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On Thin Ice

Review

On Thin Ice

Julie Cross is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of numerous young adult and new adult novels. She writes contemporary romance and science fiction and is a former gymnast and coach. Julie Cross’s book, OFF THE ICE, is the first of three contemporary romance novels about hockey players in Juniper Falls and was released in February of 2017. The first companion, BREAKING THE ICE, follows new characters that interact with the previous characters. The latest companion, ON THIN ICE, is a February 2019 release.

Brooke Parker is the new girl in Juniper Falls, Minnesota. While facing challenges with both of her parents, she moved into her grandmother’s farmhouse with her mom. Jake Hammond is the all-star hockey player of Juniper Falls. When a hockey hazing ritual that he wants no part in goes terribly wrong, Brooke is there to help by chance. She then decides to join the brand new Juniper Falls girls’ hockey team, which Jake has been tasked with coaching as punishment. While he is wrestling with the importance of hockey and his team in the future, he and Brooke become closer.

"ON THIN ICE is a delightful read just as the other books in the series. I have never disliked a book by Julie Cross, and I very much enjoyed reading this one."

Having followed this series for the past few years, I am glad to still be along for the ride. I enjoy the small town atmosphere of this series and the focus on the hockey team as a whole. Hockey is a rare sport to find at the forefront of a YA novel. Brooke and Jake were, of course, a great match, and they helped each other throughout the book figure out who they are and what they want to be. With the previous books in this series and the fact that the book is set in such a small town, I believe it was great to include Brooke because she is not entrenched in the drama of Juniper Falls. Jake was a side character in the previous books, but this book showed that he is just as complicated, flawed, and compelling as the rest of the characters.

My favorite part of ON THIN ICE was Jake and Brooke realizing how much support they have in their family and friends. Jake’s parents are a constant force that supports him and eventually understands his need to stand up for himself. The sheriff of Juniper Falls, Jake’s uncle, was probably one of my favorite characters. Not only did he always support Jake, but he also humorously coached Brooke’s hockey team with no prior coaching experience. I do not think this is my absolute favorite book in this series, but I have enjoyed each one. ON THIN ICE features heavy content matter but it is by no means a sad or hard to read, and I found it to be quite the opposite. I could have easily finished this book in one day because it is so entertaining and fast-paced. The previous main characters in this series all converge for a common purpose, and I really appreciated the stance it took in such a hockey-centered town.

I highly recommend the Juniper Falls series and ON THIN ICE to fans of contemporary novels and sports. If you are interested in reading Julie Cross’s books, this is an excellent series to start with. I always recommend starting with the first book, OFF THE ICE, because you get the best overall experience with the series, but it is not necessary. ON THIN ICE is full of cameos and past character appearances that readers will only appreciate if they have read the previous books. Each book can still offer a great reading experience by itself, and all three are similar in tone.

Overall, ON THIN ICE is a delightful read just as the other books in the series. I have never disliked a book by Julie Cross, and I very much enjoyed reading this one. The interconnectedness of this series reminds me of Miranda Kenneally’s Hundred Oaks series, so if you enjoyed books like CATCHING JORDAN, you might want to try books by Julie Cross.

Reviewed by Grace P., Teen Board Member on February 28, 2019

On Thin Ice
by Julie Cross