Monday, 28 January 2013
Review: Hooked by Liz Fichera
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Released: January 29th, 2013
Get hooked on a girl named Fred…
HE said: Fred Oday is a girl? Puh-leeze. Why is a girl taking my best friend's spot on the boys' varsity golf team?
SHE said: Can I seriously do this? Can I join the boys' team? Everyone will hate me—especially Ryan Berenger.
HE said: Coach expects me to partner with Fred on the green? That is crazy bad. Fred's got to go—especially now that I can't get her out of my head. So not happening.
SHE said: Ryan can be nice, when he's not being a jerk. Like the time he carried my golf bag. But the girl from the rez and the spoiled rich boy from the suburbs? So not happening.
But there's no denying that things are happening as the girl with the killer swing takes on the boy with the killer smile…
Hooked is another brilliant YA debut from Harlequin Teen. I read it last year (thanks NetGalley) and immediately fell in love with Fred and Ryan. Liz Fichera's writing is so detailed and rich that I finished the book feeling like I really knew these people, as if they were my own friends. I haven't come across many YA contemporaries recently that make me feel like that, and certainly not many that are as addictive as Hooked!
Hooked has a pretty basic premise: Fred Oday lives on an Indian reservation with her family and is really, really good at golf. She joins the boy's team at her high school, where she meets fellow player Ryan Berenger. Sparks fly, secrets are revealed and drama ensues. Simple, but oh so good! The writing is great too, Fichera doesn't come across as a debut author and, had I not known that, I wouldn't have pegged her for one.
Fred and Ryan have something that I think a lot of YA contemporaries miss the mark on, and that's genuine chemistry, whether it be as friends or as more. I believed in everything they said or felt for each other, no matter how trivial. I like when I can really get into the head of a character, and here I was lucky enough to have with that with both Fred and Ryan. The dual narrative helped with that of course, and that gave the book good points straight away - dual narrative is one of my favourite ways to tell a story.
I also like a YA book that revolves around sports. Like Miranda Kenneally's Catching Jordan and Catherine Gilbert Murdock's Dairy Queen, Hooked has a strong focus on sport, and this time it's golf. Now, I know absolutely nothing about golf in the broader sense, aside from a few words of terminology and the general gist of the game. I now know a lot more thanks to reading this book, and it now doesn't seem quite as boring as I once thought it was. I've never read any book centered around golf, so that was a nice change of direction. Fichera uses the sport to her advantage, capitalising on the opportunity for close proximities, endless training and bucket loads of competitiveness. It all works so well and is one of the book's strong points.
I also enjoyed reading and learning more about Indian reservations and Native Americans in general. Again, it's not a subject I know a lot about, but I've always found their culture fascinating. I hope more books will be written with this angle as it's great to learn about other ways of life.
Although I liked most of Hooked, there are a couple of points that I'd like to mention. I would have liked more romantic scenes (there are only a couple), though I realise that's not the be all and end all of Fred and Ryan's story. Also, I found a few parts to be a bit unbelievable, especially where Ryan's best friend Seth is concerned. His actions seemed too over the top and not something a teenage boy would do. I'm sure it happens, it just didn't seem to fit here.
Anyway, if you're looking for an engrossing YA read with lots of character growth and a believable premise, look no further. I'd highly recommend Hooked to any young adult fans out there, and the good news is that it's being published in the UK too. Hurrah!