Cover Image: In the Penalty Box

In the Penalty Box

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Member Reviews

Disclaimer: I received this book at no cost from the publisher/author. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I am leaving a voluntary review and all opinions are my own. 

I have read and enjoyed Kelly Anne Blount's writing before so I knew that I had to pick up this book. And if I said that I didn't have a secret obsession with hockey romance I would be lying. A hockey star and a figure skater falling in love is like one of the tropes of my dreams. 

I really loved the story. The plot was interesting and intriguing. I was so compelled to know more and to find out what was going to happen to the characters. I really loved the depth of the story. These characters had so much going on in their lives and I thought that the authors did a great job of crafting their lives. I like how the authors didn't really shy away from the more __ parts of these characters' lives. They told the __ parts of the story with grace. It also felt very realistic, which I loved. The storytelling was great for the most part. There were a couple of times that I felt the plot slowed down and things got a little boring but I was never fully disinterested. I felt fully immersed in this world as if I could step right into the story. 

These characters were so complex. I loved how realistic they were. Willow and Brodie both had real-world problems and their characterizations felt real. These characters, especially Brodie, had to deal with some serious and sensitive issues and I really loved the emotion that the authors packed into these characters. These characters were so relatable because they felt so real. They had flaws and goals and wants just like anyone. I have to say, my heart really hurt for Brodie in this book. I literally teared up in a few places in this book for that boy. I really loved the character development for both Brodie and Willow. I also loved the secondary characters in this book, especially Willow's hockey teammates. Those guys really grew on me. I honestly would love to read books dedicated to their characters. 

I think that the blurb for this book was a tad bit misleading. By the sound of the synopsis, you would think that this is an enemies-to-lovers story but it really isn't. Brodie was supportive of Willow pretty much from the start. He was supportive of her playing hockey and of her being on the hockey team with the other guys. He actually helps her train for it. That point aside, I really enjoyed Brodie and Willow's love story. They come together with a love of skating, even though his love is hockey and hers is figure skating. They have a very natural rapport with one another from the start and it was easy to see their obvious chemistry. Their love story starts out with a beautiful friendship and blossoms from there. Their affection for each other is very genuine, which I really loved. 

Overall, this was an adorable sports love story. This book has excellent characters and a plot that you just can't help but want to see unfold. After doing a little research, I found that this author duo also has a three-book series that appears to be set at Twin River High, which is the rival school in this book. I am excited to pick up the Twin River High series and give it a go!
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Ahhhh this was just such a great book. I just was entranced by this story and these characters. I look forward to seeing what happens next.
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My rating scale:
5☆ - I loved this book and it brought out true emotion in me (laughter, anger, a good cry, etc)
4☆ - I loved this book. 
3☆ - I liked this book. 
2☆ - I didn't really care for this book. 
1☆ - I did not like this book at all and probably did not finish it.
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This one was cute, but not necessarily my favorite. I really love a good sports romance, and I also really enjoy a YA with real-life issues. The problem for me was that this one just seemed SO jam-packed with drama that it ended up feeling pretty unrealistic in the end. I think I would have enjoyed it more if the drama was turned down just a notch.

Other than that though, I found it to be a cute story, and worth the read.

Many thanks to the publisher for the advanced copy. All opinions and thoughts are my own.
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A great little sports romance that is good for what it is. It's not anything special. The story's been told before. But if you're looking for a Teen hockey romance to cheer you up, this book is perfect.
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Love a great sports romance and this one is really good. Aimed at the YA crowd it has some great stories and characters throughout the book that you just fall in love.
Thanks for my free ARC.
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I didn't really like this one. It felt like every other cliche romance to me if I'm being honest. Very... Hallmarky. (I like Hallmark Christmas movies, don't get me wrong. Just not in a book.)
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I absolutely adore a good sports romance story! Injured ice skater joins boys hockey team and it heats up from there. This is age appropriate even though they do talk about sex
Some. The lead female is absolutely perfect and a badass and the lead male has the best background story to make you fall in love and have all the feels. You won’t be disappointed!
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Who doesn’t love a hockey romance? Add in a enemies to lovers arc and a main character who figures out what’s really important to her, and you have a great quick read that gives you all the feels. In the Penalty Box, shows a great growth in character for all the characters mentioned, the side characters don’t just sit in the background only to pop up in order to drive the story along. Overall I really enjoyed this story and would recommend it to my friends.
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A YA sports romance between a hockey player and a figure skater. One chasing family expectations and obligations, the other discovering what life could be like if you just let go and embrace your desires.

A sweet look at high-school small town romance in a world where everyone breathes hockey and family comes first. Love is complicated and unexpected. 

Great collaboration.
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I've always enjoyed finding new sports contemporary romance to read. So I definitely had high hopes for this one. Unfortunately, I could barely get through the first half of the book. Eventually, I decided to take pity on myself and had to call it quits.

DNF @ 10%
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I enjoyed the heck out of Willow and Brodie's story! To be honest, the blurb had me at "hockey"--but throw figure skating in there too? Cue the grabby hands. Honestly, I couldn't even begin to guess how many times I've seen The Cutting Edge, so a YA book that turns it on its end and has the recovering-from-an-injury figure skater rehabbing by taking up hockey? Yes, please!

In the Penalty Box did not disappoint. Willow and Brodie are strong characters, and their chemistry together is great. I enjoyed the heck out of watching them together--whether on the ice, texting, or hanging out with the team--and think I might have been more broken up than even Brodie at the thought of Willow going back to figure skating and leaving hockey (and him!) behind in the end. I mean, States were coming up! Plus, you know--Brodie... ;)

Ms Rush and Ms Blount did a nice job of keeping their characters on the edge of will they or won't they for just the right amount of time, and having them act like actual teens who have a reasonable amount of intelligence and don't need to get bogged down in drama. Even when Brodie's life could have arguably made him a bit angsty, they resisted the urge to go OTT with it. (And can I just say how much I loved reading about a high school athlete who wasn't 100% sure that going pro was in his immediate future? Brodie was all about getting to play in college, and I freaking loved that.)

Though parts of the story were a tad bit predictable, I thoroughly enjoyed the world that the authors created here. If they decide to revisit any of the other players on the team in the future, I. Am. Here. For. It. (Fingers crossed!)

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
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What a fun YA book! I enjoyed the playfulness you feel with these characters as they enjoy their early stages of flirtation and romance. The build up of conflict from family life or trying to get back to being an elite athlete or the angsty build up of teenage emotion. This was an entertaining read!
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I’m a sucker for romance, so I really enjoyed this story! Brodie and Willow were very cute and I always love a trope of a figure skater becoming a hockey player.

As said, In the Penalty Box follows Brodie and Willow. Brodie is a hockey player for his local team and Willow is a figure skater who’s back in town after injuring her Achilles. They make a deal, Willow will help their hockey team get to state and in exchange, their training will help her get stronger. Willow takes the deal, thinking it will help her get back on a skating team. However, she and Brodie quickly fall for each other, which leaves Willow questioning what she really wants.

Overall, if you’re looking for a cute sports romance, I recommend this one!
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Teenagers are going to love this one!

Read my full review here:
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I picked up on The Cutting Edge reference right out of the gate. But this story is even better than that one. Granted, it's partially because this story is more modern, with the movie being almost 20 years old. But Willow is also much more tolerable than Kate. Yes, she is a figure skater, but she isn't a prima donna. She is coming off of a devastating injury that cost her a spot on her Olympic team.

Brodie may be the star hockey player, but life has not been super kind to him. His mother was killed in an accident by a drunk driver. His father, unable to cope, has become an absent alcoholic. And now Brodie is also serving as a surrogate father to his kid brother. But he wants to go pro and follow in his family's footsteps.

So the two of them have had a lot of trauma in their young lives. Perhaps that is part of why they seems so much older than seniors in high school. Between their traumas and dreams, they have lost a good chunk of their innocent childhoods.

So Willow ends up joining Brodie's hockey team and becomes one of the greatest goalies they have ever had. Willow and Brodie, who are essentially training together, of course fall for each other, but have to keep their romance a secret.

They complement each other well, able to be supportive of each other through the difficult times, but also able to push each other to do their very best. It isn't easy, but their determination just may make it work.

I loved that this book put a girl on a boys hockey team. It's empowering to read about a strong girl who isn't necessarily following the traditional gender roles. This provides a chance to demonstrate some of the gender bias that persists in our society.

These two also show how to follow your dreams without needing to trample everyone else along the way. Plus they show how persistence pays off. And while it is typical for teens to be somewhat self-centered, these two show how you have to look beyond just yourself to really be successful at life.

If you like sports romances, I think that this is a good one to add to your list. If you're not as into hockey and figure skating, you may not enjoy this as much because there is a lot of technical focus as part of the story. For me, it worked and I loved it. I may have even learned a little.

I've enjoyed what I have read from each of these authors individually in the past. I liked this collaboration and hope they consider more in the future.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a requested review copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Huge thank you to Entangled for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review. I loved this sweet story. This is my first dip into the hockey romance genre and I can't wait to try more. I loved the Cutting Edge vibes and how the main characters had to work through some really tough real life issues including dealing with the death of a parent, substance abuse, poverty. This was a wonder, very readable, and enjoyable read.
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*I received this book from YA Bound Tours for my honest review*

From page 1, I couldn’t put this book down. I fell in love with Brodie and Willow and was rooting for them all the way through this books. I don’t skate, but I felt that the authors both did a lot of research on figure skating and hockey. I also found Brodie and Willow family situation and backstory to not feel generic and it helped move the plot, their characterization, and affect the way they acted. All the secondary characters didn’t feel like backdrops, but actually moved in and out of the scene with purpose.

I really like Brodie and found him to be a sweetheart. Both of their reasons for why they don’t want to be a couple in the beginning made sense, and I felt as if I was in high school dealing with the drama of that age all over again :P. The characters were believable and I felt connected to my younger self. The trials they both go through, and how they come out on the other side, is very inspiring. It is great to have characters that are caring and grow from challenges.

All in all, I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves YA romance! Rush and Blount did a fantastic job!
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I want to say thank you to the Netgalley for sending me a copy of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily. All opinions are my own.

5 Stars

Figure skating was supposed to be my whole world. But one unlucky injury and now I’m down...but I’m definitely not out. I just need to rehab—a boatload of rehab—and who’d have thought I could do it on the boys’ hockey team?
Hockey is my whole world. I’ve worked my tail off getting my team in a position to win the championships—hopefully in front of major college scouts, too—so what’s a guy to do when a figure skater ends up as our new goalie?

Willow is trying so hard to get back to skating on her team. Brodie wants to focus on hockey so he can get into the same college as his dad. Willow was out skating during free time. She was trying to get better with rehab so she can go back to her skating team. Anyway the hockey team shows up for scheduled practice. That's when everything changes. The hockey teams goalie get hurt and they ask Willow to fill in for practice. Turns out Willow is a really good goalie. The hockey team asked Willow to fill in until their old goalie gets better. Willow agrees because she thinks it will help her get stronger. Willow and Brodie make an agreement, He would help her train for skating and she will play hockey. 

I really enjoyed this book. I found it to be a really fun winter read. I was very cute, fun story. Ice skating has always interested me so when I got a chance to read a book with Ice skating I was all for it. I really liked the banter between Ice skaters and the Hockey players. 

I would recommend if you enjoy romance, banter, and skating on the ice.
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I loved this book. I like the new take on the figure skater hockey player romance I got from this book. Usually the figure skater ends up just working super hard to over come their injury while falling for the hockey player and while both of those are true for this story there is an interesting twist that absolutely works for this story and these characters. I also enjoyed the the story was told from 2 povs which definitely added to my enjoyment of this story. Also the side characters in this story really are just like family from Gramps to Jessa to Preach they were all so much fun to read about. I can’t wait for the Twin Rivers books.
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