Review: Being Sloane Jacobs

Rating: 5 stars
Pub Date: January 7, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press (Random House)
Genre: young adult contemporary, romance, aports
Format/Source: DRC, Netgalley
Status: standalone

Meet Sloane Emily Jacobs: a seriously stressed-out figure-skater from Washington, D.C., who choked during junior nationals and isn’t sure she’s ready for a comeback. What she does know is that she’d give anything to escape the mass of misery that is her life.

Now meet Sloane Devon Jacobs, a spunky ice hockey player from Philly who’s been suspended from her team for too many aggressive hip checks. Her punishment? Hockey camp, now, when she’s playing the worst she’s ever played. If she messes up? Her life will be over.

When the two Sloanes meet by chance in Montreal and decide to trade places for the summer, each girl thinks she’s the lucky one: no strangers to judge or laugh at Sloane Emily, no scouts expecting Sloane Devon to be a hero. But it didn’t occur to Sloane E. that while avoiding sequins and axels she might meet a hockey hottie—and Sloane D. never expected to run into a familiar (and very good-looking) face from home. It’s not long before the Sloanes discover that convincing people you’re someone else might be more difficult than being yourself.

I had the pleasure of meeting Lauren during the 2013 Dark Days tour. At the time, I hadn't heard of Meant to Be, but I immediately bought a copy. I realized as soon as I started reading that Lauren has a talent for fresh contemporary tales. I very much enjoyed Meant to Be, and I think Being Sloane Jacobs is even better. This fun story mixes the crazy identity swap hijinks of Parent Trap with the grit of athletic characters and a sassy style that's all Lauren.

One of the reasons I rate BSJ so highly is that it's not your regular contemporary romance. Don't get me wrong; there are some cute boys and several tummy-butterfly-inducing scenes, but it's not the highlight of the novel. Instead, this is a novel that focuses on tough girls figuring out what they want AND going after it. Sloane Emily and Sloane Devon shine as double protagonists, each with a distinct voice and an individual set of problems and motivations, but they also prove that even very different teenage girls can still find common ground. Both SE and SD have major parent drama going on and both are shipped away for the summer so that their parents don't have to deal with them. Although it's pretty implausible that two teenage girls would ever actually be able to switch lives as (seemingly) easily as the Sloanes do, it really isn't surprising that they try, considering how disjointed they feel from their normal lives. The Sloanes are searching for something, anything to break the weirdness going on around them, but also, they're searching for their real identities. Is Sloane Emily simply the ice princess? The political darling? Is Sloan Devon just the rough-and-tumble bad girl on ice? The tough girl? By switching places, not only do the readers get to witness the girls in silly situations, but the girls discover themselves by doing things vastly different from what they're used to. It's incredibly entertaining and also pretty inspiring.

I also like the guys, although they are minor characters. The boys are important for two reasons, and honestly, neither is romance (but again, the romance is so, so cute! See above-mentioned butterflies!). 1. Both Nando and Matt provide requisite body switch oopsie moments, which prompts the important discussions about trust and you're-not-who-I-thought-you-were (LITERALLY) moments, and 2. the guys provide additional examples of the many ways in which a person can change, even in a very short amount of time. Everybody has a past, and all four of these characters (SD, SE, Nando, and Matt) are trying in some way to move on from things in theirs. I really like the way Lauren writes them all almost as foils to one another, but again, she also focuses on the ways in which their similar. It speaks volumes to her character development that she carries this not only through her main characters, but also to the love interests and minor characters as well.

Basically, Being Sloane Jacobs is a novel that will have you laughing the whole time you're reading. It's so much fun, and even if you aren't a sports superfan like I am, you'll enjoy all the sporty shenanigans on and off the ice. At the same time, you'll find a deeper connection with the characters and be able to sympathize with the Real Life demons chasing after them. Lauren's writing is strong, both witty and emotional, and her characters are utterly likeable and lifelike. It's clear she has improved so much from her debut to her second, and that only makes me more excited to see what she does for book #3, which I will definitely be reading.

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About the Author:
Lauren Elizabeth Morrill is many things, including, but not limited to, a writer, an educator, a badass roller derby skater, a former band nerd, an aggressive driver, and a die-hard Mac person. She also watches a lot of TV, eats a lot of junk food, and drinks a lot of Coke. It's a wonder her brain and teeth haven't rotted out of her head.
Author Links:


  1. I really enjoyed BSJ. I thought there was only a certain number of outcomes that could happen, and I'm glad that it ended differently than I thought. I keep flip flopping about which L. Morrill book is my favorite, but they're both good.

    I totally think you're right about the minor characters. I wish I would've had more time with Matt (and Nando, now that I think about it). But I totally understand that the story wasn't about them and I'm okay with it.

    Aly @ My Heart Hearts Books

  2. I've been hearing really positive things about this one. I read her first novel and while I enjoyed it, it wasn't my favorite. I'm glad you really enjoyed it. I'm rather looking forward to reading it.

  3. Great review. I have read many good reviews. I think I will have to read this book when I see it. ;)

  4. Loved this review and I'm always looking for good standalones. Identity swap hijinks sounds fun. Thank you!