Every Reason We Shouldn’t

Sixteen-year-old figure skater Olivia Kennedy’s competitive dreams have ended. She’s bitter but enjoying life as a regular teenager instead of trying to live up to the expectations of having Olympians Midori Nakashima and Michael Kennedy as parents. . .until Jonah Choi starts training at her family’s struggling rink.

Jonah’s driven, talented, going for the Olympics in speed skating, completely annoying. . . and totally gorgeous.

Amid teasing Jonah, helping her best friend try out for roller derby, figuring out life as a normal teen, and keeping the family business running, Olivia’s got her hands full. But will rivalry bring her closer to Jonah, or drive them apart?

Olivia’s life is a mess. Her father is on the road working, her mother is so doped up on pain pills that she’s mostly absent from Olivia’s life, and Olivia’s best friend is dealing with her own set of troubles, including raising her daughter. Then, Jonah enters the picture. The “Ice Prince” may set Olivia on fire, but his cocky attitude puts a damper on the romance. Instead of being a sweet and sexy love interest, Olivia and Jonah sneak into storage rooms, behind counters, and even behind a dumpster to make out. The abundance of kissing makes their romance seem shallow and cheap. Instead of rooting for the two teens, readers will have a hard time believing the two are really in love.

Olivia’s parents are another negative aspect of the story. Olivia has no parental support. While Olivia’s mother’s excuse is her constant pain, her injury is never explained, which leaves the reader wondering if the pain meds are necessary or just a way for her mother to escape. To make matters worse, the book’s conclusion is unrealistic because it portrays Olivia and her parents as a cohesive group that supports each other when there is absolutely no evidence that supports this.

Unfortunately, Every Reason We Shouldn’t isn’t a fun, flirty romance that readers will enjoy. Instead, it’s full of forgettable characters that are hard to relate to. While both Jonah and Olivia hope to go to the Olympics, they spend more time kissing than they do on the ice. The story combines skating with romance and parental pressures; however, the book’s flaws will quickly damper reader’s interest. Instead of reading Every Reason We Shouldn’t, readers looking for an entertaining story that mixes sports and romance should check out the Hundred Oaks Series by Miranda Kenneally.

Sexual Content

  • The father of Mack’s baby asks her if she wants to go to his house. He says, “Derek will get us a six-pack or two. We’ll hang and stuff . . . My mom doesn’t’ care if you sleep over. Long as we’re quiet.”
  • Olivia watches Jonah skate. “Every time he stops, Jonah looks over at me and smiles. I’m melting. I fantasize about stepping up onto his bladed feet, wrapping my arms around his neck, and kissing him until we’re standing in a puddle of water in the middle of the rink.”
  • When Olivia asks a friend for boy advice, the friend texts, “and use protection. . . And he better not be sending you pictures of his junk.”
  • Olivia and Jonah lay on a couch. Olivia brings “my other hand up underneath his T-shirt until my palm rests over his heart. . . Jonah pushes me gently down on the couch until his whole body presses into mine. . . When Jonah’s lips find mine, the blanket becomes completely unnecessary.”
  • Olivia and Jonah go into a supply closet at the skating rink. “As soon as the door is closed, I launch myself at him, our lips connecting like I’ve wanted them to do all morning. . . Cold fingertips glide underneath the back of my T-shirt and up my spine. . . I pull the zipper of Jonah’s skinsuit down to mid-chest. . . Jonah’s breath hitches when I slide my cold hand underneath the fabric.” They part when Jonah’s father calls him.
  • At the skate rink, Olivia and Jonah kiss. Jonah makes a “trail of kisses from my ear to my throat.” Then Olivia pulls “Jonah down until we are both kneeling on the well-worn carpet behind the skate counter. . .” They are interrupted by Jonah’s father.
  • After being apart for several days, Jonah goes to the ice rink. Olivia goes to take out the trash and, “As soon as I walk out the front door, Jonah grabs the trash with one hand and my hand with the other and pulls me behind the building to the dumpster. His lips meet mine before the bag of trash even hits the bottom of the dumpster.”
  • Olivia and Egg (her old skate partner) go to Los Angeles for a skate audition. While driving, Egg says, “Do you know what this looks like? Human trafficking.”

Violence

  • Olivia’s school has a lock down because of an angry parent’s “disorderly conduct” and a “confrontation” with the school’s security officer.

 Drugs and Alcohol

  • Olivia’s mom has an injury so she takes muscle relaxants and pain medication. Olivia says the medication makes her mom “spaced out.”
  • Olivia thinks that some of the high achieving kids at her school “snuck into their parents’ medicine cabinet to take a Xanax or two because their anxiety was way off the charts.”
  • Olivia’s classmate has a panic attack. She says, “The new medication helps. I still spent the rest of the day in bed surrounded by all my dogs and watching sea otter videos though.”

Language

  • Profanity is used often. Profanity includes ass, crap, damn, freaking, hell and pissed.
  • OMG, God, and Lord are used as exclamations occasionally.
  • Mack calls two boys “boneheads.”

Supernatural

  • None

Spiritual Content

  • None

Breaking the Ice

Sophie Fournier’s first love is hockey. When she’s the first woman drafted into the North American Hockey League (NAHL), she finally gets her chance to play hockey for a living. But being the first woman in the NAHL means she has to be perfect on and off the ice in order to prove that women should have a shot at being drafted. Not meeting that perfection means no playing—not just for her—but for every woman wishing to play.

Breaking the Ice is a hockey-heavy book. Sophie’s love for the sport comes up often because it’s her career, and there are many scenes depicting games and practices. The story starts with Sophie being drafted and ends with the next year’s draft, leading the reader through her first season with the Concord Condors as she battles with opponents and some teammates. Although this story and Sophie are fictitious, most of the scenes are very realistic.

Sophie is a strong protagonist. She’s extremely intelligent and understands how the press and her teammates perceive her is very important to her survival as the first and only woman in the NAHL. Because Sophie is so well-controlled in her behavior, she does occasionally come off as aloof and uptight. As the story progresses, she begins to befriend her teammates and some of her icy exterior thaws. As she allows herself to open up, she becomes friends with some of the other characters, like her opponent Dmitri and teammate Merlin.

Sophie does have issues with a couple of teammates, opponents, and the press because she is a woman and many feel that she doesn’t have a place in the NAHL. Sophie takes these confrontations with as much grace as possible, and she pushes herself to be absolutely perfect on and off the ice. As this is the first book in the series, Sophie’s need for perfection as well as her character growth will most likely continue in the next books as her team vies for the Maple Cup. Sophie wants it all, like any serious athlete, and she’s working hard while knowing that her mark can help or hinder the next woman who wishes to be drafted and taken seriously.

Breaking the Ice has a steady pace throughout as it details Sophie’s first season with the Condors. As a result, those looking for a book with a very exciting ending probably will not find it here, though there is much excitement throughout. Sophie’s story is enlightening for hockey players as well as those who don’t know anything about the sport, and her dedication is admirable. Sophie has a lot of obstacles to overcome in Breaking the Ice, but readers will see she is more than up for the challenge.

Sexual Content

  • Sophie has played on men’s hockey teams for a long time. Sophie mentions that “she’s had teammates hit on her before, a waste of everyone’s time, but that was in high school.”
  • None of Sophie’s teammates are allowed to be alone with her, even if it’s just driving to and from practice, according to the team’s PR person. Sophie says “they don’t want to give any ammunition to the inevitable rumors that she’s sleeping with one, or more, or her teammates.”
  • One of Sophie’s teammates offers Sophie some advice. He says, “If a boy tells you he’s too big for a condom, punch him and run.”
  • Sophie expresses no interest in dating men. Her reason is that “after years of guys slamming her into the boards and trying to break her wrists and listening to what they’d do to her if the officials weren’t there to stop them, she has no desire to get closer.”
  • Sophie has lunch with her former teammate Travis, and Travis’s current teammate. Sophie tells Travis’s teammate not to leave because she’s not allowed to be alone with anyone because of rumors that might be spread, though Sophie and Travis make it clear that they would never try anything like that. Sophie then turns to Travis’s teammate and says, “Of course, maybe Forbes likes to watch.” She says this in jest.
  • Sophie and her teammate Merlin joke about Sophie’s admiration for another player’s hockey abilities. Sophie makes a point to show she can like a player for hockey and not romantically. She says, “You can like someone’s hockey without wanting to see them naked.”
  • A fellow hockey player tells Dimitri that he only scores the pretty goals and needs to score “some dirty ones too.” Dimitri responds by saying, “I score dirty.”  The other hockey player responds with, “Keep it in your pants.”

Violence

  • Dimitri and Sophie are sharing a piece of cake. Jokingly, Sophie “kicks his shins then steals the best bite of cake.”
  • There are a lot of playful slaps and hits between the hockey players on the same team. For instance, one player “slaps Matty’s [another player’s] ass on the way by then laughs all the way down the tunnel.”
  • Sophie has a rival teammate named Hayes with whom she fights for the same position on the ice. They also fight over who gets number 93 on their jersey, then Sophie gets the first pick. Hayes is mad, and “she’s almost to the door when Hayes catches up to her. She looks over her shoulder in time for him to shove her up against the wall . . . She knocks his hands away and shoves him back.”
  • Hockey is a high-contact sport where fighting and checking into the boards are commonplace. Sophie, being the only woman in the league, often gets the brunt of the hits. For instance, “[An opponent] slams her into the glass a second later. He snarls at her, and the fans pound the glass, hoping for a fight.”
  • One of the other incoming players physically threatens Sophie after a game one night. Sophie narrates, “He grabs her by the lapels of her suit jacket and slams her back against her car.” Soon after, he leaves.
  • At a hockey event, Sophie sees someone holding up a “well-drawn, and graphic, image of Sophie on the ground, her limbs bent at awkward angles as a condor picks at her intestines.”

Drugs and Alcohol

  • At the hockey team’s Canadian Thanksgiving party, one of the younger players drinks a beer “even though [he’s] still a few years too young.”
  • At a backyard party, one of Sophie’s teammates says, “Alcohol and painkillers don’t mix.” Another player responds, “I learned that one the hard way.” They don’t explain this story further.
  • Some of the fans show up to games already drunk. Sophie describes how at one game, “Fans, already drunk, pound the glass and shout at her when she skates her two easy laps.”

Language

  • Profanity is included often throughout. Profanity includes: stupid, shit, ass, bullshit, fuck, dick, bitch, and slut.
  • One of Sophie’s opponents makes a nasty comment towards one of her teammates that seems to be racially charged. Sophie notes, “Walker sneers something, all Sophie hears is, ‘The Rez.’ [One of Sophie’s teammates] freezes, shock and disgust on his face.”

Supernatural

  • None.

 

Spiritual Content

  • Sophie celebrates Christmas with the General Manager of her NAHL team, but there are no references to church.

 

by Alli Kestler

 

Latest Reviews