Colleen's Reviews > On Thin Ice

On Thin Ice by Julie Cross
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 2019

First off, I have to be honest here, I don't think the blurb was accurately written. I thought I was getting into a sweet, YA romance that would deal with some harder things (the blurb does mention a hazing thing gone wrong), but mostly skirt over the real issue and ultimately end up being a quick read. Boy was I wrong. Not a quick YA read, despite the quick nature of the plot. What normally would've taken me 3 -4 ish hours to finish - even with as many pages as this book has, took probably double that. Now, I'm not complaining about spending all day reading, I'm just saying I wasn't expecting it. It wasn't because it was a bad book, quite the opposite. It is a fantastically told story, but because it delves deeper than I antcipated, it took me longer to get though.

I know Entangled "thing" is the dual POV, but when I realized it would be written that way I sort of inwardly groaned. I know it's the in thing to do in literature these days, especially YA, but it just seems like a new pop song on the radio: catchy, fun, but very quickly over done. BUT, the dual POV in On Thin Ice was done pretty much to perfection. The scenes chosen for each, the destinct voice of each, even the balance between the inner voice and dialogue was done really, really well. Like, almost as well as I've read lately. So seriously, kudos to the author for that balance!

The story in and of itself was also pretty darn close to perfect, and that despite the fact that I'm not a huge fan of getting too "real" with a lot of topics in YA. I pick up a YA romance novel for just that: a short, sweet shot of teenage love. I don't generally have an interest in getting into their lives and problems much passed the romance I came for. However, the romance and the true plot line of a hockey team hazing ritual gone bad and the repercussions from it were woved together so seemlessly that I didn't even care (and hardly noticed!) that I was reading something more than surface level in YA. Even for the tough subject of teenage hazing, peer pressure, and fear of standing up for what you know is right (and those are just Jake's issues!), the author handled it really maturely and yet delicately. I was happy that while choosing to focus on those topics, that the author didn't focus too hard on Brooke's issues (father in prison - unsure of his guilt - mother depressed and having issues, and past partying, alcohol, and cutting issues for Brooke). She could have, but I think it would've taken the book a little darker. The issues are mentioned, and resolved, to a certain degree, but the author doesn't glorify anything and she doesn't make them a huge deal. It was more of a "this happened in Brooke's past to shape her now, but she's growing and that's what the story is about".

I loved being in the head of Jake, the senior star of the small town hockey team who ends up injured to begin his season. The struggles, internal and external, the insecurity, the uncertainty of what to do and who to follow - I felt it. I believed it. I love, love, loved Jake's insecurity towards Brooke. Something about reading about a male character, teen or not, who isn't 100% confident all the time about every aspect of his love life was so wonderfully refreshing. I feel like most YA heroines go through that, so I did love how Brooke was written, don't get me wrong, but it wasn't anything out of the ordinary.

The way that the author developed Jake and Brooke's relationship - from not knowing each other to eventual love - was simply one of the best character developments that I have had the pleasure of reading recently. No insta-love here. It was slow, but in the good way. In the realistic way. And in a way that made sense for the characters that were being set up.

This is a 5 star story in terms of story line, characters, character development, and overall writing. I thoroughly enjoyed spending my day getting lost in this story, HOWEVER... this is not a clean book. There are quite a few swear words of all type. There is underage drinking and alluding to it (though, thankfully for this teacher, done in a way that seems to be more of an "everyone else is doing it, but it's really making me feel pukey" way as opposed to a glorifying it way that I've read in other Entangled novels). There is some heavy hazing and other alludes to abuse. And, and this is really the stickler for me, there is a descriptive hook-up and sex scene. Hear me out: they were written really well. I loved the writing. I loved that they had a condom ready. I loved how the characters handled it. I even loved how it flowed into the story and wasn't forced or stuffy. I also loved how it wasn't rauchy because they are teenagers (and I've noticed that being a sad trend in YA lately). It was sweet, simple, and loving. Everything you'd dream up for a high school romance. But it is still Young Adult fiction. I can't recommend a book to my high school students of the same age when the characters are having sex that is more than implied. Especially not when Brooke is only a sophomore and it wasn't her first time. The other stuff was written about in an almost discouraging way, but not the sex (which, again, fit the story line perfectly). The sex was too much for a YA novel, plain and simple.

So do I love the book? Yes. Would I recommend it to a girlfriend? Yes. Do I think other lovers of YA literature will love it? Absolutely. Would I recommend it to my students? Only a very, very rare one and they'd get a warning about the swear words, alcohol, and sex, but I fully believe they'd come back to me raving about loving it too. I can't wait to read more from this author!

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review!
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
January 5, 2019 – Shelved
January 5, 2019 – Shelved as: 2019

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