On my first date with my husband, he asked if I liked hockey. My response was something along the lines of, "Not really. I like football better."
"I play on four hockey teams."
That's when I started shoving more food in my mouth to make the sound stop coming out.
Twenty years later, the four teams is down one, but he still plays, and I've revised my original answer.
So, since I've been converted to a hockey-lover. I really enjoyed Breaking the Ice, the second installment of Julie Cross's Juniper Falls Series. The appearances of the characters from Off The Ice were like waving hello to an old friend. I like how easily the author wove in the pertinent information from the first book without dumping it on the reader's head.
Even though several of the characters cross over from the first book, this could easily be read as a standalone without the reader feeling like they are missing out on a private joke.
The best part about Breaking the Ice is the authentic characters. They are portrayed so realistically, flaws and all, that you would swear they were the kids living down the street. I was also impressed with how the author addressed the daily life of a teen with food allergies without drawing on fear or pity and, (keeping this statement vague to avoid spoilers) I also appreciated how delicately another challenge was handled with respect that avoided the general stereotypes.
Cross's conversational writing style keeps the story moving and the reader immersed. There is angst, love, and several laugh out loud moments. Overall, a very enjoyable read. I would recommend it for older teens and adults who enjoy YA.
There are several teen characters who cuss freely and drink alcohol with no real consequences. There are also a few very frankly depicted sex scenes. So I wouldn't be comfortable recommending it to young teens.
Side note (if Julie Cross happens to see this): I'm hoping for Jamie's story next! *hint, hint*