Cold Day in the Sun – Sara Biren – Amulet Books – Published 12 March 2019
Holland Delviss wants to be known for her talent as a hockey player, not a hockey player who happens to be a girl. But when her school team is selected to be featured and televised as part of HockeyFest, her status as the only girl on the boys’ team makes her the lead story. Not everyone is thrilled with Holland’s new fame, but there’s one person who fiercely supports her, and it’s the last person she expects (and definitely the last person she should be falling for): her bossy team captain, Wes.
Cold Day in the Sun is a fun YA, sport-centred novel with a tender heart and a very important message about equality and the strength and determination it takes to stand up for what you want (and there might be some very swoony romance thrown in as well). I absolutely love ice hockey novels. I’ve never played, never even watched a full game and yet there is something about the cold, crisp setting, the devotion of the fans, and the commitment and hard work of the players that makes this game so alluring in YA fiction. Throw in a story about a girl playing on a guy’s sport team and this novel was certain to be an absolute winner.
Holland Delviss is a talented ice hockey player. Her three brothers play, her father played – it’s in her blood. While Holland wishes it was her talent that people knew her for, she is more famous for being the sole girl on the guy’s team. And when their team is nominated to compete for a spot on a televised hockey feature, Holland is thrust into the spotlight. As she balances the extra pressure, things are further complicated when she starts to fall for her bossy team captain, Wes ‘Hot Sauce’ Millard. But as Holland is tempted to break her “I don’t date players” rule, she knows stepping over that line might bring more trouble than its worth.
If you enjoy contemporary YA fiction about sports or romance (or both), or if you are a fan of Miranda Keneally’s Hundred Oaks series or Julie Cross’s Juniper Falls series, then you will love Cold Day in the Sun. It has a great mix of romance and plot about coming of age and finding the self-determination to really stand and fight for what you want. Holland is a great character, easy to like with her quick wit and reluctance to step into the limelight. I was on edge throughout the entire book, picking up on Holland’s nerves, sure that at any moment things will explode in her face as she pushes the boundaries on what she ‘should’ be ‘allowed’ to do and who she wants to be.
As with any good sport-focused novel, the team and dedication to the game bring a great sense of camaraderie, seen especially between Holland and her brother. Holland’s love of music, her blog posts and how this connects her to Wes, all bring another layer of interest to the story.
Cold Day in the Sun is a fun, romantic story of falling in love, playing to your strengths, and being proud of who you are.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: Sport, ice hockey, teams, friendship, gender, feminism, equality, family, brothers, romance.
Reading age guide: Ages 14 and up.
Advisory: Frequent coarse language, f*** (46), sh** (44), sl** (1), di** (3), bit** (11), as***** (5), pi** (11). Vague sexual references.
Published: 12 March 2019 by Amulet Books.
Format: Hardcover, ebook. 320 pages.