Friday, December 6, 2013

ARC Review: Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill


Title: Being Sloane Jacobs

Author: Lauren Morrill

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Release Date: January 7th, 2014

If there is anything flawless about Being Sloane Jacobs it is its marketing campaign. Morrill has been launched as a chick-lit, contemporary romance author, akin to Stephanie Perkins, and while that isn't an altogether apt comparison (in my opinion), it isn't incorrect either. What I appreciate about this novel is that I knew what I was getting into even before I cracked open the cover: pure, mindless entertainment. Being Sloane Jacobs is the type of novel where you are forced to overlook the little details that fail to fit together, compelled to push aside the gaping plot holes that don't add up, and just read. For readers who were disappointed that novels like Just One Year promised endings that didn't happen, Being Sloane Jacobs is a relief, giving exactly what it says it will. For others, however, who anticipate the hidden depth in every novel, this story may just prove a little too juvenile, a lot too short, and a slight bit disappointing by the end.

Sadly, one of the best aspects of this story is its synopsis. Sloane Emily Jacobs, the daughter of a senator running for re-election, is a figure skater - one who desperately needs to re-launch her career after failing to perform well the past year. Sloane Devon Jacobs is an ice-hockey player - one with a bit of an anger management issue - who hasn't been playing her best lately. When the two Sloane Jacobs meet on their way to their respective figure skating and ice hockey summer programs, they decide to switch places. With similar builds and a desire to escape the mounting pressure they feel, Sloane Devon Jacobs goes off to figure skating camp while Sloane Emily Jacobs rushes off to play ice-hockey. As it turns out, however, running away doesn't solve your problems...not even close.

While the plot for this novel is similar to The Parent Trap, an important difference is the fact that these two Sloanes are running away from their lives. Not only do they belong to different social classes - rich and middle class - but their family issues are also vastly different. Yet, they find a thread of connection in their loneliness, fear, and inability to face their difficulties head-on. Needless to say, Morrill nails this issue in her sophomore novel, capturing the sinking feeling of despair and helplessness that so many teens feel. Where Being Sloane Jacobs faltered, however, was in the missed opportunity and lost potential for this concept to develop further. Both Sloanes, after a few initial difficulties, acclimate into their new lives with ease, making friends and learning their new sports with ease - a little unbelievable, don't you think? Moreover, they both find incredibly sweet love interests who - unfortunately - become a large part of the narrative.

With a plethora of issues at hand, this 352 page novel just didn't cover it all. Sloane Emily and Sloane Devon's growth is rushed and limited to the last few chapters, the development sloppy and lacking the layers of depth it could have had. Additionally, the guys these two girls fall for have their own share of problems which could have been explored to a larger degree as well. Mostly, however, the issue lies in the fact that Being Sloane Jacobs is far too much surface-story and too little depth. With alternating perspectives - that worked really well, surprisingly - Morrill could have easily focused this story on the inner dilemmas both these girls faced. Instead, there's unnecessary romantic drama, a large focus on proving these girls can master another sport, and a hasty epilogue that does little to the story as a whole. I wanted a novel about two girls who gained the courage to face their problems - and formed a tight friendship along the way - but the relationship these two Sloanes share lacks a true bond and the strength I wanted to emerge from these girls happened far too quickly, far too late.

Ultimately, I couldn't overlook the plot holes or missed opportunities in this narrative to enjoy the story within these pages. It is entertaining, certainly, and compulsively readable, forcing me to flip page after page even when I was bedridden and sick, but it lacks more than a little something to make it memorable. Both Sloanes are forgettable heroines, their journey unremarkable and childish, reading more like a middle grade comedy than a young adult contemporary piece. Being Sloane Jacobs will find its place among shelves of beloved readers - certainly - but it won't be replacing Anna and the French Kiss anytime soon on mine.

16 comments:

  1. While I enjoyed this one a little more than you did Keertana, I shared some of your problems with it. I found it crazy that at two separate camps for highly trained, experienced athletes, two girls who'd never skated in the other's sport were able to blend in well enough that nobody was suspicious. Did you ever see the movie The Cutting Edge? It's about a hockey player who's forced to train to be a pairs figure skater, and I just remember him falling on his face every 2 minutes because of the toe pick on the figure skates. Sloan had no such troubles:)

    I completely agree about going into more depth as well, I felt like this could have been two separate stories, that way we could have delved deeper into the family issues of both. Still, it had some really cute moments:)

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  2. Oh I'm so sorry that you were't able to enjoy this book more Keertana, but the rushed ending and neatly wrapped up epilogue would bug the heck out of me too. I had really high hopes for this book (but actually the same thing happened to me with Meant to Be as well) so I'm hoping that I will end up enjoying this book slightly more. Thank you for your honest review Keertana!

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  3. Ouch, well there goes that. I had high expectations of this one simply because its marketing, which we can all admit was really impressive. But this is not the kind of the book I'd love as I fail to overlook all the flaws in the book. I need depth and a lot of emotions. Not to see the world with pink glasses on. Amazing review, Keertana :)

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  4. Looks like the issues aren't too serious since you still managed to enjoy it. Hm... I think I would have the same problems, but no book is perfect. I may have to give this one a go!

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  5. Here I was a little upset that I never heard back from Netgalley after requesting this. I guess I should be happy! Watch, I'll get approved now. Lol! It sounds like there's a little too much going on to focus properly on any one thing. I read this and thought of the movie The Cutting Edge (I have to laugh that Jenny had that in mind, too, from her above comment) and I loved that cheesy movie!

    I enjoyed Meant to Be so it's disappointing to hear you didn't love this one. I'll lower my expectations if I get approved. Wonderful review! :)

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    1. I haven't read Meant to Be, Rachel, so I'm pretty sure that fans of Morrill's debut will really enjoy this one too. Both seem like fairly similar novels from what I've read of MTB, so I hope you like this a lot more than I do!(:

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  6. Your first paragraph confirmed my suspicions about Morrill and her stories. There's nothing wrong with reading fluffier stories, but I don't think these ones are for me.
    I might enjoy this kind of storyline in a film (although I'm getting pickier about those as well), but not in a book. Also, if these two girls aren't related (and presumably don't look the same) then how are they able to masquerade as one another?
    Sorry this didn't work out so well for you, Keertana, but thank you for your honest review!

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  7. I read Meant To Be and enjoyed it a lot but I didn't even know she had a second book coming out. Guess I haven't kept up with the news. And I kind of forgot about the author. Think I'll pass on this one. I don't think I could handle the switching from ice skating to hockey and vice versa with ease.

    Great review!

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  8. Although this is so very far from my usual type of read and I very much disliked Meant to Be, I was oddly drawn to this book... up until now.
    I'm pretty sure I would like it even less than you did.
    Thanks for saving me the trouble of finding out for myself.

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  9. I don't really think anything can to Anna and the French Kiss, to be honest. But at least this one is exactly what it seems to be: a contemporary to snuggle up with while the weather is freezing cold outside (I don't get to say this much, living in Texas, haha).

    I'm disappointed that the best part of this book is its synopsis. I think that's when you know a book is bad. =P But the concept seems fun enough, very reminiscent of The Parent Trap, although I love how both characters share that feeling of despair. Because so many teens feel that, and I don't think it's ever really reflected in books.

    However, the lack of depth is something too large to ignore, for me. I was hoping that this would have at least a touch of depth, but I'm sad to see it's basically just surface level. It seems that there were just far too many missed opportunities here.

    Lovely review, Keertana! I think I'll be picking this one up inbetween some heavier reads, but I will be lowering my expectations.

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    1. Thanks, Aneeqah! I think you've read Meant to Be, if I remember correctly, so this one might work out a lot better for you than it did for me. I certainly hope so!(:

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  10. Oh--bummer that this one rated low for you, K! I am planning on reading it here soon so I only skimmed your review but that does disappoint me because I'm hoping that I will love this one :(

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  11. I didn't love this author's first book, so I'm hesitant to pick up this one. It sounds like a great chick-lit movie that I'd enjoy watching for 2 hours but may not want to spend several hours reading. I do love both The Parent Trap and The Cutting Edge, so a mashup sounds fun. Do both of these girls look the same, in addition to having the same name? That's pretty eerie! I think I'll be skipping this one for the time being. Glad you gave it a shot though!

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  12. I'm in the last quarter of this book and I'm feeling somewhat blah about it. I've actually set it aside for now. I wasn't sure what I could pinpoint that I wasn't liking, because I do like it, but it's just not really pulling me in. I think your review actually covers things well. We're not really getting a lot of depth so I'm not really FEELING any of it. The romances could be great but there's not enough time for them individually and yeah, I guess it's just not really working for me. I think if it continues this way my rating would be 2.5 stars as well. I'm kind of relieved to know I'm not the only one feeling this way. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it more though.

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  13. Aww, I am so sorry that you didn't like this one!

    I can definitely understand why (especially about it being a tad juvenile and short) even if I ended up enjoying it more than you did.

    I agree that the length shortchanged the story. I mean 350 pages is respectable, but if the end feels rushed, perhaps make it last longer? I definitely though the end was the weakest section.

    The love interests were the worst! So undefined and blah. They also needed some more time to be flshed out.

    Great review, Keertana!

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