Hooked on you

Title: Hooked
Author: Liz Fichera
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: January 31 2013
Pages: 368
Genre: Contemporary
Source: NetGalley
Rating: 4/5

Summary from Goodreads- When Native American Fredericka ‘Fred’ Oday is invited to become the only girl on the school’s golf team, she can’t say no. This is an opportunity to shine, win a scholarship and go to university, something no one in her family has done.

But Fred’s presence on the team isn’t exactly welcome — especially not to rich golden boy Ryan Berenger, whose best friend was kicked off the team to make a spot for Fred.

But there’s no denying that things are happening between the girl with the killer swing and the boy with the killer smile…

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I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I wasn’t expecting much from it, since as you can see from the cover it’s clearly a romance, and because I read that it was about golf, and I’m really, really not a sports person, but I actually ended up really liking it because of its uniqueness.

First off, anyone who reads YA today knows that whitewashing is a big problem in YA lit. There are very, very few books featuring characters of color, and to see a book with a Native American protagonist was even more unusual. Fred is an unusual female character also because of her interest in athletics. Her being the only female on Lone Butte’s golf team is a major point of interest throughout the book. However, Fichera focuses more on how Fred’s being Indian affected the way people saw her and her playing than the fact that she was female. If I could change anything about this story, it would probably to have brought the gender issues to the forefront a little more (not necessarily to have it overshadow the issue of race, but just a bit more recognition).

Hooked will definitely be an eye-opening read to other readers as it was to me. Life for people who live on Indian reservations isn’t something that’s talked about either in school or in general society, so it was refreshing to read about a character who lives a life different from what we might consider typical. I do wish Fichera had spent a little more time at the Rez. Most of the story took place either at the high school, the golf club, or tournaments. We got to see more of the Rez closer to the end of the story when Fred’s friends started coming to tournaments and Ryan went to see Fred at her house.

I was also really digging the pace of Fred and Ryan’s relationship. I feel that sometimes YA novels have romances that move at a somewhat unrealistic speed, so Fred and Ryan’s tentative relationship seemed very genuine to me. It certainly wasn’t easy-going for them, and while they didn’t necessarily resolve all of their issues by the end of the story, that actually made it more of a suspenseful romance than if they’d both gone head-over-heals right away. Their romance was also unique because they had to overcome the barrier of racial prejudice, which is something you don’t find a lot in YA.

All in all, Liz Fichera’s debut (yay DAC2013!) was refreshing and unique, a great start to the 2013 reading year. (And there’s going to be a sequel!)

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Beauty Queens

A plane full of teenage beauty queens crashes on a desert island. Beauty Queenspresents a satiric view of our consumerist society.
This is by far the best young adult book I have read all year. Beauty Queens presents us with a satire of our current consumption-driven lives. Libba Bray has created an absolutely hilarious story with completely endearing characters. One of these is a parody of Sara Palin named Ladybird Hope, who evidently does not fit under the “endearing” category. Beauty Queens also speaks to Bray’s versatility as an author; before this, she wrote the Great and Terrible Beauty trilogy, a trio of historical fantasies, and the Printz-Award- winning Going Bovine.

I also admire the way Bray dealt with some other contemporary issues such as sexuality and racism. This book is like Lost and America’s Next Top Model combined, making it a fast-paced romp through the jungle you’re sure to enjoy.