By: Liz Fichera
Published By: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: January 29, 2012
Page Count: 368
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary
First, this is another novel I almost didn't read because of the cheesy cover. However, I learned my lesson last year when I almost didn't read Pushing the Limits for that reason and it turned out to be one of my favorites of 2012. I decided to ignore the cover and give Hooked a chance.
Hooked is written in an alternating narrative between the two main characters Fred and Ryan. Fred (short for Fredricka) is a Native American girl who is struggling with fitting in at a predominantly white school and dealing with some serious issues at home. Ryan, on the other hand, seems to have it all, but still can't manage to be happy. Neither of these characters has much in common except one thing - golf. I was a little nervous about the golf aspect. We don't have the best relationship after the sport ruined my 4.0 GPA in college. Who knew taking a golf class as my PE elective would result in a B? The sport and I broke up shortly after my less than perfect grade, but I decided to push my dislike for golf aside and allow myself to get lost in this story. Yes, the sport plays a major role, but there is so much more going on that it didn't bother me.
One of the things I really loved about this novel was Fred. She's a strong female heroine with a lot on her mind. I felt her experience was true to the Native American experience I witnessed when I lived in the Pacific Northwest. I am constantly looking for YA novels that portray strong minority characters. In fact, that was one of the main reasons I wanted to read this novel. The racial tension between the Native American characters and the white characters was well written and realistic. I also enjoyed the commentary about socioeconomic status that ran beneath the surface of this one. In spite of difficulties, Fred manages to hold her head high and stay focused on her goals. Her story is one that will resonant with many teens as it encourages them to rise above their socioeconomic status and follow their dreams.
On the other hand, Ryan was not a character I instantly liked. He's stubborn and thoughtless in the beginning. Over time he does change, but I was annoyed on more than one occasion by the way he allowed Seth and Gwyneth to control his actions and emotions. He was not able to stand up for himself at first. I understood where he was coming from, but I wanted him to wake up to see that his friends were manipulating him. Eventually, he does step up and grow a backbone. I ended up liking him a lot by the end of the novel, but be prepared for it to take some effort.
In addition, I really liked the emphasis placed on friendship. It was interesting to watch the parallel between Fred's friends and Ryan's friends. The stark contrast between these two groups was intriguing and spoke volumes. I was constantly amazed by my Native American students and how fiercely loyal they were to one another. The reservation characters - particularly Sam and Yolanda - were some of my favorites.
Lastly, the romance in this one is sweet and chaste. I was so wrapped up in this story that I finished most of it in one sitting. I felt a ton of emotions reading this one including anger and happiness. The sweet parts did have me swooning. Fred and Ryan reminded me of Romeo and Juliet on more than one occasion. I love the star crossed lovers story lines Fichera does a brilliant job of keeping the reader anxious - I was never positive if things were going to work out the way I wanted them to or not. I suppose you'll just have to read this one to see if Fred gets her happy ending.
P.S. - I was super excited to see that the next book will focus on Riley, Ryan's younger sister. I loved her! I just hope that Fred and Ryan will make an appearance even though the book isn't focused on them.
One Last Gripe: Ryan and Fred's stubbornness frustrated me at times. They both assumed too much about what the other was thinking and feeling.
My Favorite Thing About This Book: I loved seeing a strong Native American female as the leading lady.
First Sentence: I believed that my ancestors live among the stars.
Favorite Character: Fred
Least Favorite Character: Gwyneth
When Native American Fredricka ‘Fred’ Oday is invited to become the only girl on the school’s golf team, she can’t say no. This is an opportunity to shine, win a scholarship and go to university, something no one in her family has done.
But Fred’s presence on the team isn’t exactly welcome — especially not to rich golden boy Ryan Berenger, whose best friend was kicked off the team to make a spot for Fred.
But there’s no denying that things are happening between the girl with the killer swing and the boy with the killer smile...