Gail Nall’s BREAKING THE ICE is a middle grade book, so not my usual reading choice. Apart from Harry Potter, I usually only read middle grade with my daughter. But any book with a skater on the cover I have to at least look at. It’s a compulsion. And this one? I couldn’t stop looking. Page after page. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down. Nall captures the skating world so well, I could smell the hockey player spit on the floor mats. Club relationships, the many shades of skater moms, it was all there.
Every skater has his or her personal struggles with the sport – either with jumps, or spinning, or artistry – and Kaitlin’s battle with artistry was so real and perfectly incorporated into her overall character growth. Any skater will love this book, but Kaitlin is also questioning so many things that all kids deal with: What does it really mean to be a friend? What do you do when other people are mean to you? What if you’re trying your best at something and it still isn’t enough? I especially loved Kaitlin’s mixed feelings toward cute-but-bad boy Braedon: can she be friends with someone whose fun has a tendency to go too far?
Highly recommended. Starred review. (Okay, I’ll stop pretending I’m from Kirkus now. But seriously, go read this. I’m going back to writing. That is, after I re-read my favorite scene. Page 140 – I’m going to re-read this one every time I think I’ve made one of my own scenes as embarrassing as possible!)