Author: Lauren Morrill
Genre: young adult, contemporary
Published: expected January 7 2014
Source: publishers via NetGalley
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.
This is a perfect, light, fun read. It's the best kind of fluff; there's actual substance to the story, but the book itself remains a lighthearted read for the most part, full of hijinx and pranks, switched-places and snafus. It's literary escapism; part Parent Trap and part Sarah Ockler's Bittersweet, and all charming. Being Sloane Jacobs can be funny, it can be sweet, it can be honest. With just a few hundred pages, the author manages to create a realistic and amusing novel.With this little gem, Morrill has a solid follow up to the already well-received Meant to Be.
The two Sloanes are nicely and easily distinguished. Though the POV and narration alternates between them steadily, it's easy to tell which Sloane you're reading -- the ice-skater who wants to just get away from her conniving father or the punk hockey player that is dealing with an alcoholic mom. They both have family problems and similar talents, so if you don't look too closely, the premise essentially works. These two with their similar looks and skating talents could pull off a switcheroo... for a time. Like all things essentially silly, it may not hold up too well under a prolonged examination, but the story is fun. Watching these two different girls make heads or tails of one another's life is amusing and engrossing.
The girls also both deal with two individual romantic entanglements that arise from their odd and illegal situation. Both teenage romances make for some expected drama, but it was handled realistically by the author. The two couples' various interactions are not overwrought or saccharine, but both have a sweet, and young feel to them. The love interests could have been a little more developed as individuals, but I liked what there was. Matt seemed more "alive" than Fernando, but both were at least interesting and independently motivated.
For such a simple story, Being Sloane Jacobs feels a little long at 350 pages. It reads easily, but that doesn't mean I didn't think that some parts shouldn't be more streamlined. Still, this was a really cute read. It was fun, and it was funny. I was reminded very strongly of Sarah Ockler throughout my reading this and I think this would be a big hit with readers who enjoy her brand of YA contemporary. It's enjoyable and escapist and provides a lot of entertainment.