young adult book reviews & more

Waiting to Score by J.E. MacLeod

Waiting to ScoreNew kid Zachary Chase is not like other hockey players, or so he’s been told. All his teammates in Haletown seem to be jerks, but Zack prefers to be a gentleman. And while his fellow players’ main hobbies besides the sport are basically partying, drinking, and hooking up, Zach is intelligent and would rather read. It’s no wonder the biggest bully Mac, captain of the hockey team, has something against Zack. Most of Zack’s classmates don’t know what to make of him either, the new hockey player who defies stereotypes. But Zack doesn’t really care what other people think and instead focuses on defining his own life and getting Jane, the girl who’s caught his eye. Whether he likes it or not, Zack can’t be on the outside forever, and soon he’ll find himself entangled in a web of drama and past secrets that may be more than he can fix.

For a debut novel, Waiting to Score is very ambitious. It touches but does not dwell on a multitude of topics not limited to but including stereotypes, bullies, drinking, and parental pressure. While it’s true that teens have to deal daily with all these issues and more, attempting to address all of them does not allow sufficient page space to be dedicated to discussing each individual topic and just overwhelms the story. In addition, protagonist Zack is unrealistic in that he seems to have no or very tiny flaws; yes, he has to deal with his deceased father’s mixed legacy and Mac’s taunting, but he’s also attractive, smart, and protective of the females close to him. Besides that, Waiting to Score was an interesting and moderately well written story. Despite Zack’s near perfection, this novel is realistic form a psychological standpoint. Zack struggles to find out what he wants from life while others attempt to influence his future and decisions. Ex-friends Jane and Mona deal with self-blame and regret over a scarring event from the past. Even if there’s a lot that could’ve been added or altered to improve this novel, Waiting to Score is a quick and enjoyable read.

Though not entirely sports-centered, fans of athletics-dominated books such as The Legend of Mickey Tussler by Frank Nappi and Screwball by Keri Mikulski will like Waiting to Score. Readers who liked King of the Screwups by K.L. Going and Sprout by Dale Peck will also enjoy this novel.

Rating: 3.5

Review copy from author J.E. MacLeod

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