Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill (website | twitter)
Other Books Written by This Author: Meant to Be
Publication Date: January 7, 2014
Target Audience: Young Adult
Keywords: swapping lives, figure skating, hockey, Canada, summer camp
Format Read: ARC received from the publisher via NetGalley. (Thank you!)
Summary: Two Sloane Jacobs’ coincidentally meet in a hotel lobby where they’re each about to attend four week summer camps. After realizing they’d both like to temporarily forget about their own troubles, they decide to swap lives and attend the other girls’ summer camp.
Well, hello 2014! I’m so excited to be kicking off this new year with a new release that I thoroughly enjoyed, Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill. Here’s a little backstory:
Sloane Emily is a senator’s daughter. She’s got family issues that she wants to run away from and insane amounts of pressure she’d love to escape. She’s being sent to figure skating camp, against her will, for four weeks where she’s expected to perform well and make a splash back into the competitive figure skating community.
Contradictory to Sloane Emily’s seemingly “perfect” life (from an outsider’s perspective) is Sloane Devon’s. Her family is barely making ends meet, she’s losing her edge in hockey — along with all of her confidence — and the only chance she has to be a starter her senior year is to redeem herself at hockey camp.
These two girls couldn’t live more opposing lives, but a chance encounter at a hotel leads them to swap places and spend four weeks pretending to be the other Sloane Jacobs. I’m sure you’ve all seen movies like The Parent Trap or 17 Again in which two people swap lives and learn Really Important Things about themselves. Being Sloane Jacobs has that same feel-good aspect, but with great doses of humor that made me laugh out loud as the girls struggled to embrace the other’s sport. I’m not a reader that loves all loose ends tied up perfectly either if things don’t feel realistic and Morrill did a lovely job incorporating strengths and weaknesses into the story that made everything feel a bit more believable.
While the story takes place at the beginning of summer, the ice rink setting made me feel like winter was the absolute appropriate time for me to be meeting these girls. Their stories are told from alternating points of view, giving a clear picture of what each girl’s struggles are and how she’s managing to keep up the facade of being someone else. Perhaps the only time I wasn’t entirely comfortable reading from both POVs was during the epilogue when the girls were face-to-face having a conversation. (I also didn’t fully see the need for the epilogue as I would have felt pretty satisfied without it.)
I texted Estelle when I finished reading and mentioned Being Sloane Jacobs gave me the same kind of happy feel as Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler. There’s tons of self-discovery, a sweet love story (or could there be two?), depth, and a generous dose of laughter. If you’re itching to use a gift card you were given for Christmas, definitely consider using it toward the purchase of Lauren Morrill’s newest release, expected in bookstores on January 7th.