Being Sloane Jacobs

“Timeliness, timeliness, timeliness” may be as important for author Lauren Morrill’s book release as “location, location, location” is for a real estate agent. Being Sloane Jacobs might be described as Olympic skating meets The Parent Trap. It comes out tomorrow just as people are finishing up thoughts of football and moving into thinking of the upcoming Olympic Games. I read an advance reading copy furnished through Net Galley.

Sloane Emily Jacobs accidentally meets Sloane Devon Jacobs as they head to different kinds of skating camps, each trying to escape problems at home as they hone their competitive skating skills. Sloane Emily is fighting her way back into the ice skating world after being sidelined for three years, and Sloane Devon is atoning for anger issues that have placed her in jeopardy of losing her spot on her hockey team. A good word from the camp will help restore her place when she gets home. Both are absorbed in the personal family baggage they bring along with their luggage to their camps. An accidental meeting brings a decision to exchange places for the greener pasture that lures them from the other side.

One soon forgets The Parent Trap image as their lives play out with believable complications including a couple of teenage boys who may lead them astray – or not. The tension switches among making the standard in the new skating sport without being discovered, their relationships with the boys, and unsettling communications from home.

The book is an enjoyable weekend read for a girl who needs a rest from heavy studying after mid-term exams or for a skating fan of any age. I have two concerns about the book. The first is how well one can suspend disbelief that each girl can reach the standard of competence expected of a competitor in the short time she is at ice skating or hockey camp. The other is whether today’s young adult reader will understand several references to skaters from the past. The Tonya Harding incident happened long before they were born, and even Kristy Yamaguchi was unfamiliar to my sixteen-year-old granddaughter when I checked.

I find these problems minor and came away feeling that Lauren Morrill had told a good story that would appeal to female readers who are coming of age and would perhaps entice them to take a second look at the true depth of green in pastures that lure from the other side of the fence.