Review of Hooked by Liz Fichera
Started: 10/13/13; finished: 10/14/13
Goodreads rating: 4/5 stars
my rating: AWWW
Fred Oday likes to play golf. A lot. So when the varsity coach from her school asks her to join her team she’s pretty stoked. There’s a problem, though. The team is all boys and she inadvertently knocks Ryan Berenger’s best friend, Seth, off the team. Oh, and the boys all hate her. Fred knows it won’t be easy to fit in but she never thought the boys would try to sabotage her game. They snicker and call her names behind her back. Except for Ryan, her partner on course. Little by little the two become friends, maybe something more. But the team and Seth keep getting in their way and much to Fred’s disappointment he chooses them over her. Fred’s determined to not let her heartbreak mess up her golf game, though, because she’s the best player they have and their only chance at going to state.
I really enjoyed this book. It’s from both Fred’s and Ryan’s POVs so you get to see both sides of the story. How Fred, a Native American that lives on a reserve outside of Phoenix, deals with being an outcast at her school and on her own team; and how Ryan, typical suburban golden boy, begins to see his world and his friends in a different way thanks to Fred.
Along for the ride is a cast of characters that includes Seth (Ryan’s idiot best friend), Gwenyth (Ryan’s overbearing girlfriend he keeps trying to break up with), Sam (a boy from the Rez that has a crush on Fred), Trevor (Fred’s protective older brother), the coach and Fred’s parents.
Seth is a complete jackass. He’s crude and mean and a bully. He picks on Fred constantly, calling her Pocahontas and a slew of other racial slurs but I really felt his racism was secondary to the all out jealousy he felt against her getting his spot on the team and taking his best friend away from him. Gwenyth is a total bitch and does everything she can to keep Ryan away from Fred, even after Ryan has made it clear he doesn’t want to see her any more. Ryan likes Fred, as a golfer, as a person, as a friend and then as something more. That in turn leads him to see his friends in a new light—one he doesn’t like.
The little love story between Ryan and Fred was also secondary to the overall plot of golf (as a meaning of expression and strength for the otherwise timid Fred) and family issues both teens faced. I also felt the racial tensions were secondary to the plot. They just served as conflict to progress the plot. Fred comes off as very weak at first. She doesn’t stand up for herself, keeps her head down and just lets people call her names. She’s not like the other Rez girls who are loud and proud about their heritage. This seems like a major fault but I totally understand Fred. I was bullied in school (and not for racial issues) and I felt the same way—like I didn’t really matter and no one cared. I ate lunch alone all the time. Luckily Fred had her Rez friends to help her through it.
Ryan starts off as the typical golden boy jock. He’s the best player on the team (until Fred shows up), likes to party and do stupid stuff for the hell of it. At first he’s pissed at the idea of Fred taking Seth’s spot but then he sees her play and his respect for her quickly turns into a friendship. He likes Fred. There’s just that pesky problem of his sometimes girlfriend, jealous best friend and the rest of the team that don’t understand Fred and don’t want her around.
I really, really liked this book. I liked that the love story didn’t take center stage, and in fact, was barely there (Fred and Ryan were barely together as a couple at all through the book). It was still sweet and felt real. Plus it lead to a lot of angst and drama which I love.
At the end of the book were a couple chapters from a “sequel”. It’s actually more of a companion piece centering around Fred’s friend, Sam, and Ryan’s younger sister, Riley. Kind of like how Katie McGarry takes supporting characters from her first novel and gives each their own book. I can’t wait to read the next book, Played, when it comes out.