Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Review | Off the Ice (Juniper Falls, #1) by Julie Cross

Off the Ice (Juniper Falls, #1) by Julie Cross
on February 28th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: eARC

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 But the guy she remembers has been replaced by a total hottie.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’ve been looking forward to this book for a long time! Ever since I first learned of Julie writing it and reading a very early first couple chapters…I just knew it was going to be something special. Having read it now, I was right. Off the Ice, the first book in Julie Cross’ Juniper Falls series, is a spectacular book with a gripping story line and captivating characters. This book could easily be described as having a Friday Night Lights feel, so if you’re a fan of the show, I think it would be safe to say that you would enjoy this book.

The start of the book starts off with a bit of drama, but is the foundation for the rest of the story. In a town where high school hockey is the sole focus and the main event each week, Tate Tanley finds himself in the shadow of his dad, whom the town loves and adores. Little do they know who he really is – the side that Tate sees. However, there is one other person who knows just how Tate’s dad treats him and that’s Claire O’Connor, the girl whom Tate has had a crush on for a long time. Certain circumstances bring them together unexpectedly, but just for one night. Fast forward a year, and things have changed for both of them, but not for the better – or is it? I guess it all depends on how you look at it.

In a book filled with hardships, discovering who you are outside of the spotlight and perhaps even finding your spotlight once again, Tate and Claire are two characters who find shelter in each other. But it isn’t without its trials and tribulations.

It may be safe for me to say that aside from the unique storyline, the characters are my favorite part of Off the Ice. I find them individually inspiring and developed in a way that makes them work perfectly together on the page. The hardships that they each go through, don’t overshadow one another, which I thought was important. Everything about the story seemed well thought out and strategically pieced together. Of course, the aspect of it having a sports background didn’t hurt! I love a good book that has sports as a focus and hockey isn’t one that I feel is overdone. In fact, I haven’t really seen any other YA/NA books that have hockey in it. But maybe that’s just me!

If you’re looking for an author to get hooked on, then check out Julie Cross. She has yet to write a book that I haven’t been able to put down and at this point…having read many (if not all) of her books, I doubt she ever will. 🙂 She’s earned a spot at the top of my favorite author list and even has her own shelf on my bookcase. (Yay, Julie!)

I hope you enjoy Off the Ice and if you do, I’d love to talk to you about it!

Happy reading.

five stars

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