Release Date: January 7, 2014
Meet Sloane Emily Jacobs: a seriously stressed-out figure-skater from Washington, D.C., who choked during junior nationals and isn’t sure she’s ready for a comeback. What she does know is that she’d give anything to escape the mass of misery that is her life.
Now meet Sloane Devon Jacobs, a spunky ice hockey player from Philly who’s been suspended from her team for too many aggressive hip checks. Her punishment? Hockey camp, now, when she’s playing the worst she’s ever played. If she messes up? Her life will be over.
When the two Sloanes meet by chance in Montreal and decide to trade places for the summer, each girl thinks she’s the lucky one: no strangers to judge or laugh at Sloane Emily, no scouts expecting Sloane Devon to be a hero. But it didn’t occur to Sloane E. that while avoiding sequins and axels she might meet a hockey hottie—and Sloane D. never expected to run into a familiar (and very good-looking) face from home. It’s not long before the Sloanes discover that convincing people you’re someone else might be more difficult than being yourself.(courtesy of Goodreads)
I've been in the mood for fluffy books lately. Gut-wrenching, quotable, John Greeny books are nice and important to read, but often I'm more interested in books whose purpose is simply to put a smile on your face. I shouldn't say "simply," I should say "importantly," because few things are more wonderful than a book that makes me happy. Being Sloane Jacobs is a happy kind of book.
Being Sloane Jacobs is the Parent Trap on ice skates. Two girls named Sloane Jacobs switch places and all the problems in their lives magically go away. Admittedly that synopsis neither gives the story enough credit nor is entirely true, but it's the bare-bones premise of the story.
The story alternates between the voices of Sloane Hockey and Sloane Figure Skating (the book distinguishes them by middle names, but I think using their respective sports is easier to remember). Morrill does a fabulous job of creating to entirely separate voices. Too often, alternating voices read like they're one person. The two Sloanes are very different characters and easily distinguishable by the reader.
At first I didn't think I was going to like Sloane Hockey. She is a stereotypical hockey player: angry, brash, and anti-girly. But her story and her interior voice were much more layered. Her anger was her way of emotionally lashing out at her alcoholic mother and somewhat unavailable father. It's not the way I would deal with things, but it made her actions understandable. Plus, Sloane Hockey has a sense of playfulness, daring, and work ethic that I respected.
Sloane Figure Skating is put-together and quiet. She deals with her stage mom's pressure and her Senator dad's cheating ways by repressing her emotions and putting on a somewhat prissy stand-offish air. I feel like she is closer to a YA trope than Sloane Hockey, which - for better or for worse - is why I related to her more. She isn't as fun as Sloane Hockey but achieves success at hockey camp through quiet determination.
If you think too hard about the plot of this book, it will quickly fall apart. Realistically, the girls could never have pulled this off so well. Both Sloanes become passable (not the best in camp but surprisingly good) at the other girl's sport in an unrealistic amount of time. They both get a cute guy. They both either win over or beat the mean girls at their camp. Not everything is tied up in a neat little bow, but pretty close. And you know what? That's exactly what I wanted out of this book.
Being Sloane Jacobs is a must-read when you're looking for a book that has a strong sense of fun and will also bring a guaranteed smile to your face. Yes it is predictable and unrealistic, but this is the book you read when you want both those qualities. It is well written, with lovable characters, and a heartwarming story. Highly recommended.
Rating: 4 / 5
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