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Cracking the Ice

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  27 ratings  ·  11 reviews
CRACKING THE ICE by David Hendrickson delves into the perilous world of a black teen phenomenal hockey player during the highly charged Civil Rights Era in 1968. Jessie leaves home despite the misgivings of his parents, a doctor and a teacher, and his beloved girlfriend, to pursue his dreams at an elite, formerly all-white prep school, where he hopes to get on the path to ...more
Hardcover, 366 pages
Published November 30th 2011 by West Side Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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Judy & Marianne from Long and Short Reviews
Originally posted at:

The best of Cracking the Ice is on the ice - hockey descriptions are in-the-moment, bring-you-there. "Jessie cradles the puck on his stick and took off, skating ahead ten feet, then dropping the puck and cutting to the left..." Hockey is important, not only as the game itself, but how it impacts the dreams and goals of the main character.

Ultimately, this is a personal journey story: goals, and the future are what drive the main charac
May 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I think this book is a perfect read for most everyone. I picked it mostly because of the hockey aspect but it has so much more to it. A black player at a white prep school in New Hampshire during 1968. It has all the biogtry, hatred and courage that one could expect. Jessie's struggle, along with his parents, and the other black athlete are heartrenching and an important (and embarrassing part) of this country's history. There are characters you will outright dislike, those you will love and tho ...more
Mar 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A riveting story about a fourteen year old black youth, Jessie, who's passion is hockey. Jessie faces many obstacles in this story which takes place in 1968 amidst the civil rights and integration turmoils taking place America. Is he a pawn to be used for his athletic prowess and yet still be up against violent racism? I could not put this book down.

Feb 18, 2020 rated it liked it
I appreciate the overall effort of the book, but it felt super forced to me. There was no subtlety whatsoever, and very very little character development. Somewhat exciting and a good story, but it lacked the depth I was hoping for.
Feb 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012

I don't have many problems with this book, I didn't love but it was not a waste of my time. In fact, I think it's one of the most interesting books I've read this year. And it touches a subject close to my heart. But first a few quibbles. Jessie has a girlfriend, they are in love. Jessie is fifteen. I thought this would be one of those 'first-love but move on' type stories but it's not which I felt was unrealistic. But then again, it was the 1960s, maybe people fell in love and stayed toget
Ryan Nazarian
Nov 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
I had mixed feelings about this book. There were good parts but there was also some not bad but boring parts. To start out when a first got this book I thought it was going to be all about hockey. But when I first started reading it I noticed it was more about the fact that the 14 year old boy, Jessie, was black. The book was more about him trying to get into a good prep school but the he was having a hard time doing that because of his skin color. The schools would allow him to get in but his p ...more
Rebecca Dobrinski
Jul 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: hockey
The sad reality has been, with as far as society has come, there were still some hockey fans who threw the rest of us right back to the days when black hockey players suffered verbal and physical abuse simply on the basis of the color of their skin. There is no excuse for the behavior exhibited by some fans towards the Washington Capitals’ Joel Ward during the 2012 playoffs – especially coming from fans of Willie O’Ree’s former team. That behavior made this an appropriate time for all of us to b ...more
Karen DelleCava
Apr 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Jessie Stackhouse is a black teen and hockey phenom recruited to a prestigious prep school during the height of the civil rights movement. From the moment Jessie arrives at Springvale Academy, he’s accosted with seething hatred from his classmates, teammates, hockey coach and don’t get me started on the racist locals. Riveted, I kept wondering how he was going to make this impossible and very often lonely situation work. Thank goodness for Stick, Jessie’s quick witted roommate and friend and Fre ...more
Oct 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is a good book. I recommend this book to anyone that likes hockey and want to learn how bad prejudice is. The main character Jessey has to overcome many adversities to play on the hockey team. That all I'm saying so you are going to have to read to find out what happens next. ...more
Jul 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous presentation of historical racism in the 1960s with vivid imagery and believable characters. I learned about hockey and was surprised several times in the story. Kudos to Dave Hendrickson!
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great book about how segregation influenced sports. This book made my insides curl with how powerful it was to me.
David Hendrickson
Aug 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
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Bomber Bests: coopernash 2 4 Nov 14, 2013 01:55PM  

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David H. Hendrickson’s first novel, Cracking the Ice, was praised by Booklist as “a gripping account of a courageous young man rising above evil.” He has since published five additional novels, including Offside, which has been adopted for high school student required reading.

His short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and numerous anthologies, including multiple issues of Fi

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