Published by Delacorte Books For Young Readers on January 7, 2014
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.
One of the most important aspects of a dual narrative novel should be creating and maintaining unique voices for the narrators. Being Sloane Jacobs failed by this count, and it made it even harder to enjoy this lightweight story. It may as well have been written as a parallel lives story since there is no discernible difference in the characters, and it was easy to forget that they were supposed to be two people.
I’ll recap the whole story in a few sentences. Two girls named Sloane Jacobs happen to cross paths. One is rich, one is poor, and neither is particularly happy with her life. They decide to switch identities, and they inexplicably pull it off for a time, until, of course, it all crashes down. They each embark upon an uninteresting romance which has a moment of turmoil (quickly resolved) when each guy learns of the deception. But in the end, everything works out perfectly, and all of the earlier woes are washed away.
The Parent Trap plot doesn’t work due to all of the implausibilities, and character development is barely touched upon – unless you count Poor Sloane’s anger issue which manifests itself in fist fights in the first few pages, but is barely addressed again. I would normally get irritated over a story like this, but it’s so bland and inoffensive that it’s hard to take it seriously.