Thursday, April 25, 2019

#REVIEW: Off the Ice by Julie Cross (Juniper Falls #1)

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Off The Ice (Juniper Falls #1) by Julie Cross
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: February 28th, 2017
Format: Kindle
My Rating: ★ 1/2
GoodReads ★ Amazon ★ B&N TBD
The NY Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of Whatever Life Throws at You kicks off a brand-new series perfect for fans of Miranda Kennealy and Abbi Glines.

Next season was supposed to be his year. Junior Tate Tanley had big plans to ride the varsity bench most of the season, but when the Otters star goalie storms out of the arena during the first home game of the season, Tate is in the spotlight and under the gun. 

Enter Claire O’Connor, the girl Tate’s admired for years, his sister’s best friend. Claire’s back from a year away at school to take care of her father and help keep the family business—a hockey bar beside the ice rink—afloat. One semester off, that’s what Claire promised herself. 

And then straight back to school, out of Juniper Falls. And she has dozens of reasons for wanting to get the hell out. Again.

Last year, the night before Claire left, she came to Tate’s rescue and what could have been a secret that distanced them ended up drawing them closer the moment she returned to town. For Claire and Tate, leaning on each other feels as natural as breathing but with Claire trying her best to leave again and Tate more rooted to his town than ever, it seems like the worst time to fall in love. Assuming either of them can stop it from happening.
I found this book both from other book bloggers, and from my own search for YA books about hockey. As some of you know, I have a YA contemporary I'm working on that's about hockey, so I have been desperate to find comps. Off the Ice by Julie Cross was a good place to start, and it's not a bad book, but it's just one I feel a little conflicted by.

The romance between Claire and Tate was great, but I was a little uneasy about the fact that Tate basically is "on break" with his girlfriend Haley when him and Claire start to get together. Look, I get that love is messy, but I really don't like that stuff. Haley must be the coolest girl ever, because she kind of just accepts it and is still friends with Claire. She is a better person that I was at a teen, that's for sure. 

I was really conflicted on what to rate this book because while I really enjoyed it, and I was happy at the end of the book, I felt like it tries to accomplish one too many things. It does come off as an issue book at times, where there is financial issues and ones of abuse that are kind left unsaid. There's also a really random almost assault that happens in this book that felt extremely out of place. Like that whole scene could have been cut out. 

I've been thinking a lot of sex in teen books, and how as an author I should approach it. I don't write sex in my YA WIPs, I just don't like to write them, but I don't think that means YA shouldn't have sex in them. I just worry about making sure those scenes feel right to a teen reader. I think in this book, Julie Cross gets it right in the scene she writes. I also really like that practicing sex and consensual safe is something that is addressed, because I really think that should be something teens see in all media they consume. 

While the book had some flaws, I really enjoyed it and as a hockey fan I definitely loved all the hockey talk! The second book is about Haley but it seems like you can read them all as standalone books. I definitely will be wanting to read that one sooner rather than later.

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Happy Reads Everyone!

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