I wanted to love this book so much more than what I actually did. So, this review’s going to probably be one of the lone wanderers among a number of people who may love this book. I see the appeal, I definitely do, because it’s a light, fluffy story.
But if I can describe what the experience of reading Lauren Morrill’s “Being Sloane Jacobs” was like, I’d liken it to getting a yummy hot fudge sundae placed in front of you, and then you’re told you can only eat the cherry and whipped cream. That kind of kills the experience because you’re like – “But what about the hot fudge? What about the ice cream, what about the vanilla wavers that come with it?” And all the other good stuff. (Hopefully I haven’t made anyone hungry with that comparison, because…yum.)
It’s a bit of a shortchanged experience. Morrill has a great structure to this particular story for what it aims to do, but you’re only getting surface details here. The story’s admirable, but it’s not only lacking development and investment with respect to its characters, but it’s also just a carbon copy smorgasbord of much better stories. And the reason why the story here doesn’t stand out as much as it should on its own is because the characters lack any kind of depth or individual charm. Even the humor’s just a touch bit dry and awkward in places. I chuckled a few times for some of the cute interactions, but mostly – I felt emotionally removed for most of the story, and that’s not a good sign even for a story that’s meant to be lighthearted and engaging.
In short, Sloane Emily and Sloane Devon share the same name: Sloane Jacobs. The former’s a senator’s daughter, wealthy, and a figure skater. The latter is a middle class girl worried about college and thinking that hockey is going to be her ticket there (though she has a bit of an anger problem, considering her run-ins with teammates and issues at home). The two Sloanes happen to meet each other on the way to their respective camps (luggage mix-up, go figure). So the two aren’t so thrilled about the journey and they think “Hey, let’s switch places, we kinda look alike, and we can go through the basics of our respective sports despite our differences.” But the switch brings on more complications than they bargained for, not only with respect to their sports, but relationships as well.
I liked the two Sloane’s well enough through the story, but it was the other characters that felt shortchanged to some extent. I kind of wanted to know more about Matt and even the mean girl-ish character in more detail than what it provided. In short, I wanted more from it. I expected more from it. Even with the similar vibes to “The Parent Trap,” “The Cutting Edge,” and maybe “The Mighty Ducks”, I was willing to give this a chance to see the story it provided on its own legs, but it felt like a big chunk of this was missing something, like it was holding back on developing the characters more where it could’ve used the space to do it.
It’s my first read from Morrill, and while it didn’t quite meet up to my expectations, I’d try another read from her in the future, just to see if her other stories strike me better. But this was okay, it just wasn’t enough for me.
Overall score: 2.5/5 stars
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher.