Thursday, March 9, 2017

Book Review: Off the Ice by Julie Cross

Off the Ice (Juniper Falls #1)
By Julie Cross
Release Date: February 28, 2017
Source: Publisher 
All is fair in love and hockey…

Claire O’Connor is back in Juniper Falls, but that doesn’t mean she wants to be. One semester off, that’s what she promised herself. Just long enough to take care of her father and keep the family business—a hockey bar beside the ice rink—afloat. After that, she’s getting the hell out. Again.

Enter Tate Tanley. What happened between them the night before she left town resurfaces the second they lay eyes on each other. But the guy she remembers has been replaced by a total hottie. When Tate is unexpectedly called in to take over for the hockey team’s star goalie, suddenly he’s in the spotlight and on his way to becoming just another egotistical varsity hockey player. And Claire’s sworn off Juniper Falls hockey players for good.

It’s the absolute worst time to fall in love.

For Tate and Claire, hockey isn’t just a game. And they both might not survive a body check to the heart.

I don't know what it is about athletes, but I am a sucker for a good sports romance. I was obsessed with Julie's Whatever Life Throws at You and couldn't wait to read her YA hockey romance!

Claire O'Conner has always had big dreams of singing and performing and finally getting out of Juniper Falls. But a family tragedy has her back from her semester away at school and back working in her parents' hockey bar. Before she left, Tate Tanley was an awkward boy who happened to be one of her friends. A year later and Tate is definitely not a boy anymore and he's found himself as the school's starting varsity hockey goalie. Tate can't believe that Claire is back and can't forget the feelings he felt for her before she left. But with the pressures they're both feeling from their parents and responsibilities, can a relationship really work between them? 

I've got to say, when I first started this book, it was a bit difficult to get into. Once the story picked up, though, I couldn't put this book down. I absolutely loved how important hockey was to the small town of Juniper Falls and how everyone knew everyone else's business. Tate felt so much pressure from the town and his father, who happened to be a hockey legacy, that he was finding it hard to live up to all of the expectations. Claire also had so much going on with her life and I loved how they could just be themselves with each other and be teenagers for once. 

While Claire and Tate could relax around each other and find solace from their stressful lives, I also loved how they were brutally honest with each other and pushed each other to be their best selves. Even when they disagreed on something, the other wouldn't back down and made them look at things realistically while still being supportive. And have I mentioned the hockey yet? Because I loved how much ice time we got with Tate. While I wished Claire had watched him more, I was so happy we got to see Tate's time on the ice and the pressures he was facing to perform well. As a sports romance, this one had plenty of sports and plenty of romance, which definitely pleased me. 

Overall, this was a cute story from Julie Cross. There were some serious moments, but also some playful moments between our main characters. Both of them were dealing with pretty serious problems regarding their families, which gave this book more depth than your average YA book. If you love sports romances and Julie Cross, you should definitely check out Off the Ice!

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