Thursday, February 21, 2013

(Review) Hooked by Liz Fichera

Title: Hooked
Author: Liz Fichera
Series: Hooked #1
Published: January 29, 2013 (Harlequin Teen)
Rating: Lunch Break Read
Format: Digital galley provided by publisher via NetGalley
Summary: 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...

When I saw the premise of Hooked, I was extremely excited for it. Native American heroine? She plays golf? On an all-guys team? And there's totally hate-to-love potential? I am SO there! Unfortunately, while it was a pretty good read, Hooked failed to deliver on a lot of levels I felt like I was promised.

The romance was tepid; Fred and Ryan's relationship developed in weird spurts that made no sense. The hate-to-love aspect was negated because Ryan stopped "hating" her almost immediately, and they had little chemistry. But my main problem? SO MUCH DRAMA. Seriously. I was unrepentantly hooked on Guiding Light (a soap opera, for those of you sad, sad people who are unaware) for a lengthy period of time, and I love Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars. But when it comes to books, I don't like drama for the sake of drama. I mean, if I see from the cover blurb that the contents of a book are going to be a big bag of WTFery, I go in with my eyes open. I'm expecting it. But if it's a "normal" book but with random huge bouts of pointless drama thrown in to mix things up? Drives me crazy. This book had drama in spades, mainly stemming from Seth, a character who achieved the remarkably unique distinction of being simultaneously horrendously dull and an awful human being. And who also happened to be Ryan's best friend. I also had some serious issues with the conclusion (which I purposefully use instead of "resolution") of the book.

One odd thing about Hooked was the way it was written. Several times in the first bit of the book, there were annotations with footnotes of comments or definitions at the bottom of the page. One was written from Fred's POV, almost like it was a diary and she added a reader's guide. It was a little odd, but I kind of liked it. I could have gotten behind it as an approach, but the others all read like a dictionary definition (and were pointless, to boot. Really, like we couldn't figure out that "Rez" was short for Reservation. It seemed like the author couldn't get the information in there without committing the reader's nightmare of infodumping in the middle of the she came up with a more ~innovative~ way to do so). Other than that, though, I had no problems with the writing style. She used the alternating first-person POV approach, which I enjoyed and thought worked well for the story, and her writing was good and solid.

I know I have been overwhelmingly negative so far, because there were a lot of things about the book that bothered me. However! There were things that I really did like about Hooked. It addressed some real issues throughout, and that is something I appreciated about it. Fred dealt with racial discrimination in various forms (such as Seth calling her "Pocahontas" all the time). Ryan had issues with his parents, and Fred was living with an alcoholic mother. Fred also dealt a lot with the issue of her future and whether or not to stay on the Rez. To stay would mean she would be with her family and heritage, but to go would actually mean the possibility of a real career and more options available to her.

I also really liked the siblings of both the characters. Fred had an older brother about whom I was curious (and wish I would have learned more), and Ryan had a little sister. I loved her! I am also super excited to find out she is getting her own book. I will definitely be reading it.

One of my favorite aspects was that quite a large portion of the book took place on the Rez. And it was in Arizona very near a Navajo Rez where I stayed for a week-long trip a few years ago. It made me incredibly happy, because that's one of my favorite places ever. I live in the middle of nowhere in the Midwest, so I can always easily see stars clearly. But the stars there were like nothing I had ever seen. Absolutely incredible. I loved the air there, the clean lack of humidity, the peaceful silence, the beauty of the sand and mountains. And I loved that this book transported me back there. Even though a lot about the situation and Rez itself was not pleasant, I could vividly picture the scene in my head, which I appreciated.

Overall, I liked Hooked, but it was a very mixed success, as there were also a lot of things that bothered me. However, if you go into it expecting a dramatic story less centered on romance and more focused on two individuals telling their stories, I feel like it would be a lot more enjoyable.
It was the only thing that I could truly control, and for that reason I clung to it while everything else spun around me dull and lifeless, just like it was the day before I’d kissed Ryan Berenger and thought that I was special.

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