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Magan: Hooked by Liz Fichera

book cover for Hooked by Liz FicheraHooked by Liz Fichera ( web | tweet )
Publication Date
: January 31, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 368
Target audience: Young Adult
Keywords: Gender and Racial Discrimination, Golf, Bullying
Format read: ARC received via NetGalley

Summary: When Fredricka (Fred) is recruited to play golf for the men’s varsity team at her high school, team member Seth is kicked off. Seth manipulates and bullies Fred throughout the season, often leaving his best friend and ex-teammate Ryan in quite a predicament… especially when he might just be falling for Fred.

Hooked seemed like the perfect book for me, a girl who has lovingly devoured Miranda Kenneally’s books [see: Catching Jordan and Stealing Parker] which interweave a nice balance of sports and sweet romance. Though I don’t know a thing about golf, I was ready to be swept away by Fichera.

Fred is Native American and very isolated from the rest of her classmates. She has only a few friends because not many are willing to get to know the handful of kids attending the public school from her reservation. When she’s approached by the golf coach, who eyed her all summer while she perfected her swing at the golf club during her dad’s shift as groundskeeper, she’s not unsuspecting of the drama that is sure to follow when Seth is kicked off the team. Fred is a loner, mostly keeping to herself because she has a lot of family secrets she’d rather everyone not know. (Her mom is a drunk, they don’t have much money, live in a shabby trailer house, and drive a van that’s sure to cruise its last mile soon.)

Teammate Ryan has his fair share of drama, too, aside from Seth’s less than acceptable mistreatment of Fred. His doctor mother and lawyer father are rarely home; he suspects his father may be having an affair. Seth and Gwenyth (the clingy girl who can’t really take a hint that she’s being used and isn’t ever going to be promoted to Girlfriend) help soothe Ryan’s pain by partying and drinking with him. While it seems Ryan really is a good guy at heart, he’s left to pick up the pieces when Seth decides to attack Fred, portraying him as a very weak and gullible character . (Did I mention Seth’s father was killed in an accident by a Native American? His anger is immeasurable and he will do anything to make Fred suffer.) For the record, it was much more difficult to see Fred bullied by a boy than it typically is to read about girl v. girl drama.

You might have deduced that there’s no lack of drama with all the bullying and family tension. For a girl who is down with the (book) drama, I would have been more engaged if Fred or Ryan ever took a stand. Both were passive characters that let life take over. Fred was incredibly timid and never once rallied for support with her teammates or confided in her coach (who I wholeheartedly feel would have kicked major booty if he knew what was happening). Resolutions were delayed time and time again and I distanced myself from emotionally connecting with the characters as a result of their pathetic choices.  Ultimately, I would have appreciated a bit more character growth.

With a book full of strong contrasts (white boy versus Native American girl / girl on a boy’s team / rich versus poor / popular versus being a nobody), a lot could have been said about how to overcome these differences. Fred didn’t learn to fight for herself. Ryan didn’t have to change much (and in the end, even Seth’s actions were glossed over). Don’t get me wrong, many elements of Hooked were strong. Reading about a Native American girl and her reservation was fascinating, and Fichera did a great job of exploring discrimination on multiple levels. Unfortunately, I wished for Fred and Ryan to have more backbone than they did, something that quite possibly could have been strengthened if they didn’t have quite so many obstacles to overcome.

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May 26, 2014 - 9:00 am

Played by Liz Fichera (YA Book Review) - […] companion novels! I didn’t read HOOKED (Magan read + reviewed it last year) so it was nice to start fresh in a new story with a few references to Fred and […]

February 3, 2013 - 6:59 pm

Estelle's Shelve It: 2/3/2013 - […] A review of Star Crossed by Jennifer Echols A review of Scarlet by Marisa Meyer A review of Hooked by Liz Fichera A review of Austensibly Ordinary by Alyssa […]

January 31, 2013 - 3:33 am

Kristen Evey - I literally laughed out loud when I read the keywords for this book. For some reason golf sandwiched between racial/gender discrimination and bullying struck me as hilarious.

Aside from that, I don’t think I’ll be reading this one. I can’t stand it when characters don’t stand up for themselves. I can handle a little of that, but if they don’t learn by the end to grow a backbone and do something, I just get really, really irritated. I wish the author had done more with this story too. So much potential for awesome! Great review Magan!

January 30, 2013 - 4:51 pm

Mary @ My Sisters Bookshelf - Oh when I saw “golf” of all things in the key words I was excited! Something a little different, you know? But now it sounds like I would end up throwing this book across the room. And that would damage either the book or my kindle, so it’s probably best I just stay away!

January 29, 2013 - 7:56 pm

VeganYANerds - Oh no :/ I do not do well with drama-filled books that continually let the MCs get taken advantage of over and over again. I have this for review but I’m a bit worried that I won’t feel much for it, either. Great review!

January 29, 2013 - 6:18 pm

Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life - Honestly, I’ve seen so many negative reviews of this one already, that I don’t think I’ll be picking this one up. Characters are oh-so critical for me, and it seems like both main characters don’t have any backbone at all. I want to feel the characters and their emotion, especially because this book is centered on the romance. I have the feeling that the romance falls pretty flat, since the characters are flat as well. Even with the uniqueness of being a Native American, I think I’ll have to pass on this one.

Fabulous review Magan! <3

January 29, 2013 - 3:19 pm

Magan - Bookworm — I definitely agree with your point about the hesitation to get the coach involved. Totally. I just wish that at some point, one of them would have taken a stand before it went as far as it did. It was so, so much to deal with. I did enjoy the book, but I didn’t LOVE it like I had hoped.

January 29, 2013 - 3:14 pm

Magan - Alexa — it’s definitely super interesting. Lots going on and I think there are definitely some good takeaways from it! I hope you enjoy!

January 29, 2013 - 10:21 am

Alexa Y. - I’m highly intrigued by this book, especially since it has such a large study of contrasts. The differences between the main characters are definitely something to think about – I’m curious to see how it plays out in this story.

January 29, 2013 - 9:20 am

Bookworm1858 - I really enjoyed this book but I didn’t even think about how passive the characters are. I do understand why Fred didn’t want to involve her coach though-lots of times kids are reluctant to bring in the adults under the assumption that that just makes the bullies sneakier and more aggressive.

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