-cute.
The Plot: I had my qualms about the plausibility of the whole switching-places thing, since I know ice skating, and I know how incredibly tough it is to execute the spins. People who compete in ice skating have been training since childhood. It is NOT something you can easily pick up. I do have problems with how little Sloane Devon struggles with ice skating, I know she is not perfect, but it seems like she turns into a passable ice skater with little more than natural skills and some additional practice.
The Romance: Just freaking adorable. It's YA contemporary, so it gets a pass from me on the romance front. There is nothing at all offensive about this book's romance. It is just so squee, it is tooth-achingly sweet. And I have no complaints.
Overall: Such a cute book. Not much substance, but just pure fun.