Things don’t come easily to Fred Oday. One of only seven kids from the Gila River Indian Reservation who attend Lone Butte High, she has to work hard for everything she has. The only thing that comes easily to Fred is golf. Her father is a groundskeeper at the Ahwatukee Golf Club, so she spends a lot of time hitting buckets of balls and hoping to be able to play a few holes for free. Her dad even made a putting green for her at home behind their trailer out of some old carpet samples. She is floored the day the golf coach asks her to join the team at school. The catch? She’ll have to play with the boys since there is no girls team.
Ryan Berenger is pretty typical of the rich kids who attend Lone Butte High. He’s popular, has a girlfriend from the pom squad and likes to party with his best friend, Seth. He also is full of anger aimed at his parents, for reasons ranging from their failing marriage to their frustration with his attitude toward school and his future. Now he has to deal with his outrage when Seth gets kicked off of the golf team and his replacement is a girl. A girl who didn’t even have to try out.
Fred won’t let the golf boys intimidate her or run her off of the team. She will not let them see her cry. This is her chance to maybe get a scholarship to college so she won’t end up like her mom, an angry alcoholic. Even though they play tricks on her and won’t speak to her, she shoulders her golf bag like her resolve and holds her head high. When the team starts winning, and it’s because of Fred, will opinions change? And when she is paired with Ryan, he sees a side of her that starts to tear down the wall he has put between them. But when Seth won’t let his hatred of Fred go, whose side will Ryan be on? And will this experience divide or unite two cultures who are already wary of each other?
Hooked pulled me in from the beginning pages. Though the conflict of poor vs. rich has been used many times, the use of it here gives a fresh spin because of the main character being a Native American and living on a reservation. There is mistrust on both sides, which, since it is a reality, brings a level of authenticity to the story. I also loved the golf angle. I do not play golf myself, but, again, it was something new to write about. Just about everyone knows about golf, so it is not unfamiliar, but at least it isn’t another story where the main boy plays football or baseball.
The romance and the conflicts were influenced by and had more depth because of the cultural differences and suspicions between the Indians and the white families. Fred’s family, especially her father, are well-developed and real. Seth’s character is pretty two-dimensional, but that is understandable for reasons that you will read. The other secondary characters are one-note, but that’s OK. This version of the girl from the wrong side of the tracks scores a birdie.
4 of 5 Stars (Based on Ink and Page’s Rating System)
Genres: Young Adult Fiction Contemporary Romance Sports
Ages: 14 and up
You Might Want to Know: There is underage teen drinking and minor drug and sexual references.
Hooked by Liz Fichera will be published January 29, 2013 by Harlequin Teen. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin Teen for the ARC.