Off the Ice by Julie Cross
Series: Juniper Falls #1
Publication Date: February 28th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
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All is fair in love and hockey…
Claire O’Connor is back in Juniper Falls, but that doesn’t mean she wants to be. One semester off, that’s what she promised herself. Just long enough to take care of her father and keep the family business—a hockey bar beside the ice rink—afloat. After that, she’s getting the hell out.
Enter Tate Tanley. What happened between them the night before she left town resurfaces the second they lay eyes on each other. But the guy she remembers has been replaced by a total hottie. When Tate is unexpectedly called in to take over for the hockey team’s star goalie, suddenly he’s in the spotlight and on his way to becoming just another egotistical varsity hockey player. And Claire’s sworn off Juniper Falls hockey players for good.
It’s the absolute worst time to fall in love.
For Tate and Claire, hockey isn’t just a game. And they both might not survive a body check to the heart.
Tate and Claire grew up together in the small town of Juniper Falls. Claire is Tate’s older sisters best friend and she’s been away at college. When her father gets really sick, she returns to town a lot sooner than she thought to help out at the family business. She’s not expecting for so much to change. From her to her best friend’s younger brother, Tate. Sure he’s only a year younger than her but seeing him now, he’s grown up. He got muscles and he got taller and he got hot. Claire wasn’t expecting to start liking him but well…it happens.
Tate has always felt something for Claire. He’s always had a soft spot for her so when he breaks up with his girlfriend, he wants to move right on to Claire. It’s not easy but nothing in Tate’s life has ever been easy. He’s got an abusive father, a mother who married the town exterminator and he’s never felt more alone at home. He carries the truth about his father’s abuse to himself because …I don’t know why, it’s probably a teenage boy thing but I never really understood why he kept it to himself. He’s got a lot going on and I enjoyed seeing his character grow over the course of the book.
I haven’t read very many books by Julie Cross so I can’t really tell if this is more of the same that you’d get from her but this was an enjoyable book. The characters felt real and their problems were familiar and real so I appreciated that but as much as I enjoyed it, I wanted more from both Tate and Claire.
I wanted Claire to be above the rumors in the small town. I wanted her to not be so caught up in what everyone was saying and live her life the way that she wanted to live it. I thought it took her too long to come around. The longer she kept Tate at arms length because of what she thought everyone was saying, the more I wanted to pull her hair and slap some sense into her.
Tate was another story. I wanted him to be smarter. I wanted him to open up to someone other than Claire far sooner than he did but I’m glad that it ended the way that it did because there was major growth in his character in the end. I was happy with the way that he really came into his own by the end and he was the guy that I hoped he would be when I first met him.
I’m assuming the next book will either be Leo’s book or Jamie’s. I’m down for either one. All in all, this was a good book that I had some issues with but not enough that my enjoyment of the book was ruined.
3.75 out of 5