Any Way You Slice It – Kristine Carlson Asselin – Wicked Whale Publishing – Published 15 November 2017
Penelope Spaulding just can’t catch a break. Between long hours at the family pizza shop, piles of homework, and her dad’s new obsession—getting the restaurant on a new foodie reality show—it’s hard to find a spare moment to breathe. But when she laces up her skates and steps on the ice, the world is hers to control and everything else slips away.
When the bad boy who lives down the street dares her to join the Rink Rats, the local misfit hockey team, she surprises herself and joins in silent defiance of her controlling parents.
The more she plays, the easier it is to keep lying, and soon Pen finds it impossible to come clean. She’s sneaking out to practice—and loving every minute of it. It doesn’t take long for her to fall in love with hockey…but she’s not entirely sure if it’s the game she’s falling for or the boy. Because it can’t last. As soon as her dad finds out, she’ll be benched. For good.
And the one thing she IS sure of…she can’t stop playing.
Ice hockey. Cute romance. Pizza. What more could you want? Any Way You Slice It is the perfect light-hearted YA contemporary.
For Penelope, skating gives her a break from school and endlessly working at her family’s pizza restaurant. When Jake, resident bad boy and her old friend turned we-don’t-speak-anymore-because-of-that-6th-grade-incident enemy, asks Pen to join their recreational ice hockey team, Pen surprises herself by considering it. But she knows her father will never let her play hockey, especially now when he is solely focused on getting their restaurant on a (sure-to-be-humiliating) TV show. But Pen can’t resist the game or Jake’s company and soon she is wrapped up in a tangle of lies, which, if she doesn’t manage a spectacular interception soon, is set to be revealed on national TV.
Every now and again I love sinking into a low-drama, high-fun novel, and Any Way You Slice It suited perfectly. And actually there is quite a bit of drama, but it’s all light-hearted. Penelope spends the majority of the book lying to various family members and friends. She is stressed, I was stressed! That emotional tightrope of wanting something so badly combined with knowing if your family discovered your secret there would be no way they would let you continue, is captured so well in this book. Pen is a relatable character. She doesn’t want to lie and that prevents this novel from becoming too melodramatic. She loves her family, even if she questions her father’s overprotectiveness.
The romance is very sweet. Jake and Penelope were once friends and became sort-of enemies in middle-school. Both are older now and ready to look past mistakes and misunderstandings. They make a very cute couple, and there are not too many bumps in the road to their renewed friendship and romantic relationship, which I really enjoyed.
Of course, aside of pizza (which made me very hungry), light family drama, and cute romance, the main focus of this book is ice hockey. I’ve come to really enjoy sports books and Any Way You Slice It was no exception. In fact, I would have liked more scenes to be set at the team’s practice or games. I loved the way Pen slowly becomes a part of the team, and how her fellow team members change how they view her. The ending was predictably awesome, which I loved!!
If you are looking for a fun, sport-centred, pizza-heavy YA contemporary, then Any Way You Slice It is the book for you.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: Friendship, sport, ice hockey, pizza, reality TV shows, restaurants, parents, romance.
Reading age guide: Ages 12 and up.
Advisory: Occasional coarse language, pis* (9),
Published: 15 November 2017 by Wicked Whale Publishing.
Format: Paperback, ebook. 225 pages.