Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Center Ice by Cate Cameron - Review

The hometown hockey hero won’t know what hit him…

Karen Webber is in small-town hell. After her mother’s death, she moved to Corrigan Falls to live with strangers—her dad and his perfect, shiny new family—and there doesn’t seem to be room for a city girl with a chip on her shoulder. The only person who makes her feel like a real human being is Tyler MacDonald.

But Karen isn’t interested in starting something with a player. And that’s all she keeps hearing about Tyler.

Corrigan Falls is a hockey town, and Tyler’s the star player. But the viselike pressure from his father and his agent are sending him dangerously close to the edge. All people see is hockey—except Karen. Now they’ve managed to find something in each other that they both desperately need. And for the first time, Tyler is playing for keeps…

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Center Ice is a heartbreaking and heartwarming young adult story of the difficulties in choosing what is best for yourself over choosing what you think is right. The main characters were hilarious and broken and awkward and I enjoyed it immensely.

Cameron created engaging and developed characters. I loved that each had their own flaws and that they ranged from teenage angst to real relationship dynamics and loss. Karen is such a sassy young woman and her ability to find humor while still mourning and having to deal with a new family is refreshing and hilarious. Tyler's awkwardness is also incredibly refreshing. The good-looking star athlete that is fumbling around when he feels authentic feelings toward someone is hilarious and heartwarming. 

I also loved the dynamics between kids and parents. The difficulties of being in a broken or breaking family are voiced well here, I think. Life is complicated and trouble that touches one person very rarely be contained to only them. I liked seeing the Karen and her step siblings coming together when everything seemed to fall apart; it wasn't perfect and the tensions with them were authentic. I liked that it wasn't a miraculous solution - the tension and awkwardness and guilt and blame are still there and I enjoyed seeing how everyone slowly sloughs through it all to find out how they can be happy. 

There were some aspects of the book that I thought were a little convenient that could use a little more development, like Tyler's borderline abusive father and the mess he created. I thought that his demands and pressure were overbearing, narrative wise, and that the reveal of his family's overall financial struggle wasn't much of a surprise. I thought the pressure on Tyler was a little unrealistic and redundant, though I totally understood it's purpose in the narrative. I just wished we saw more of his dad than just being an overbearing asshole.

I thought the real star was Karen's journey of deciding to be happy and dragging Tyler along with her. This is a story that, for me, isn't preaching the need to solve everything and the power of unity. For me, it really showcased the power of finding what makes you happy, of what you need to do to make you feel strong and loved and protect those you love. And for Karen, I loved that that meant not only letting someone in romantically, but letting someone in maternally as well.

Overall, this was a story about how to be happy and I think it did a wonderful job taking us on Karen's journey as well as the rest of the casts'. In the book she calls herself a catalyst, and even though she meant for everything going wrong, I see Karen as catalyst for forcing people to decide what really makes them happy and what they want out of life. 
Find out more about Cate and her works here: http://catecameronauthor.com
Check out Center Ice and other Entangled Crush titles: http://www.entangledpublishing.com

Happy Reading!


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