Review: On Thin Ice by Julie Cross

On Thin Ice 
Julie Cross
Publication date: February 26, 2019
Series: Juniper Falls #3
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Source: Entangled Teen and NetGalley

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S Y N O P S I S

Brooke Parker never expected to find herself in the tiny town of Juniper Falls, Minnesota. Of course, she also never expected to lose her dad. Or for her mom to lose herself. Brooke feels like she’s losing it…until she finds Juniper Falls hockey. Juniper Falls girls’ hockey, that is.

Jake Hammond, current prince of Juniper Falls, captain of the hockey team, and player with the best chance of scoring it big, is on top of the world. Until one hazing ritual gone wrong lands him injured, sitting on the sidelines, and―shocking even to him―finding himself enjoying his “punishment” as assistant coach for the girls’ team.

As Jake and Brooke grow closer, he finds the quiet new girl is hiding a persona full of life, ideas, and experiences bigger and broader than anything he’s ever known. But to Jake, hockey’s never just been a game. It’s his whole life. And leveraging the game for a shot at their future might be more than he can give.
M Y   T H O U G H T S

Brooke’s life has fallen apart and she’s been uprooted from Texas to her grandmother’s home in Juniper Falls. Her mother is a shell of the person she used to be and Brooke feels totally on her own in this hockey-obsessed town. When she witnesses a hazing ritual that goes too far, she has local hockey star Jake Hammond seeking her out asking for her silence. Joining the new girl’s hockey team means she’s seeing a lot more of Jake and her determination to keep her head down and just get by doesn’t seem to be working.

Jake’s life has always centered around hockey and now, as a senior and captain of the team, his future seems set and everything he’s worked for is just within reach. All of that is in jeopardy when a freshman teammate is hospitalized, and all fingers are pointing to Jake. With mounting pressure from his father and his coach, Jake starts to question the "win at all cost" mentality of those around him and must choose between doing what’s right or doing what’s expected of him.

I thoroughly enjoyed Cross’s previous two entries in the Juniper Falls series. Her characters are usually well-developed and dealing with real life issues that are relatable. Plus, there’s plenty of swoony romance. In On Thin Ice there is a heavy focus on school athletics and the toxic environment that can develop when those in charge lose sight of the individual players and winning is the only goal. This often meant Jake was the linchpin at the expense of the development of Brooke’s character. Her background remained largely a blank slate and issues with her mother were glossed over.  Even so, I was invested in Jake’s situation found myself wanting to give him gentle nudges to do the right thing. And while it seemed most of the adults and authority figures in his life had questionable ethics, I loved that his uncle Oz, also the town sheriff, was a steady force and was unwavering in his determination to make things right.

While this is the third in a series of companion novels, readers won’t have a problem if this is their first visit to Juniper Falls. There’s enough exposition to fill in the blanks. Those who have enjoyed the previous books will appreciate revisiting characters they already know – Haley, Fletcher, Claire and Tate are all there (and here’s a big cheer for Mike Steller’s role!) – and catch up with the latest in this small town. My hope is that Cross continues this series because I’m still wanting more of this cast of characters I’ve come to know and love.

4/5 STARS

Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. This does not impact my opinion of the book or the content of this review. I received no compensation and my review is voluntary.

21 comments

  1. This sounds really interesting!! I'm glad you enjoyed it! They sound like really great characters/characters you become invested in.

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    1. I don’t read a lot of YA anymore but I always make an exception for this series by Julie Cross! :)

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    1. I’ve come to love Juniper Falls and all (well, most of) the people there. :)

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  3. I've enjoyed Julie Cross before but I haven't picked up this series. I like well-developed characters facing and overcoming challenges and finding love along the way. I'll have to check this out! :)

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    1. I hope you do, Rachel! I enjoy this series so much!

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  4. I loved this book. I feel like the series gets better and better with each book. I liked the different ways Cross incorporated the idea of traditions - good and bad, and she really showcased the power of the community too. The romance was precious, and I hope the next book is Cole and Rosie's

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    1. I hope we get a Cole + Rosie book, too! Small towns are kind of foreign to me so I'm always kind of in awe of the closeness of the community here. They way these people all know each other, have grown up together, the parents know all the kids, etc. It's such a different way of life (to me) and adds an element to the stories that I love. :)

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    2. We moved from Brooklyn to Highland Park (1 square mile town) when I was 13. It was a culture shock for sure, but there were nice things about it too.

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  5. I like the sound of this one. I love hockey romances. :)

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    1. And the great thing about this series is that there's actual hockey included! LOL

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    2. And it's mostly girls playing hockey - love them starting new traditions in the town

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  6. I have been wanting to read this series for so long, I love hockey though :D and I do enjoy it in books.

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    1. I am such a fan of this series. And it's fun that there's actual hockey involved instead of just a mention that a character is a hockey player.

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  7. I'm a big fan of contemporary romances where you don't need to invest in an entire series to enjoy reading. These remind me a little of adult versions of Katie McGarry novels, which I've really enjoyed in the past. I typically find books featuring sports a little confusing, we Australian's don't tend to follow much American sport but hockey is one I can get on board with. Great review Tanya and so glad I've discovered your blog!

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    1. These are definitely YA books and not adult. The main characters are high school seniors and younger. If you like Katie McGarry you would probably enjoy this series a lot! :)

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  8. I would like to start with the first in the series! This sounds good and looks like the series is good tho. I will have to grab these.

    Mary

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    1. I definitely recommend reading the whole series. Each book is so good. :)

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  9. How weird, I saw this book pop on my Amazon recommended list and knew I had the other books in the series on my radar but hadn't even heard anything about this one. Now I really want to read because this sounds so good. I love when it involves the girls getting to play sports for once. Although, I am sad to see that some of Brooke's characters development and story is brushed aside for Jake's.

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    1. Jake did seem to take center stage at times but Brooke’s story was still a good one. I totally recommend this one... and the whole series!

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