Friday, March 8, 2013

Hooked - Liz Fichera

Hooked book cover
Hooked by Liz Fichera
Series:  Hooked #1
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: January 29, 2013
Source/format: Netgalley (Thanks Harlequin!) || e-ARC
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

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... (from Goodreads)

The main reason that I wanted to read Hooked was because of the fact that the main character, Fredricka (Fred) Oday, is Native American. I don't get to read very many books where this culture is featured, so I was really looking forward to this. Plus, the story sounded like a great contemporary and there's definitely the promise of romance. Unfortunately, Hooked didn't exactly reel me in with its story or its characters, and instead left me feeling disappointed.

What I Did Like

Fred was incredibly passionate about golf. I haven't really attempted to play golf, apart from mini-golf and playing golf via video games. But reading about how Fred was willing to constantly, consistently practice every single day (even weekends) was just inspiring. It's clear that her talent comes from her dedication to practice and improving her skills, as it's also apparent that she might not necessarily always have the best equipment on hand. I love it when it's obvious that a character truly enjoys something, and golf is definitely Fred's thing.

Fred and her dad have a wonderful relationship. I always enjoy books that feature good parent-child relationships. Fred's dad loves her and encourages her when it comes to golf, and it is very, very clear that he cares about her. He does the best he can with what he has to provide ways for her to practice her sport and to continue to improve, and I think that's the best kind of support he could have shown her.

There were certain Native American touches included. I enjoyed the fact that there was a bit of the culture included, particularly when it came to the tournaments and when Fred's friends and family from the reservation came to watch her. Plus, it was interesting how there are also flashbacks to how the kids from outside the reservation go on field trips inside to see the culture for themselves.

What I Didn't Like

The romance wasn't believable to me. Fred and Ryan just got together way too fast for my taste. And then, all of a sudden, there's this whole crazy relationship drama that ensues. I personally felt like it was too rushed for my tastes. I will admit that there are certain sweet moments between them that I smiled at, but overall, it just wasn't my cup of tea.

Ryan's friends are jerks. I don't think this one even needs explaining. While I'm sure that they were written that way for a reason, I still disliked all of them. I didn't understand why Ryan couldn't see how awful they were behaving, especially his best friend Seth, and not want to set them straight.

There were way too many things going on. There's the golf team and their attempt to win tournaments, Ryan and Fred's budding romance and relationship drama, Seth's reaction to being kicked off the golf team, Fred's family drama, Ryan's family drama, and that's not even all of it. While I wouldn't normally mind having such complex storylines woven into one novel, it just felt cluttered to me. I was just experiencing everything at breakneck speed and that kind of ruined the impact of all these events.

I went into Hooked expecting something a bit different than what I actually read. While I'm certain there are going to be people who enjoy this one, I personally just felt disconnected and confused and slightly annoyed at the characters in this story. Even though I managed to finish it, and the ending was actually pretty solid, I would definitely just consider this one as a passable contemporary novel.

28 comments:

  1. I think based on general consensus, I will not be checking this one out. Which is a shame because the synop sounds good but NO ONE wants to be annoyed by characters.

    I like the way you set this review up.

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    1. Thanks E! Yeah, I wouldn't really recommend this one AT ALL. I honestly didn't like the way the plot played out, which was a shame because it really sounded so promising.

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  2. I agree with 100% of what you wrote here. I'm glad you mentioned her culture because that was one thing I liked about it. She was tied to her heritage and I liked that.

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    1. Agreed! I love that she was closely tied with her heritage. It definitely made certain parts of the book even better for me :)

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  3. I really liked the golf stuff. I thought that was a really cool to read about a girl golfer and it made me want more girls playing sports in YA... but yeah I wasn't feeling the inst-love either. :(

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    1. I thought the fact that she loved golf and played well was great! It's always fun to read about athletic girls, even if I'm not one myself. The insta-love pretty much ruined it for me though, which is sad :(

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  4. Oh, I totally forgot to mention Fred and her dad's relationship in my review. I completely agree, though! I loved it so much. In fact, I basically agree with everything you mentioned. Went in expecting one thing, got something else. Overall, not great, although I enjoyed elements. Great job writing a balanced review with such clear points!

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    1. Thanks Sharon! I did think Fred's relationship with her dad was great. It's always good to see parents as part of their kids' lives in YA, and that's one thing that definitely stood out to me about Hooked.

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  5. Like E, I like how you set this review up too. Very straightforward. I was so, so disappointed in this book. Just didn't enjoy it. WAY TOO MUCH.

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    1. Thanks M! Yes, I was sorely disappointed in it as well. I really was expecting one thing from it and it just wasn't present, which sucks.

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  6. I think it's really great that Fichera stepped outside the box when writing this one. She not only uses a diverse cast of characters but she touches on a lesser known sport AND includes positive familial relationships. So while all those things are great, if the romance isn't believable and that's the foundation of the book, then that kinda defeats the purpose. Sorry this one didn't pan out like you hoped!

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    1. Yes, there were definitely appealing elements to Hooked, but overall, it just ended up being a disappointing read. I really wanted to like it, but I just couldn't because the stuff I didn't like had a greater impact than the stuff that I did.

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  7. I wasn't too sure about this one because I know nothing about golf so the mention of it in the synopsis made me wary, and i can't say I've read reviews that have made me go and read it. It sounds like everyone has the same problem with the romance too that it wasn't very believable, which is one of my biggest book pet peeves. Any kind of insta love or lack of romance or anything that feels rushed or unreal always makes me feel blah about the book. Great review, Alexa!

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    1. I definitely don't think you're going to like this one! It honestly has the weirdest romance I've read in a while, one that's super insta-love and just strangely unbelievable. GAH.

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  8. Oh, I hate it when the romance is rushed. It just doesn't work for a novel, IMHO. I do like the cultural aspects and the golf thing, like you, since that's different. Idk if I'll give it a try though, but great to hear your thoughts on it to further my choice. Great review!

    Vivian
    Confessions of a Vi3tBabe
    Deity Island

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    1. Thanks Vi! This one just had a romance that didn't work for me because it was TOO unbelievable. I really wanted to like it, but it just... fell apart. There were certain elements that interested me but overall, it was just ok.

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  9. Awww, that's too bad you were a little disappointed. I haven't read Hooked, but it has been on my radar. I really like romance, but lots of drama drama drama in the characters relationship just stresses me out.

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    1. There's a bit too much drama in this book for me. I just felt like SO many things were going on, so that really made me not like the book as much.

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  10. Hmm. I don't mind insta-love if it is good and fits into the story well, but I'm seeing mixed stuff about the romance in this one. I like the culture aspect and the sporting aspect with the female athlete, but even as a person that doesn't automatically hate insta-love, I'm nervous about this romance a little bit. I'll probably still read it at some point because I'm curious about these mixed reviews and all of this drama, but I think I'm going in with some caution. Love your thoughts, Alexa. :)

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    1. I'd be curious to hear what you think of this one if you do end up reading it. I know there have been some people who've enjoyed it, but overall, I really just didn't.

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  11. Aww, this is too bad! I think that the idea of having a Native American protagonist is wonderful, but it's disappointing that other, subjectively more important aspects of storytelling were overlooked or underdeveloped.

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    1. I was excited about the Native American protagonist, but I was let down by the book, as you can tell. It makes me so sad!

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  12. I'm sorry this one didn't work for you! I was looking forward to this after reading several positive reviews, but if the romance is rushed an unbelievable, that dampens my enthusiasm somewhat. Also I hate when a story is too cluttered and can't find its focus. Thanks for your honesty!

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    1. The romance just felt inauthentic to me because it all happened too fast for my taste. I do think it could have been a good book, but with the romance and everything going on, it just fell flat for me.

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  13. There was so much going on in this book, which made me think of Pushing the Limits and all the drama it contained.

    I was surprised by how much I loved the golf elements since I think golf is incredibly boring but I found those to be the best moments in the book.

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    1. With Pushing the Limits, it was already understood that both characters were bringing their drama into a relationship. With this one, I think I was expecting something, but it turned into a whirlwind of all these different problems and such.

      The golf elements were pretty great though.

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  14. I went into this expecting something a little different too, and it ended up falling a little flat for me also. I did like parts of it well enough though, but I'm not sure if I'd read the second book. Great review, Alexa!

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    1. I don't think I'd be interested in reading the second book after my experience with the first. I was very disappointed in how the story played out, unfortunately. I did like certain elements, but it wasn't enough to make me really like this one.

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