Review: Hooked by Liz Fichera

Summary/Cover Image form Publisher's Website:
Get hooked on a girl named Fred…

HE said: Fred Oday is a girl? Puh-leeze. Why is a girl taking my best friend's spot on the boys' varsity golf team?

SHE said: Can I seriously do this? Can I join the boys' team? Everyone will hate me—especially Ryan Berenger.

HE said: Coach expects me to partner with Fred on the green? That is crazy bad. Fred's got to go—especially now that I can't get her out of my head. So not happening.

SHE said: Ryan can be nice, when he's not being a jerk. Like the time he carried my golf bag. But the girl from the rez and the spoiled rich boy from the suburbs? So not happening.

But there's no denying that things are happening as the girl with the killer swing takes on the boy with the killer smile…

A YA novel about golf and a Native American main character? You don't see that too often in YA! Due to those two aspects alone I was excited to read Hooked. For the first part of the book, I really, truly liked it. I liked the characters, I liked reading about the golf (surprisingly!), and I loved the developing relationship between Ryan and Fred. The second half everything feel apart for me. Suddenly the plot was just too dramatic, everything was going wrong that could go wrong, and I didn't really see the purpose to it. Suddenly, I was having a hard time finishing, and in the end, I was left with this "meh" feeling.

Hooked is told through the alternating perspectives of Fred and Ryan. I thought Liz did a great job of capturing both of their voices, and making them distinctive. I found it admirable how much time and dedication Fred put into golfing - I always loved reading her practice and tournament scenes, I felt like I was playing golf right with her. In the start of the book, Fred is entering the definition of the boys only club through the boy's golfing team, and even though the boys are rude, she doesn't let it get her down too much. She does her best, and shows them that she's just as good as they are, if not better. I enjoyed how Liz also made her Native American roots such a pertinent part of the book. It was interesting to read about her culture and traditions, and I felt like by the end I had learned some things I hadn't known before. Ryan was the definition of the spoiled rich boy with a secret heart of gold. There were aspects I liked about it and aspects I didn't like about him. On the like side, I enjoyed how he took a chance on Fred, deciding that maybe having a girl on the team wasn't the worst thing in the world. I also enjoyed his scenes with his little sister - it was easy to see he was a good big brother. On the dislike side, I couldn't stand how he wouldn't stand up to his friends. They were so beyond rude to Fred, and even though progress had been made towards the end, I still was desiring to see more growth in Ryan's confidence.

As hinted to above, the plot of this is where things went wrong for me. At first, I liked that this book had to do with golf, Fred's culture, and Ryan and Fred's day-to-day problems. I also enjoyed the blossoming relationship between Fred and Ryan - it was always fun to see them interact. However, the second half was overshadowed by Ryan's racist friend Seth and Ryan's jealous hook-up buddy Gwyneth. Seth and Gwyneth were the cookie-cutter villains, everything thing they did lead to negative for Fred, and while at first, their actions made the storyline interesting, they both got so out of control at the end. Worst of all, there was no real consequences or repercussions for either Gwyneth or Seth. Throughout the book, I kept hoping Fred and/or Ryan would go to an adult about what was happening with Seth, all the horrible things he kept doing to Fred, but neither did anything. They just left it continue to escalate, and sometimes Ryan would even try to explain Seth's behavior away. At some points, I was wondering to myself "what crazy thing is going to happen next?" It didn't add to the story, and throughout I wished it would be resolved so the plot could be focused on other things. The romance between Fred and Ryan also left something to be desired. They went from flirtatious to full out-in-love over the course of the book, and I felt that the relationship could have truly benefited  from some more development. I didn't always feel the connection between them.

In all, Hooked had its highs and lows, and while it wasn't always my favorite, I still suggest giving it a chance.

Grade: C 

Hooked (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads) is now out! FYI: it's only $1.99 as an eBook on Amazon right now!

Source: Publisher - Thanks Harlequin!

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