ARC Review: Hooked by Liz Fichera

Hooked by Liz Ficherahooked
Book #1 – Hooked
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Interracial, Sports Romance
Publication Date: Jan 29, 2013
Book provided by NetGalley and HarlequinTEEN

When Native American Fredricka ‘Fred’ Oday is invited to become the only girl on the school’s golf team, she can’t say no. This is an opportunity to shine, win a scholarship and go to university, something no one in her family has done.

But Fred’s presence on the team isn’t exactly welcome — especially not to rich golden boy Ryan Berenger, whose best friend was kicked off the team to make a spot for Fred.

But there’s no denying that things are happening between the girl with the killer swing and the boy with the killer smile..

D.G.’s Rating: 3 stars = C+

Hooked has a very interesting premise – poor Native American girl joins the All Boys varsity golf team, meets rich Caucasian boy, trouble ensues – but it faltered in the execution. The story had tons of things to recommend it but I don’t think they were treated with the depth they deserved.

Let’s start with the good things. I know very little about the current situation of Native Americans so I was fascinated by this aspect of the story. Fred was also a sympathetic character, a genuinely good person with difficult problems. It was easy to pull for her because you knew she deserve things to go her way. I also loved the sports setting even if it was golf. 🙂 You just don’t see many girls competing with boys at this level!

But there was too much going in the story and everything was treated superficially. There was the relationship between Ryan and Fred with all the class, race and culture issues that entails – which you would think would be a whole book all on its own – Ryan’s destructive friends/girlfriend, Fred’s friends/protective brother, Fred’s problems with her mother and Ryan’s problems with his parents, all set in between Golf Tournaments. Most of these sub-plots needed to either be cut or the book needed at least 100 extra pages to give them justice.

That’s why Ryan was so difficult to like. At the beginning he was portrayed as a spoiled, gutless wimp who goes along with his best friend’s schemes, no matter who this hurts. He doesn’t agree with them (of course!) but he let’s them do crazy stuff anyway which is worse in my opinion. There is mention of Ryan going to therapy but it’s never disclosed why. Several times he drinks too much and there’s a hint of an alcohol problem but again, this is never explored. Ryan’s father objects to his relationship with Fred but it’s never mentioned why. I thought that it was a race thing but his acceptance at the end proved me wrong (people don’t change their views on race in the blink of an eye) so who knows why he didn’t like her.

Fred is nice but she’s the martyr type. The same terrible prank is done to her TWICE (Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me!) and she doesn’t do anything about it. She never stands up for herself.

Ryan and Fred’s relationship was one of those that evolves out of nowhere. Their feelings are explained by an elusive connection based on very little acquaintance. In the blink of an eye, they go from barely talking to drama filled exchanges. The ending was also very convenient. Ryan’s awakening was a bit too sudden and with the exception of Ryan’s and Seth’s confrontation, all the problems were resolved with very little work from either character.

Hooked will definitely appeal to the teen audience but I’m not sure how adult readers will feel. There’s just too much drama with not enough depth.

D.G.’s Rating:  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠ 

Thanks to Netgalley and HarlequinTEEN for providing a review copy of this book!

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