Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Review: Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill
Review: Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill
Release date: January 7th, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Rating: Fun, breezy, and guaranteed to lighten even the most rotten of moods.
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.
What a delightful read this was. I read this in two sittings and giggle through most of it. If you can get past a wildly improbably concept (which, of course I could, as I love wildly improbably concepts), then Being Sloane Jacobs will most likely charm the skates right off of you.
Fun Gillian fact: I adore ice skating. I may be the worst skater on the planet, but I love watching it and reading about it and pretending I am graceful and athletic and dedicated. The Cutting Edge is one of my favorite movies of all time, so I basically flipped my lid when I found out BSJ features a lot of ice sports. In fact, this book a perfect mash up of The Cutting Edge and The Parent Trap. A hockey player trying to skate pairs. A lookalikey switcheroo. And if that doesn't entice you, then I fear you cannot be helped.
Sloane Emily is a figure skater. She's burnt out, stressed out, and fed up. Her senator dad is forced Sloane to keep a horrible secret, her mom is exerting all kinds of pressure on her, and Emily can't take it. The last thing she wants is to be sent to skating camp in Montreal to prep for her big comeback. It'll be two long months of torture and humiliation.
Then there's Sloane Devon. She's Sloane Emily's opposite: fiery, opinionated, and less than privileged. She's a hockey player with an attitude problem and a shooting problem. Basically, she freaks out every time she has the puck. The last thing she wants is to be sent to hockey camp in Montreal so she can choke in front of everyone.
These two Sloane Jacobses would never cross paths in a million years. UNTIL, OF COURSE, THEY DO. AND THEN OH, WHAT SHENANIGANS ENSUE.
Sloane Emily is all this:
Sloane Devon is more this:
They don't meet-cute, either.
On the surface, they've got nothing in common (besides vaguely similar looks). On the inside? Well, on the inside, they both want one thing: To get away. To not be them any more. To escape from the reality of there lives for just one second. So they decide to switch places.
It was so much fun watching the two Sloane's adjust to their new realities and discover so much about themselves while trying to be someone else. Sloane Emily tries to live up to Sloane Devon's fearlessness, roughness, and freedom. (Plus she romances a totally adorable boy named Matt). Sloane Devon soon realizes that figure skating is basically the hardest sport on the entire planet, but she dedicates herself to it anyway. (Plus she romances a totally adorable guy named Nando).
I loved both of the Sloanes so much. I related very much to Sloane Emily, and found her to be really incredibly funny and slightly neurotic. Sloane Devon is awesome and brash and no nonsense. THe way she sticks it to Ivy, the mean girl at her camp, was so priceless I guffawed. Yes, guffawed. And seriously, I'm writing down some of her comebacks to use one day. But I truly fell in love with these girls because of the troubles they're dealing with inside. They felt like fully rounded, individual characters, and I enjoyed being in their heads and watching them come into their own.
Of course, the lies pile on top of each other, it becomes more stressful to keep their switcheroo secret, and eventually it all goes to pot, but in a very entertaining manner. It was really lovely reading about the two Sloanes coming together as friends and fixing things with their families, even if the book didn't go into tremendous amount of depth in any other direction (their secondary friendships, for example, were a bit shortchanged, and the romances could have been developed a little bit more. But they were still super cute). I absolutely loved the details of the camps, though. I felt like I exercised by proxy, reading about the Sloanes skating and running and lifting things from the comfort of my couch.
The ending is convenient, tidy, and wrapped up in a neat little bow--just the way I wanted it. It's exactly what I wanted from this type of read. Bonus: there are some truly perfect pop culture references, which is always a win for me (though, Sloane Devon--objecting to skating to Hedwig's Theme? Really? Judging you).
If you like cute contemporary, you can't miss Being Sloane Jacobs. I will cut someone with a skating blade to get my hands on Lauren Morrill's next book. DON'T YOU STAND IN MY WAY. I'll hipcheck you and freeze your sports bra.