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4.7 out of 5
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  • Perfect balance of cute and real...

    4 stars — I started off listening to this one, but the audio just wasn’t capturing me and holding my attention as much, so I switched to reading and it was much smoother. I will admit it took me a bit to really connect with Holland. It’s funny, it’s like as a character she was even a bit closed off to the reader. She keeps her cards so close to her vest, and she’s been jaded by the hoops she has to jump through as a girl on a boy’s team, and so she comes across…not quite cold, but not warm?? I don’t know. But I totally did end up “getting” her, and seeing how everything was affecting her, and living those tough choices with her (even if some of them were the wrong ones). She was definitely at a crossroads, and I truly felt that she was a better her by the time the book ended. I LOVED all the different tricky aspects the author addressed of a girl playing hockey on a boy’s team. From unrealistic expectations of her talent, to having to walk a fine line wrt the girls team, to old school folks and the boys will be boys crowd. I also loved that while she definitely experienced all of that, her life wasn’t mired by those things without any of the good bits. I appreciated that she had support from teammates, her family, her coaches…even if sometimes they were a little misguided. I especially loved Ms. Rieland, and what she brought to the table for Holland. And then there’s Wes. My heart broke watching how obvious he was being about his affections, while Holland clung to her ignorance (even when it became impossible). I’m glad that he wasn’t perfect, but that he sure tried hard to be, and that he learned from his own missteps. And wow, they were adorable together. The crush to more was just…*swoon* Even though their journey together was anything but smooth, I adored the bits of romance we got. It was a bit slower to start for me, but I was really invested by the end. A perfect balance of cute romance mixed with real life struggles.

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