Mundie Moms

Thursday, February 23, 2017

OFF THE ICE by Julie Cross / Book Review

By: Julie Cross
Published by: Entangled Teen
To Be Released on: February 28th, 2016
Purchase from: Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 3 Stars
Source: e-arc / copy of book from the publisher to review exchange for my honest review 

All is fair in love and hockey…

Claire O’Connor is back in Juniper Falls, but that doesn’t mean she wants to be. One semester off, that’s what she promised herself. Just long enough to take care of her father and keep the family business—a hockey bar beside the ice rink—afloat. After that, she’s getting the hell out. Again.

Enter Tate Tanley. What happened between them the night before she left town resurfaces the second they lay eyes on each other. But the guy she remembers has been replaced by a total hottie. When Tate is unexpectedly called in to take over for the hockey team’s star goalie, suddenly he’s in the spotlight and on his way to becoming just another egotistical varsity hockey player. And Claire’s sworn off Juniper Falls hockey players for good.

It’s the absolute worst time to fall in love.

For Tate and Claire, hockey isn’t just a game. And they both might not survive a body check to the heart.

When it comes to contemporaries, I am a sucker for sports, and romance. In this case, this book had both. Cross is no stranger to writing gritty, realistic contemporaries. She doesn't sugar coat what her characters are going through, or what they are dealing with. There's heartbreak, bittersweet moments, moments that will leave you sighing, some will make you mad, and at all other times you'll be left cheering on these characters are they try and navigate their lives the best way they know how. It's messy, at times complicated, and sometimes it's just getting by, and living in the moment of the here and now. 

Claire and Tate are interesting. I felt no connection to them what so ever at all. Normally when that happens, I can't stand the book. But there was something about them I was intrigued with. These two have a long history together. Cross gives readers their backstory at the beginning of the book, and then jumps a year later. That year has changed both of them, and it was interesting to see how much things have changed with the two of them, and how they fit into each other's lives now. They both have a lot on their plates, and are in situations that are difficult, and have put a lot of pressure and strain on them. Watching them try to work through their own problems, as well as try to help each other out was at times complicated, and other times it was sweet.  

There is a large cast of characters of family and friends in this book. They each add something to Claire and Tate's story. Like the main characters, each of the characters has a natural progression, that adds something to the story. There's a lot of background to the characters, which adds a lot depth to the over all story. It's definitely a character driven story with a lot of showing, vs telling. 

I felt like Cross captures the small town feel perfectly. There's a lot that this emcompases, and she does a great job with showing readers this through both Claire and Tate's points of views. Having said that, there was a bit too much drama for my liking. It got some of it, but other times it felt like a filler that didn't need to be in the book. Same with the language. I got some of it, and it fit with the setting, and the characters, but I felt like it was over kill with all the f-bombs. 

I'm torn on how I feel about this book. Part of me liked it, and the other part of me got too annoyed with the things I didn't like about it, to like it as much as I was excepting to. Thankfully Claire and Tate kept me reading. I had to know how their story ends. Overall, this is a gritty, realistic, YA contemporary that has sports (ice hockey my favorite), romance, and realistic character journeys. It's a story about living in the moment. The here, and now, and enjoying the moments that make you happy. I'd recommend to older YA readers and NA readers. The characters are older, some are seniors in high school and some are freshmen in college. 

There is language, quite a few uses of the f-word, sensual scenes, sex, under age drinking, and mentions of abuse.