Publication Date: January 7, 2014
Reading Level: Young Adult, 12+
Pages: 352 (ARC)
Source: Borrowed from Gillian
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.
BEING SLOANE JACOBS is my first novel by Morrill and I have to admit I loved it. I know many of my friends praised her first novel, MEANT TO BE, so I may have to check it out soon because of how much I enjoyed this book.
This novel starts off allowing us to get to know the back-story of both of the Sloane Jacobs. They both have lost their skating mojo in their respective sports and are sent to skate camps in Montreal for different reasons. There they legitimately run into each other and hatch a plan straight out of the Parent Trap. No, they're not related, but they both know how to skate and they happen to look alike. Plus, the same name makes it easy, no? Sloane Devon gives up her hockey skates to switch with the figure-skating Sloane Emily and the hilariousness ensues. I have to say that it was beautiful to watch both girls grow through their newly respective sports. The scenes that took place on the ice were wonderfully descriptive and I often found myself re-reading them because of this. Seeing Sloane Emily hip-check a bully twice her size while Sloane Devon learned how to put trust in a partner while being yelled at by her Russia coach, Katinka, exemplified amazing character growth. This was something that Morrill did beautifully. Morrill's side characters were amazing as well. When it came to Sloane Devon's time at figure-skating camp, I often found myself looking forward to scenes with Andy--a sassy figure skater who never ceased to put a smile on my face. Such strong characterization, however, is not evident in characters like Ivy who are entirely one-dimensional and your typical textbook bully. For the most part, all characters managed to wow me with their depth, though.
I also really enjoyed the slight romance found in both girl's lives. By no means was the romance a dominating plot point, but they provided very nice sub-plots. Both of the guys in the girls lives differentiated greatly, but they were genuine. The romance was slow-moving and believable and all around happy-making. Who could ask for a better type of connection?
The extremely personal aspects of both girls lives were amazing as well. I don't want to get into the details because they are yours to discover, but they are both escaping some really troubling times at home. When all of this comes to a climax at the very end of the novel, you can't help but flip the pages lightning fast. The ending was beyond perfect. I wouldn't have asked for it to be any different, except I could live with it never-ending because I loved these girls so much. They were not only hilarious, but very easy to connect to.
A small frustration with this novel was the fact that it was slightly dated. At one point, Sloane Emily points out that Sloane Devon's hockey bag smells so bad it must not have been cleaned since Justin Timberlake was putting out albums. First of all, I highly doubt that. Secondly, Justin Timberlake has now released a really successful album so your argument is invalid, Sloane. There was also a mention of the Bieber haircut when it was in style, which was quite a while ago. Pop culture references like this often had me shaking my head. I don't think such mentions should be in books unless they are still up to date. Just a personal pet peeve brought to light, here.
I highly recommend checking this book out! It's super adorable and full of laughs. In fact, I laughed so hard that a second glass of water was necessary while reading. Morrill can definitely bring a smile to your face. With that said, the entire novel was entirely implausible. Girls just don't change their entire athletics knowledge in a mere four weeks. But, if you can get past that, this novel takes you on a hilarious journey sprinkled with love, self-growth, learning to trust, and a barrel of laughs. It's perfect for absolutely anyone looking for a book to put a smile on their face and is also a great way to ring in the New Year!