Monday, December 22, 2014

MG Book Review: Sugar and Ice, by Kate Messner

General Information
Publisher: Walker & Company
Year of publication: 2010
# of chapters: 24
# of pages: 271
Genre: Contemporary

Plot summary (from the website):
For Claire Boucher, life is all about skating on the frozen cow pond and in the annual Maple Show right before the big pancake breakfast on her family’s maple farm. But all that changes when Claire is offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity — a scholarship to train with the elite skaters in Lake Placid. Tossed into a world of mean girls on ice, where competition is everything, Claire soon realizes that her sweet dream come true has sharper edges than she could have imagined. Can she stand up to the people who want her to fail and find the courage to decide which dream she wants to follow?

Positive Points
The themes of maple sugar and ice skating reminded me of Canada, where I grew up. In fact, I started reading this book on the way to a sugar shack near Quebec City. And I could relate with skating on a frozen pond; my school had an outdoor ice rink and we skated during lunch break. I never skated professionally, though, and there weren't any competitive mean girls making trouble.

The main character promotes good values: overcoming challenges, nearly giving up but continuing to pursue a goal worth reaching, keeping her dignity in the face of adversity, helping a family business, balancing sports and school.

I don't know much about figure skating, but the scenes were believable and so well written that I could picture them in my mind, as if I were watching the Olympics. It gave me a glimpse of what athletes go through when they are seriously training for competition.

Negative Points
I wasn't expecting a book about bullying, judging by the cover and the title. The mean girls were mentioned in the blurb, but they were very mean. Destroying-personal-property mean. Which is fine, there are lots of MG novels about bullying, but I wish the cover or the blurb had given me a hint of what to expect. I thought it would be a fluffy sweet tale about maple syrup and a wanna-be ice skating champion. It was a lot deeper than that.

What makes this book unique
There are many books about skating, and many books about bullying, but this book combines both, with a touch of maple sugar to make it sweeter. The Fibonacci numbers were also a good side theme, for those who like math.

Overall Impression
I would recommend this book to anyone who is into competitive sports. Or maple syrup. Or both.

My Rating:

Thinking of purchasing this book? I'll make it easy for you:


S.A. Larsenッ said...

Love the maple sugar from Canada. My grandparents always used to bring some down when they visited us. (I'm a Mainer.) Thank you for sharing your thoughts about this book.

Rosi said...

I have had this book on my shelf for a long time. I really need to get to it. Thanks for the review and the kick in the pants. Just what I needed.

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