Icebreaker by A. L. Graziadei

Title: Icebreaker
Author: A. L. Graziadei
Publication date: 2022

Date started: 21/05/2022
Date finished: 22/05/2022

First sentence: “So, being both depressed and anxious at the same time is absolutely wild.”
Last sentence: “I look at Cauler. He’s looking at me. And that matters far more than the name called first.”

Summary (spoilers): Mickey James III is the son and grandson of legendary ice hockey players. As such, he has been raised to take on their legacy, and is currently doing a year of college while awaiting his NHL draft – where he is expected to get first place. But no matter how amazing his life looks from the outside, Mickey isn’t doing great – he’s depressed, he’s anxious, he never gets close to his teams and is drowning under the pressure and expectations. To make matters worse, his main rival for the NHL draft joined the same team as him this year. Jaysen Caulfield is incredibly hot, and clearly hates Mickey – both because of their rivalry, and because he considers Mickey is taking someone’s place & scholarship in this college when he doesn’t care about it. Their first few weeks together are tense, but they soon realize they both have feelings for each other and start hooking up. They have to be careful because there’s no out player in the NHL, and they don’t want to be swept in a scandal before their drafts, so they maintain a mock rivalry on twitter for appearances. They end up starting to date officially (in secret) despite Mickey’s fears.

Opinion: This book was pretty cute! It was a nice romance, the characters were likeable and it really got me into the mood to watch some ice hockey – perfect timing, as the world cup is currently being held in my town! I’m glad I was already pretty familiar with ice hockey terms and traditions thanks to the Check, Please! comic because otherwise a lot of this book would have been lost on me. I liked that the book focused on its main character’s anxiety and depression, as well as the difficulty of being queer in hockey. [spoilers] I was a bit sad that we didn’t get to explore more of the characters’ established relationship, and especially to see their coming out. It’s a choice I respect, as it clearly wasn’t the point of this book, but I would have loved to see it.

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