Being Sloane Jacobs is every bit as fun and fluffy as Meant to Be, with bonus family drama, pop culture references, and rarely covered (in YA at least) sports.
Being Sloane Jacobs was originally pitched as The Cutting Edge meets The Parent Trap. Now such blah meets blah advertising strategies tend to be a whole bunch of bull hockey (see what I did there?). In this case, though, that description is complete perfection. Considering that I grew up watching both of these things, I was happy as a clam (are clams happy?) from the beginning to the end.
In case you’ve not seen the cinematic gem The Cutting Edge, the basic premise is that a washed up hockey player ends up getting hired to be the partner to a bitchy princess of an ice skater who no actual pairs figure skater is willing to partner anymore. Morrill has taken this and changed it to two heroines: one washed up figure skater and one troubled hockey player. Both of them have lost their mojo at their chosen sport and, for different reasons, have been sent to training camps in Montreal for the summer.
When the two Sloane Jacobses meet by accident in their hotel, they hatch a plan to Parent Trap it up. No, they’re not long lost siblings. However, they’re both sick of their respective lives and want to escape family drama and the pressure of their respective sports. They agree to swap, both assuming that the other sport will be a total breeze compared to her own, in a taunting session that’s so completely The Cutting Edge that I flailed a bit. Of course, in swapping, they learn a lot about themselves and a new respect for another sport. Morrill does a great job with the descriptions of both the figure skating and the hockey, though I think she does the latter particularly well probably thanks to her roller derby experience (lots of hard hits in that sport too).
Both Sloane Emily and Sloane Devon are interesting girls, though I do gravitate a bit more to the hard-edged Sloane Devon. Sloane Emily’s dealing with her Senator father’s recent scandal and her mother’s overbearing attitude. Sloane Devon has a mother in rehab and a desperate need for a scholarship to have any hope of college. The scene stealer of the show, in my opinion, is Andy, a sassy black figure skater who I think is just the best.
In proper Lauren Morrill style, there is, of course, some romance. However, unlike with Meant to Be, the romance is NOT the central theme of the novel. It takes a backseat to sports, friendship and family, in roughly that order. Both girls get a cute boy and, just like in Meant to Be, it’s delightfully realistic and non-HEAish. Morill achieves this perfect balance between swooniness and a sense that the relationships probably won’t last forever.
What Left Me Wanting More:
Obviously, I read an ARC copy, but I did note a couple of things that will hopefully be fixed before the final copy is printed. As I know I’ve seen Ashleigh (The YA Kitten) point out, mention is made of Sloane Devon not having washed her hockey gear since Justin Timberlake was releasing albums, implying that it had been ages, which I do not believe to be the case. I also felt the two perspectives could have sounded a bit more distinct, but I never had much of an issue telling the two apart, since they were almost never in the same place.
The Final Verdict:
Lauren Morrill is an author I trust to write deliciously fluffy novels. They’re like dessert: satisfying and happy-making, only, magically, you can’t over-indulge in this dessert and make yourself sick. Being Sloane Jacobs is an excellent choice if you like sports stories or adorableness.