Title: Being Sloane Jacobs
Author: Lauren Morrill
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.
I wasn’t a big fan of Lauren Morrill’s debut, Meant to Be, but this book sounded too cute and fun to pass it up, so I decided to give her a second chance. While it didn’t blow me away, it was a cute book with two protagonists I liked a little more than the one from Meant to Be, so I consider that a success.
At the beginning of the book, I figured I was going to be more interested in Sloane Emily’s story – from her introductory chapter, she just seemed like the one I could relate to easier. She had an interesting (and by that, I meant dysfunctional) home life and she was the figure skater, which I’m more interested in than hockey. I knew she would be switching based on the premise, but I really didn’t mind. Sloane Devon, on the other hand, was a much more violent and hot-tempered person, and obviously had the stereotypical assumption that figure skating was easy and that it wasn’t nearly as real as hockey or whatever, so I wasn’t a huge fan of her at the beginning. By the end of the book, however, I think I was more interesting in the Sloane Devon/figure skating chapters than the Sloane Emily/ice hockey ones.
The Sloane Devon chapters just has more interesting elements, in my opinion. I liked the secondary characters in hers better, the “mean girl” actually did seem mean and worthy of being antagonized, the “learning to understand and appreciate this new form of skating” aspect was more interesting, and the romance was cuter and seemed realer. Sloane Emily’s chapters, meanwhile, had secondary characters that didn’t entertain me as much, a “mean girl” who definitely wasn’t nice but also didn’t seem to deserve a weird prank or the constant complaining, a change in perspective on hockey that really seemed to be more about getting stronger than learning to appreciate it, and a romance that seemed to have needless drama (oh, he’s so cute! But he apparently kissed a bunch of girls last year! Better be really rude to him even though I obviously like him!). There were some parts of her chapters that I liked, I never necessarily dreaded coming back to her perspective, but I don’t really remember being sad to leave her either.
The location was much more interesting to me. I actually went to Montreal last summer, and even though it was only a couple of days, one of which involved us arriving there and the next which involved a lot of heat and then rain, I kept trying to find things I recognized. There was one place that Sloane Emily goes to with her love interest, and I think it’s a park that we passed at one point, so that’s what I’m going with, since it makes me feel well-travelled and knowledgeable. But, even if I hadn’t been here, it would have been interesting anyway because it was cool seeing the collision of North America and Europe since Montreal has two languages (English and French Canadian), which showed up in this book. I’m also trying to learn French right now, so I loved reading the quick bits of dialogue in French and seeing how many words I recognized (not nearly enough – need more practice).
By the time I reached the end of this book, with its highly unrealistic but entertaining twists and plotlines, I was pretty entertained. It wasn’t an amazing book that has made me a Morrill fan for life or anything, but it did make me willing to check out her next book to give her another chance to wow me. Fans of her debut will probably love or at least like this book, and people who were slightly put off by it should still give this one a try.