Title: Being Sloane Jacobs
Author: Lauren Morrill
Genre: YA, contemporary fiction
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: January 7, 2014
Synopsis from cover: 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, while not an incredibly deep or life-changing novel, is a sweet story about finding what really matters to you. If a bit unbelievable, BSJ has a parent trap vibe reworked to have two teen girls switch places and pretend to live each others’ very different lives. The inclusion of hockey and ice skating is a nice twist to the YA genre, since they’re hobbies not often seen in contemporary books. The romance was a bit forced, but ultimately is very sweet in the case of Sloane Devon – it’s the friendship that really matters in this book. If you’re looking for a light read, I highly recommend this one for a lazy afternoon!
I had requested this book on NetGalley after reading a very early review on another blog, and after a very long wait time for my approval (I had given up on it!) I was surprised by the email saying I had been approved! I immediately downloaded the ebook, and read it in one night. I went into it expecting a cute, light, if-slighlty-needing-suspension-of-belief sort of book, and that’s exactly what I got. If you’re looking for a book with a lot of depth and feels, this isn’t it. But if you need to lose yourself for a few hours, and read something really weightless so you can just relax and lose yourself, this is exactly what you need.
I’ll get my complaints out of the way first. One: the plot is very parent trap in style, with the two Sloanes switching places to live each others’ life over the summer so they can escape their problems. There is no way this would actually happen, unless they’re somehow identical twins that got separated (which they’re not). It would be very clear to everyone that they had switched, since both girls were supposed to be very well known in their respective sports (Sloane Devon in hockey, Sloane Emily in skating). Two: I wish there was just a tiny bit more character development from both Sloanes. There was a little bit towards the end, so maybe more of an epilogue? It seemed to be an open ended conclusion, with nothing solid or certain for the future.
Other than those two points, I really enjoyed this story. I liked Sloane Devon a little bit more, since she was a down-and-dirty, I can handle myself, I refuse to be taken down sort of girl. She had her doubts and her fears, but she seemed to handle them a lot better, or at least do something about it to move on. Sloane Emily was slightly like that, but a bit more delicate and cautious. It was great to see both girls adapt to the new sports they switched to, and realizing how much each of them work and appreciating their individual talents. I think that was the greatest part of the book – learning to root for other girls and understand each other before tearing each other down. It was a great message about female friendship that I think needs to be a lot more present than it is now in YA.
Of course, I do need to give a nod to the summer romances that both girls kindle while they’ve switched places. I thought both were cute, but they definitely had that “summer romance” feel. The relationships weren’t the focus of the story, and I really liked that part. It was definitely a self-discovery novel versus a love story.
Long story short, I recommend this book for sure. I definitely agree with Morrill’s comparisons to Stephanie Perkins, in that she rights fluffy, light-hearted stories that are perfect when you need a pick me up. I can’t read TFiOS-tpes all the time, and something like Being Sloane Jacobs is a great relaxation book.
My Final Rating: