Thursday, January 2, 2014

ARC Review: BEING SLOANE JACOBS by Lauren Morrill [Book Blitz]

352 pages
Expected publication: January 7th, 2014 
Published by: Delacorte
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.
Where do I even start? Should I fangirl over the fact that I am officially in love with Lauren Morrill's novels? Should I tell you that Being Sloane Jacobs is the sweetest novel to hit my shelves since Meant to Be? Or should I just quit the yapping and get to the review?

Alright, let me just tell you that Being Sloane Jacobs is ADORABLE. Yes, it deserves all caps. Do you remember the Disney Channel Original Movies you watched in your early teens? This is the best way to describe Lauren Morrill's latest novel. It reminded me of my childhood in such a way that I couldn't help but reminisce about the movies I enjoyed back in the day. The novel has the same likability factor and entertaining value. I had so much fun reading it from beginning to end. I'm not saying it had a ton of depth or that there aren't any loopholes in the "switching places" concept. However, at the end of the day, what you see is what you get. You can't tell me that the cover doesn't scream "FUN, CUTE, AND ENJOYABLE YA CONTEMPORARY NOVEL" because look at it! It tells you all you need to know. What I didn't expect was the complexity of the backstory of both of the Sloanes.  Morrill doesn't rely on the switch to carry the story. She peels back layer upon layer of their complicated lives, which makes the story a lot more unique and interesting. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to anticipate the climax and conclusion of the story but I enjoyed the journey nevertheless. I particularly loved the Epilogue but I'm not going to spoil it for you.

While I couldn't necessarily relate to the characters,  I really liked their stories and cared enough about them to keep reading.  Even though the novel is romance-heavy, I don't feel like I learned enough about the love interests to connect with them. This is a real shame because they were kind of dreamy.  I am a sports fanatic so the hockey/figure skating aspect of the novel was awesome. The skating scenes were written beautifully.  I believe Lauren Morrill plays roller derby and I can tell she knows her stuff.  She wrote the skating scenes carefully, paying close attention to the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I also love the fact that both girls are athletes in their own right. I haven't read a lot (if any) YA novels where the main female characters play a competitive sport.  I don't know if I haven't been looking hard enough or if strong/sporty female characters are lacking in the YA world.

I love that she incorporated traveling into both of her novels. I am mildly obsessed with stories that take place anywhere outside of the USA so I love her for exploring Montreal and London (especially London).  Lauren Morrill reminds me so much of Stephanie Perkins and Meg Cabot.  Her writing is witty and fun. I just want to be her best friend, you know? She is too cool. Meant to Be (review can be found here) is one of my favorite YA contemporary novels and I am confident to say that I can add Being Sloane Jacobs to the list.

About the author:
Lauren Elizabeth Morrill is many things, including, but not limited to, a writer, an educator, a badass roller derby skater, a former band nerd, an aggressive driver, and a die-hard Mac person. She also watches a lot of TV, eats a lot of junk food, and drinks a lot of Coke. It's a wonder her brain and teeth haven't rotted out of her head.
Note: If you can't get enough of Lauren Morrill, she has two novels coming out in 2015 (The Trouble With Destiny) & 2016 (My Unscripted Life)! So we can consider ourselves lucky. :)

I received an eARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 
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