Genre: YA Contemporary
Title: Center Ice
Author: Cate Cameron
Publication date: May 2015
Karen Webber is in small-town hell. After her mother’s death, she moved to Corrigan Falls to live with strangers—her dad and his perfect, shiny new family—and there doesn’t seem to be room for a city girl with a chip on her shoulder. The only person who makes her feel like a real human being is Tyler MacDonald.
But Karen isn’t interested in starting something with a player. And that’s all she keeps hearing about Tyler.
Corrigan Falls is a hockey town, and Tyler’s the star player. But the viselike pressure from his father and his agent are sending him dangerously close to the edge. All people see is hockey—except Karen. Now they’ve managed to find something in each other that they both desperately need. And for the first time, Tyler is playing for keeps…
What I Liked:
So, you might not have realized this about me yet, but I love hockey. And I especially love romances centered around hockey players, preferably those of the not-so-straight variety, but I’m willing to read anything that I can get my hands on. So YA + Hockey +Romance? Sign me up!
The story is exactly what you’d expect. New girl in town meets local hockey hero, they fall in love, but they both have issues. What I liked about the romance is that the character’s seemed pretty mature for their age, which makes sense given that he plays major junior hockey, and she was raised by a now dead single-parent. They communicate well and make pretty sound decisions (until the book’s climax misunderstanding). I really appreciate this, because romance can be a frustrating genre when the characters are stupid. And make stupid decisions. And don’t. freaking. talk. to. each. other!!! Anyway…that problem was avoided in this book, so yay!
What I Didn’t:
I got so annoyed at Tyler’s family/dad/agent! I mean, I know that I was supposed to, I guess I was mostly annoyed by the fact that other characters (mainly the adults who work with the team) didn’t step in to help Tyler out. His dad is so obviously all of the worst sports /stage parent stereotypes. Why have the coaches and trainers let this go on so long? That’s really the thing I find most unrealistic about the book. I don’t think the dad would be able to get to that level of crazy in the real world (Although, maybe Jack Johnson of the Columbus Blue Jackets would beg to differ…).
I also felt that some of Karen’s family drama was overwrought. I mean, it just kept piling up! It definitely got to soap opera levels of drama with the death/step-family/jealousy/multiple people cheating. At some point, less is more. It would have been fine just to leave things at death and step-family.
This book is cute. At 196 pages, it is a quick read, with the appropriate levels of fluff and angst. I liked the characters and thought they had good chemistry. It was YA appropriate, with mentions of making-out and sex, but no in-depth details. If you like hockey romances, this is one to check out!
My Rating: 3.5/5 (Enjoyed, will read the sequel eventually)