Thursday, April 17, 2014

We Could Have a Swingin' Time

Published:  January 7th, 2014
Being Sloane Jacobs
By: Lauren Morrill
ISBN-13:  9780385741798

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 someone you're someone else might be more difficult than being yourself.


     First of all, I love books that deal with either figure skating or horseback riding!  I think it has to do with the fact that growing up (and still, even now) my family was truly poor and as one of three kids, there was never any possibility of lessons for me.  And those were the two things I wanted to learn the most - how to skate like Tara Lipinski and how to ride horses like a pro.  I definitely didn't pick up this book expecting any really serious subject matter, just to be entertained.  That is just what happened, but I guess my depth of plausible deniability wasn't enough to deal with this book.  Which surprises me, because in theory it was a lot like Parent Trap and the Disney Channel film, Model Behavior, from back in the days of my childhood.  I liked it, but I had so problems with the execution of the plot in this book.
     The whole thing hinges on the fact that two girls from different states, who look almost completely identical, and happen to have the same first and last names meet each other - and they switch places.  Sloane Emily is a priveleged figure skater and Sloane Devon is a rough-and-tumble, ice hockey player.  Both girls are looking for an escape from their respective sports, each for different reasons, and are trying to outrun problems in their personal, family lives.  Sloane E.'s politician father has been having an affair, and Sloane D.'s mother is not present for certain reasons as well.  I feel like so much more could have been done with this storyline than what actually happened.  At the beginning of the book, the focus is on the problems both girls face in their personal lives, and how much they want to escape from them.  And then the rest of the book centers around their romances, new friendships, the conflicts at their camps, and the time they take "learning" (its in quotes because they pick things up awfully fast) each other's sports.  We get a few brief scenes near the end of the book that wrap things up with what is basically a neat, unbelievable little bow.  Happy ending gift wrapped, and delivered for our consumption.  I personally found it very unsatisfying, and felt like the whole experience did nothing to grow or enrich either of the main characters in this book.
     As for the romances, I liked Sloane D.'s moments with her love interest, who is someone she already knows who is going through his own personal problems.  I could definitely see their romance as something realistic, as they were a lot alike and he brought out a mature streak in her that didn't seem present most of the time.  Sloane E.'s relationship with the stereotypical player, hockey jock-boy was boring, superficial and he came across as a cocky asshole to me.  Not to mention, there is a whole misunderstanding when he sees Sloane D. doing something and assumes its Sloane E.  I admit the situation is unfathomable, so I can see why there'd be no doubt it was her.  But at the same time, it burns me that he doesn't even let her explain at all.  He just cuts her down and breaks it off, acting like a complete douchebag.  Then at then end I'm supposed to be happy they're together again.  Whatever, not my cup of tea.  Overall, hard to suspend my disbelief that two completely unrelated girls looked exactly alike, had the same name (except the middle) and not one person close to them realized they switched places!  Just a little too fluffy, and full of plot holes to really work for me.  A cute book, good sports aspects, but not for me.

VERDICT:  2.5/5 Stars

*I received this book from Delacorte, on NetGalley.  No favors or money were exchanged for this review.  This book was published on January 7th, 2014.*

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