Publisher: MIRA Ink
Format: Kindle e-book
Fred Oday spends most of her free time hitting balls at the driving range whilst waiting for her dad to finish his shift at the golf club. Fred's generally quiet life is disrupted when the coach for the school golf team discovers her talent and offers her a place on the team. Fred has to weigh up whether taking the spot is a good idea because: firstly, she has to take the place of an existing team member; secondly, the team is comprised of the rich, white boys who either ignore her or show outright hostility towards her and the other Native American students. Ryan Berenger is one of these boys. However, Ryan has his own issues to deal with - he just cannot seem to please anybody, from his best friends, to his parents, and then the new girl on the golf team. Over the course of a semester, Fred and Ryan both learn that you cannot judge a book by its cover.
I bought this book because just after my first ever golf lesson, I was listening to a +Clear Eyes, Full Shelves podcast and Hooked was mentioned - perfect timing. When I read the synopsis, I thought it sounded like an interesting read because I can't say I've ever heard of a YA book with golf as the featured sport. We've had girls fighting to get onto football and ice hockey teams (Dairy Queen, Catching Jordan, Bittersweet) but never golf. Also, it's interesting to note that all of these sporting girls in male dominated sports have, what are generally considered, masculine or unisex names (D.J, Jordan, Hudson, Fred). Anyway, I really enjoyed Hooked. It's a quiet story with simple but universal themes - don't judge, do what you love, be kind to one another.
I don't know very much about Native American culture but I loved the imagery and the poems and blessings that peppered Fred's side of the story. As a result, her voice came across as quite lyrical. The end scene in particular was very moving and I could picture it clearly. Fred was different (in a good way) to other sporty, teen protagonists. She was quiet but determined and she didn't whine even when the others treated her terribly. Her love for her family and heritage was evident in all of her actions. On the other hand, Ryan was a little more cliched but his true character shone through in the final act. To be honest, this is really Fred's novel - Ryan provided a peek into the not so perfect world of the rich folk on the other side of town but most of us could have imagined this without his voice. However, I wasn't as against a dual narrative in this story as I was with Eleanor & Park.
I'm glad I read this and I will certainly read another book by Liz Fichera - hopefully it has a less embarrassing cover!