Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Cutting Edge Meets The Parent Trap

Lauren Morril broke into the scene with her first book, Meant to Be, and she joined the ranks of Stephanie Perkins and Sarah Dessen in the world of contemporary romance. With her next book, Being Sloane Jacobs, she proves her success with Meant to Be was not beginners luck!

Sloane Emily Jacobs has been out of the figure skating circuit for a while, but her mother insists this intensive camp in Canada is the perfect place for her to get back in the game. While Sloane E wants nothing to do with skating anymore, at least not competitively, she is willing to go to the camp just to get away from her politician father and the tension between him and the family. Always the obediant daughter, Sloane E is having trouble these days being the perfect girl his political career demands. Especially when their family is anything but perfect. 

Sloane Devon Jacobs has the yips. Everyone thinks she is just one seriously tough hockey player, but all the checking and aggression is just hiding the fact that she can't make a shot. She can get the puck lined up for the perfect shot, but every time she gets there, she chokes. When she takes it out on a deserving loud-mouthed player, her coach decides she needs to spend a little time a hockey boot camp in Canada. When her father supports the idea, Sloane D feels like she is damaged goods being shipped off and out of the way, just like her mother. Since the camp is Sloane D's only way to keep playing hockey and hopefully get the scholarship that will be her only one-way ticket out of Philly and into a better life, she will do it. But she isn't happy about it. 

Then something happens. Sloane E and Sloane D crash into one another. Literally. When the bellhops bring their luggage up to their rooms at the hotel the night before camp starts, they realize the luggage was switched. Their names are the same, but their lives are vastly different. Both girls are running away from something, and finally they have an opportunity to forget who they are and all their responsibilities. They decide to switch. Sloane E goes to hockey camp and Sloane D becomes a figure skater. What the girls don't stop to think about is that you can ignore your life briefly, but it won't go away permanently!

Oh I so enjoyed this story. It was a really cute "chick flick" of a book that gave me the warm fuzzies. While there is a little romance going on for both girls, the focus of the story really was on the girls and what they were both going through. I did, at a couple of points, think to myself it was a little unrealistic that a hockey player could become a figure skater and vice versa in a week or two, or even do it well enough to fool the people at their respective camps, but if you suspend that belief enough to enjoy the story, it is a really fabulous coming of age story. Both these girls have a lot of baggage and have situations back home they are running from, but by escaping that for only a few short weeks, they have a chance to really find out who THEY are. It was a really fabulous story about two really great young ladies!

I am really growing to love Lauren Morrill. I was lucky enough to have a chance to meet her at our local bookstore a few months ago, and I hope she keeps turning out stories like this one. She has an unabashed love for romantic comedies that even the most jaded of ladies out there has to appreciate. And it really shows in her stories that she is a Dessen and Perkins fan. She pays homage to the greats of the genre while still paving her own unique path, and I can't wait to see what she comes out with next! 

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