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Book Review: Hooked by Liz Fichera

Hooked

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

ARC provided by Harlequin Teen and The Reading Room

Format – Paperback

The Blurb
“When Native American Fredericka ‘Fred’ Oday is invited to become the only girl on the school’s golf team, she can’t say no. This is an opportunity to shine, win a scholarship and go to university, something no one in her family has done.

But Fred’s presence on the team isn’t exactly welcome — especially not to rich golden boy Ryan Berenger, whose best friend was kicked off the team to make a spot for Fred.

But there’s no denying that things are happening between the girl with the killer swing and the boy with the killer smile…

GET HOOKED ON A GIRL NAMED FRED.”

Overview
Fred is an ordinary, every day kind of girl but there’s just one thing wrong (according to her “white” peers) – she’s a Native American.

So, when the coach at her high school approaches her to join the all boys’ Golf team, because of her fantastic golfing abilities, she is somewhat sceptical about where exactly she will fit in – after all, these are all rich, white boys! And, to make matters worse, one of the team members is kicked off to make place for her.

With her decades old plaid golf bag, second-hand clubs and tennis shoes, she still manages to hold her head up high and be the best player she can, as well as catch the eye of the most popular boy at school.

Ryan Berenger is not your typical rich boy – on the outside perhaps – but on the inside, he’s quite a nice guy who’s actually in a bit of emotional turmoil with the state of affairs at home – a father who never has the time to watch him play any golf tournaments and a mother who’s frequently away due to work commitments.

So, rich boy aside, it’s no wonder that Fred has managed to capture his attention – only problem is, he has an equally rich girlfriend who’s in the way and an almost demented best friend who shows extreme hatred for Native Americans and tries to intimidate Fred every chance he gets. Whilst Ryan wrestles with his growing feelings for his golf partner he can’t help but feel allegiance to a boy who’s been his best friend forever.

With not a lot of communication happening between Fred and Ryan and therefore their feelings for one another not being voiced, it comes as no surprise that a multitude of misunderstandings will be created.

My Thoughts
It’s been a while since I read a Young Adult novel and I’m so glad that this one found its way to my doorstep.

I love a story which touches on social issues that plague our society today, and this one sure has it fair share – from racial prejudice and gender equality (or inequality) to bullying and alcohol abuse.
With chapters told alternately from the point of view of both Fred and Ryan, we are privy to the inner turmoil felt by these characters and I could quite easily relate to both.

As I’m sure you’ll recall from previous reviews I have written where alcohol abuse has been touched on, it also played a role in my teenage years so I could therefore sympathise with the fact that Fred did not want anyone knowing where she lived as I, like her, was embarrassed to have friends around. Thankfully though, it was not my mother afflicted by the disease and I never had occasion to be embarrassed about the state of our living quarters with her always keeping a beautiful home.

I could also empathise with Ryan’s inability to embrace individuality –it’s hard being a teenager and, from this book we learn that peer pressure is all too real. Even though we have our own opinions about things, individuality is often times not yet mastered, and it can become extremely difficult to get beyond that pressure and strike out by saying “this is what I want”, for fear of being rejected.

Although Golf has never been one of my favourite sports I found that whilst I now know what a “tee box” and “under par” means, Liz Fichera has skilfully found a balance between the sport and the underlying issues at hand.

I’ve given this book a 5 star rating and I wish to thank both the publisher, Harlequin Teen, an imprint of Harlequin Books, as well as The Reading Room for providing a hard copy and affording me the opportunity to write a review.

A Little About the Author (adapted from the Author’s website)
Liz Fichera is an American author living in the American Southwest by way of Chicago.

Born and raised in Park Ridge, Illinois, she moved to Phoenix, Arizona, after college, never expecting to live more than one year among cactus and people who’d never seen snow. She was wrong and it certainly didn’t hurt that she met her future husband in Phoenix too.

Most of Liz’s stories are set in the American Southwest because she thinks the desert is a cool place. Living in Phoenix, she’s surrounded by Native American culture and influences, not to mention intriguing Hohokam petroglyphs and centuries-old canals. With 20 tribes in Arizona, she’s lucky to be neighbours to the Gila River and Salt River Indian Communities.

When Liz is not busy writing her next novel, Played, which is the sequel to Hooked, and due for release in 2014, she likes to travel, visit museums and support local theatre productions, hike and pretend that she’s training for a triathlon.

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