Book Review: Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill

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.

My Rating: 3.5 cupcakes

Being Sloane Jacobs was a cute, albeit predictable, story that was very reminiscent of The Parent Trap: two girls with the same name and similar appearances switch places for the summer, learning a lot about themselves along the way. In this case, however, there was the added bonus of having sports (ice hockey and figure skating) be a main focus, which is rarely seen in YA fiction.

An important factor in how much you’ll enjoy this book largely depends on suspending your belief a fair bit. While I was able to disregard the fact that no one would notice that the girls had switched places, there was one small part of their summer plans that I couldn’t help but question: despite the fact that the girls had put years of practice into their respective sports, Sloane Emily quickly found herself scoring goals and Sloane Devon found herself able to execute jumps and turns. I know next to nothing about figure skating and the extent of my hockey knowledge stems from watching the Detroit Red Wings play in the NHL, but somehow I feel like that just wouldn’t work…

Being Sloane Jacobs is told in a dual-narrative (which is separated by the cutest heart-shaped chapter breaks), allowing us insight into both Sloane Emily and Sloane Devon’s lives. Both Sloanes had distinct voices, and I quickly found myself enamoured with Sloane Devon’s snarky sense of humour. I didn’t enjoy Sloane Emily’s point of view quite as much, likely because her personality and backstory weren’t as developed as Sloane Devon’s. There was so much potential to fully develop both girls’ characters through an exploration of the scandal that Sloane Emily’s family faces, or through a closer examination at Sloane Devon’s mother’s alcoholism, but unfortunately these were left as surface issues.

In typical Lauren Morill fashion, there was a romantic subplot which, thankfully, took the backseat to sports, family, and self-discovery. I didn’t really have any strong feelings towards either of the love interests due to the fact that each guy only had a few interactions with the Sloane they were with.

Overall, Being Sloane Jacobs was a light, fun read that I really enjoyed, despite my few issues with it. I look forward to reading Lauren Morill’s next book!

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