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Young Adult Indie 1164
Can Jesse Thaw This Ice Princess?
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Jesse and the Ice Princess by Michelle MacQueen is the first book in her new series Gulf City High, and it is a delightful read! I read it in one sitting, not wanting to miss a minute of Jesse and Charlotte’s story.

Charlotte Morrison is the hockey coach’s daughter and a competitive figure skater. She doesn’t have time for friends or fun. Her determination and one-minded focus has led to her unfortunate nickname: ice princess. Charlie hates this nickname. Her shyness coupled with her lack of social life has her labeled a snob, a mean girl that thinks she’s better than everyone else. But that’s not Charlie and she doesn’t know how to change that persona or if she really cares to.

Jesse Carrigan is the hockey team captain and school’s golden boy. Everyone wants to be Jesse and the girl’s want his attention. But Jesse’s school life and home life couldn’t be more different. After his mother’s death two years prior, his dad has retreated into work, leaving Jesse and his sister (who suffers from extreme social anxiety) to raise their younger twin brothers. I love Jesse. Never once does he complain about his lot in life. Instead you see a young man completely comfortable in his role as caretaker. It’s this trait that leads him to see through the ice built around Charlotte.

The plot of this one centers around Charlotte and Jesse. Jesse’s team is not known for winning, and just once before they graduate, he’d like to see them win. After seeing Charlotte playing on the ice with her friend, he knows how they’ll win. He needs the ice princess to come teach the team her moves. It’s convincing her of this that is the problem. I love the complexity of the plot here. While it seems straightforward, MacQueen delves deeper into Charlie’s actions and the motives behind them. In this short novel, the character’s development is beyond expectations as Charlie learns to adapt to new situations and stand up for what she wants.

Overall, I really loved Jesse and the Ice Princess. This is the first contemporary from the author I’ve read (I have read her fantasy novels under her pen name M. Lynn), and it won’t be the last. If you enjoy sweet, YA contemporary, I highly recommend it.
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