Cover Image: Icebreaker

Icebreaker

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Member Reviews

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this audiobook. 

This was a nice enemies to lovers between two hockey players and I enjoyed it a lot. I was very invested in the characters and how they deal with mental health issues while being young.  I would recommend it!
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Icebreaker was hands down a 5 star read for me. Let me tell you, I was INVESTED. After finishing the book I spent my visits to every book store in The Netherlands looking for this book hoping that I wouldn't have to order it online because I wanted to experience finding the book in a store. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find it yet and I went to the biggest bookstores in The Netherlands. :') OH WELL, maybe when I visit London!

ANYHOW, time for my review. Icebreaker follows Mickey James III on his way to follow in his father's and grandfather's footsteps and becoming the top draft spot of the league. However, Mickey's annoying(ly handsome) teammate Jaysen Caulfield is standing in his way to follow his family's legacy, which means Mickey has to decide how determined he is for that #1 spot and how much he would give up for it...

The enemies-to-lovers, the bromance, the discussion of mental health, I was HERE for it! I loved the chemistry between the two main characters and sometimes I even had to laugh out loud (in the gym, I don't even care what other people were thinking that moment). The writing and the pace of the book were excellent as well and I highly recommend it to people who are into ya/na sports romance.
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I have mixed views about this one. On the one hand, I appreciated the book's emphasis on mental illness (particularly depression) and the way that pressure from family, even inadvertently, affects people... but I also didn't warm up to the two main characters until nearly a quarter of the way through the book. Because this book is so character-driven, that first twenty-ish percent was a bit of a slog to get through for me. I appreciate hostile relationships that blossom into romance, and enemies-to-lovers are my jam, but this felt a little too much at times? I understand hockey is a rough sport, but the way Jaysen pursued Mickey so aggressively at the beginning of the book concerned me, especially given their various sizes. When things improved for them, it seemed to go from zero to sixty with no natural build-up? I understand that this isn't an issue for everyone, but I enjoy the slow burn, no kissing till the last chapter, heavy on the pining sort of romance hahaha. Yes, there is pining here, but it only lasts a chapter or so; it just wasn't enough for me!!!
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Seventeen-year-old Mickey James III is a college freshman, a brother to five sisters, and a hockey legacy. With a father and a grandfather who have gone down in NHL history, Mickey is almost guaranteed the league's top draft spot. 

The only person standing in his way is Jaysen Caulfield, a contender for the #1 spot and Mickey's infuriating (and infuriatingly attractive) teammate. When rivalry turns to something more, Mickey will have to decide what he really wants, and what he's willing to risk for it.

This is a story about falling in love, finding your team (on and off the ice), and choosing your own path.

This was an incredible read! I was not expecting such wonderful mental health representation in a sports ROMANCE but trust me it was there! It was a topic that was dealt with so well and in such a relatable way! The chemistry between Mickey and Jayden was incredible, you could feel the tension and the love! Mickeys relationship with his family and that development was incredible to see and literally watching Mickey open up to everyone around him was This is definitely a must read novel this year and I 1000% recommend the audio book for this read!

Honestly I wouldn’t classify this book as a romance as much as a contemporary, but there is definitely romance vibes and sports! So if you like anything from romance to contemporary or you’re trying to step out of your comfort zone I cannot recommend a book more!
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Wow. This one blew me away right from the start. It was totally not what I expected but I loved it. Highly recommend
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This novel tells the story of two hockey teammates, competing against each other while on the same team, and also catching feelings for each other. The relationship between the two boys developed very well in the story, not instantaneously liking some teen romances. You will fall for these two characters as you join in on the action!
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man, this was disappointing. the first 40% kinda pulled me in. there was tension and rivalry and I felt like some stuff was unraveling but the rest absolutely sucked. hence, 2 stars and not 1, cause I enjoyed some of it.

my general issue with this book is how much I absolutely despised all the characters but mainly the main character and the love interest. they were pretty much as interesting as a group of cishet white men who go to the gym every day at 5 pm and catcall women afterwards. 

neither of them had any character. their dialogues and actions felt super robotic. they were as bland as a salad with two ingredients and no spices. absolutely ZERO personality. NPC material, truly.

the chemistry between them completely sucked too. it all felt like just hate with benefits kinda thing throughout the whole book, unlike some very well done enemies to lovers I’ve read like ”Red, White & Royal Blue”, where you can actually see the character arc and how the characters go from enemies to lovers. this was just enemies who hooked up with no chemistry and no love. neither of them evolved at all.

now that I got over my biggest problem with it, I can knit pick. 

why the HELL would you make your character not know the difference between “your” and “you’re.” did you WANT TO make the readers think they’re unintelligent or don’t have the literal kindergartener level of education? jfc. not to mention how when jaysen used the l*ughing cr*ing emoji I felt the physical urge to gag.

it was all the embodiment of a millennial disney adult with a side part and the geopraphical skills of an american.

obviously, this has been fixed by now but the audio-ARC’s recording sounded like siri reading it because of the echo and buzzing. 

overall, not recommend!!! <3
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The actual story for this is 4.5* and the audiobook narration probably gets a 2. I just couldn't connect to the narrator or the style of reading and it really put me off finishing it as  I couldn't stay into it. 

I loved the characters and the plot and the writing style was pretty great. 

Overall I really enjoyed this.
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Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher for gifting me this audiobook!

"Icebreaker" was definitely one of my most anticipated YA releases of 2022 and it didn't disappoint! I'm not one to pick up a lot of sports centred books to be honest, but I really enjoyed that aspect in this book. The main characters, romance and plot was so good and had me hooked from start to finish, the narration for the audiobook was also really great and I highly recommend picking up the audio version! I also thought the mental illness rep was super well done.

Overall, I highly recommend picking this one up if you like queer sports romance!
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Thank you to NetGalley, RB Media, Recorded Books, A. L. Graziadei, and Tom Picasso (narrator) for the opportunity to read and listen to Icebreaker in exchange for an honest review.

What a clever title! I won't go into that, I just wanted to highlight how fitting it is to this hockey romance novel.

Even though the main character, Mickey, is a college freshmen, this book is considered young adult. He is not yet of adult age, and he deals with the same aspects young adults do in those transitional years. Finding who he is and what he wants to be is a key aspect in a young adult's life.

Both Mickey's father AND grandfather have been key players in the National Hockey League, which puts the pressure on Mickey. He has been groomed to get into the NHL his whole life. He has had to practice hard. At least he does love hockey, so it is his own dream to follow, despite his family influences. The only problem is that sometimes depression gets in the way, and that can cause him to care about nothing at all.

There's one other problem: Jaysen Caulfield. He's Mickey's teammate, also shooting for the next NHL spot, oh and he's extremely attractive (according to Mickey).

What startes off as a rivalry soon becomes an interesting relationship. Mickey needs to find out what's most important to him and his future career, and a fling, or even romance, isn't quite what he was expecting along the way.

This is a wholesome sports novel revolving around hockey with a leading bisexual character. The writing is excellent, and there are some great moments of interaction between characters. It can be hard to decide what we want once adulthood is right around the corner, and this novel explores that well. We might know, or at least have an idea, of what we want to do with our adult lives, but sometimes things happen in life that bring us to rethink our path. This book is a great listen with a flavorful narrator and a must-read for any hockey lover or seeker of LGBTQ YA romance.
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I cannot start this review any other way than by simply saying this book *slayed* my heart in the best way! It's the perfect mix of some of my favourite tropes like found family, rivals to lovers, with a dash of banter and it was meant to be one of my 2022 faves from the get-go!

This story of two college hockey players who are competing for the number one draft spot in the NHL started off strong and its beauty just kept growing throughout. As we watch Mickey and Jaysen slowly go from rivals with some underlying sexual tension to tentative friends and in the next breath to lovers, we slowly fall in love with them as well. We face Mickey's mental health struggles with him, learning about the issues he faces and going through his thought process with the draft, his privilege in hockey (both for his reputation as the son of a hockey legend, his race, and his assumed straightness) - the latter was one of my favourites because it showed how aware was Mickey and it was a refreshing and important thing to see. 
Of course Jaysen plays a role in the realistic portrayal of the hockey scene as well, speaking about his struggles and not shying away from calling people out when they're wrong. And while AL did talk about the uglier sides of hockey and this whole business as well, they created a hopeful sports atmosphere with this team at Hartland University and I am never getting over that. We desperately need books that advocate for change and stay hopeful while also calling out the issues and things that need to be fixed.

While Mickey and Jaysen were central to the story and amazing to read about, the side characters were a true delight as well. All of Mickey's sisters were beautifully flashed out and there was no mixing them anymore after a couple of chapters - they all had distinct voices and you couldn't help but adore them. The same goes for Mickey's team members. My heart especially settled on Dorian and I cannot wait to hear his story as well. His own mental health struggles played a huge role in Mickey's own treatment and I loved that beyond words. Boys talking about their struggles and forming a small, perfect found family? Count me in!

I really thought I could keep this short and to the point BUT here we are. I really adored this book and wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone! It's a sports fiction story (perfect for you, even if you don't like sports) about first loves and friendships that develop into beautiful found families, but it's also a story of mental health struggles like depression and anxiety, and most of all, fighting for what you believe in. Because having a community that loves you is, in the end, more important than being drafted first. *wink win*

All the stars for this beautiful masterpiece.
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Genre : LGBTQ+, contemporary, YA

TW : mental health (depression and anxiety), homophobia and sexism in the hockey industry, alcohol use, physical violence, abandonment issues

𝑫𝒊𝒔𝒄𝒍𝒂𝒊𝒎𝒆𝒓: 𝑰 𝒓𝒆𝒄𝒆𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒅 𝒂𝒏 ALC 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒃𝒐𝒐𝒌 𝒕𝒉𝒓𝒐𝒖𝒈𝒉 NETGALLEY 𝒊𝒏 𝒆𝒙𝒄𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒆 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝒂𝒏 𝒉𝒐𝒏𝒆𝒔𝒕 𝒓𝒆𝒗𝒊𝒆𝒘.

I'm not a hockey fan at all (or of any sports, for that matter 😂), but this was such a fun and entertaining read! I didn't know the hockey lingo used, but it didn't prevent me from understanding and enjoying the story.

NOTE : I listened to the audiobook, so at first it was difficult to sort out all of the characters (there are a LOT, because .. lots of siblings and also, the hockey team 😂), but I managed after a few chapters 🙌

FAVE THINGS :

• the mental health rep

• a bunch of queer siblings in the same family 😍🥰

• long-standing rivalry turned hate-to-love

• well developed characters & personal growth 

• the epilogue 💛💛

ABOUT THE MENTAL HEALTH REP :

The mental health rep was absolutely amazing. Like the main character states, he's never had a traumatic experience and he is privileged (white, hetero passing, and rich parents).
 
Because of that, he doesn't feel like he's "allowed" to be depressed/reach out for help. I loved how he found out one of his teammates was also struggling with his mental health, and how that helped him accept his own situation. 

The entire mental health rep was so valid and relatable, and the author did a marvelous job of portraying those struggles.
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loved this book! such a cute enemies to lovers hockey tale. the chemistry between the 2 main characters was great. i loved the mental health representation within the book
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I absolutely loved this LGBTQ  romance.

Such a great book with a solid storyline and great characters.

I eagerly look forward to reading more from this author.

A definite recommend
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I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I don't enjoy sports, and have never put much thought into team sports. So naturally the idea of an entire book about team sports was not my thing at all.

However the 'person,' side of the summary for this book caught my eye. I am a sucker for the enemies to lovers trope. I went out on a limb requesting this book and I am so glad I did.

The writing was fantastic, I really enjoy this author's voice. The plot moved along, the interactions between the characters and character growth were fantastic. It took a bit to get into the sports side of the story but eventually I even enjoyed that.

My only two issues with this book were

1. This author is new enough I can't binge read their work because they don't have a whole selection under their belt haha.

2. Like other reviewers the ending was a bit of a letdown for me.

However highly recommend this book.
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I received an advanced audio copy of Icebreaker through Netgalley so I could share my review with you!

Content Warning: Depression, Alcohol Abuse, Underage Drinking, Suicide Ideation, Mental Health Issues

Mickey James III has had his fate set in stone since the day he was born. He was born to play hockey, like his grandfather and father (Mickey James I and II respectively) before him. With his heritage stemming from two hockey legends, the hockey world has high expectations for Mickey. Following in their footsteps, Mickey starts his first year of college out on the Royals Hockey Team, planning to spend a year playing before being drafted into the NHL. Mickey is gunning for the number one draft slot, but in order to secure his destiny, he will have to best his rival, Jaysen Caulfield. Jaysen is the NHL’s other top prospect and will be Mickey’s teammate on the Royals for the next season. They’re meant to be a team, but Mickey and Jaysen are too busy competing to work together for wins. If Mickey and Jaysen can learn to work together, their team could be unstoppable, but first, they will need to figure out how to tolerate each other.

You can get your copy of Icebreaker now from Henry Holt and Co!

I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump for the last couple of weeks, but Icebreaker was exactly what I needed to get me back into a reading flow! The enemies-to-lovers arc was perfectly paced, keeping me engaged without feeling rushed. As someone with literally no exposure to hockey, I was a little worried that I would get lost in the sports terminology, but A.L. Graziadei did a fantastic job of explaining hockey without info-dumping. What I found to be most powerful in this novel was the depression representation in the protagonist, which was incorporated and discussed so skillfully into the narrative.

Tom Picasso performed the story so perfectly, it made my experience reading this book even better! I found his voice so easy to listen to, and so well connected to how I imagine Micky sounding. I especially enjoyed the different voices Picasso did for each of the characters!

Icebreaker had the perfect blend of romance, humor, and hockey, making it one of my favorite reads of 2022 so far! You won’t want to miss out on this heartfelt, incredibly real romance novel!

My Recommendation-
Whether or not you are a hockey fan, this sweet, queer enemies-to-lovers romance NEEDS to be on your TBR! This book would be perfect for fans of the graphic novel series Check, Please and Fence!
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** Firsts things first I would like to thank  NetGalley for the Audiobook in Exchange for my Honest opinion.**

This is the first time I’ve read a book about rivals to lover so I am pretty new to the idea but I felt like it was well executed. From what I’ve seen usually there is a superficial issue between the two characters that’s resolved out of nowhere but in icebreaker it was a very understandable issues as they were actual rivals for a first pick in the NHL draft. There wasn’t auto chemistry between the characters which allowed us to see their growth do to each other. 

I loved the background we got on their families which helped understand the way the characters acted or repressed their emotions. 

Over all it is a very calming and good read for a rainy day and or your wanting something fresh.
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When I first picked this book up I expected a light fun read about an enemies to lovers relationship between two hockey players.
What I did not expect was to relate so much to this character to the point it hurt.

In case anyone didn't notice I am in fact not a 17 y.o male hockey player, hell I'm not an athlete by any stretch of the imagination, and so when I started reading this I thought I'd be very far removed from these characters but boy was I wrong.

Our main character Mickey, suffers from depression and we see him go through ups and downs through the book, not only that but we go on this journey with him as he slowly learns to accept that his mental illness doesn't define him and that he is allowed to be depressed even without a major traumatic event that led to it.
That's something that really resonated with me, because whenever I go through bad periods with my mental health I often find myself saying that I have no right to be this way because I don't have a major traumatic event that caused this, my family is good I have loving friends...etc and looking back at it now that mindset always makes me a lot worse and I end up spiralling. But I never would've been able to pinpoint and understand this if it wasn't for this book. 
Every time Mickey told himself that he wasn't allowed to be like this because he didn't have a valid reason I could relate but I also could see and understand why no one should think like that because for once I was looking at the situation without being in the heart of it myself.

I loved this aspect about this book, I loved how it dealt with it and how at the end things weren't just magically cured. 
I loved Mickey's sisters and their dynamic, how they loved and supported each other but also challenged one another was beautifully done.

The relationship was also adorable but in my opinion it wasn't the star of this book, the mental health aspect deserves that spot.

Overall, this is a book that I think I'll be coming back to and referencing a lot going forward, I'm so glad I picked it up and I will definitely be reading more from this author.
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Getting an audiobook galley for this book or any book really is clutch. I have been having a tricky time getting my brain to cooperate with ebooks but getting to listen to the book was so much easier for my neurodivergent brain. Thank you Recorded books. So I'm not a hockey fan or a sports fan at all, full disclosure so all of the drama about the draft and some of the jargon had me so confused. I spent a lot of the beginning trying to focus on the characters but some of the finer points of the plot were dense to me because i had to keep googling acronymns and draft mechanics so i could understand what the big flare up of the drama of the plot was about. Yes, I am the weirdo who requested this book be cause I'm feeling the Winter Olympics big time and I always love a good queer ya story. I'm not always that big on rivqals to lovers so it took me awhile to get the feel for the book and enjoy it. I did eventually enjoy it, it just took me a bit. The narrarator did a good job, I just felt limited by the NG Shelf app playback options because I just couldn't get the playback speed to the sweet spot I needed to vibe with it properly. It always felt too fast or slow and made it difficult for me. Tom Picasso had a good youthful voice for it but my personal taste just had trouble sometimes with his pace.
If you are not a picky audiophile, you will probably be more than fine. Heck if you aren't listening on the NG Shelf app and have more control, you'll probably be all good. I'm just an outlier and probably shouldn't be counted.
If you love hockey and or/understand things like drafts in any sport or even have any base knowledge about the sport, you will probably be fine. 
Great for fans of the Gravity Between Us and probably sports fiction in general. This was new for me though so it was harder to gauge. I will say I'm not even for a second going to pretend that my lack of sports knowledge was the author's fault. that is all me, probably everyone else who reads this will be fine. Despite my various roadblocks, I still managed to enjoy myself so props for that! That says something about the story and the author!
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ICEBREAKERS is a college hockey YA novel with a bisexual MC, an inclusive queer cast, an enemies-to-lovers m/m romance, and standout depression representation. 

I didn’t know how I felt about this book for the first ~20%, but then ultimately ended up enjoying it! I loved the complex family dynamics and our main character Mickey’s relationship with his five older sisters. I also really enjoyed the college setting and general dynamics of the hockey team. I’m so happy to see that more college YA is being published!

I wasn’t sold on the romance at first because the “enemies” part of the relationship felt pretty petty. I would have liked to see more of a slowburn tension. BUT did root for Mickey and Jaysen as a couple by the end. The conclusion of the book was a little rushed as well, but the epilogue was done well.

The best part of this book was the depression representation. Trigger warnings for depression, anxiety, and pretty excessive underage drinking. But Mickey’s experiences with starting anti-depressants and learning to be honest about mental illness made this book really special.
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