“Any Way You Slice It” is the epitome of cute young adult fiction. This being said, its cuteness is both its biggest attribute and its greatest flaw. The lightness and fluffiness of “Any Way You Slice It” first drew me to the novel; it also annoyed me halfway through the book when I wanted content with a little more substance.
Penelope Spaulding is drained by long hours at her family’s restaurant, school and her parents’ plans for her life. Her only solace comes when she’s on the ice. Racing around the rink allows her to escape the fate she’s trapped in. So when Jake Gomes, a bad boy she used to know, dares her to join the local misfit hockey team, she surprises herself and joins. Soon Pen finds herself caught in the world of hockey; she sneaks out to practice the sport and lies to keep her parents from finding out. But soon her lies begin to take a toll; she skips her shifts at the restaurant when a foodie reality show is on the horizon, and her relationship with her parents begins to crumble. Can Penelope find the strength to chase the future she wants?
The novel’s cuteness comes at the expense of its substance. While I enjoyed the elements of “Any Way You Slice It,” from Penelope’s romance with Jake to her relationship with her parents, I also felt like the author could have done much more to make the plot significant. The author, in keeping the novel consistently light, fluffy and happy, missed out on many opportunities to make the story darker and more compelling. Although I appreciate “Any Way You Slice It” as it is, I can’t help wondering what it would be like if the book had a memorable plot that delved deeper into the topics of family, romance and fate.
Penelope is a normal 15-year-old protagonist. By that, I mean she’s pretty forgettable; the main function for her character is to allow the reader to reminisce about Disney Channel and high school. This being said, I still enjoyed seeing the world from Penelope’s perspective and seeing her become a mature, skilled hockey player.
While “Any Way You Slice It” won’t make you ponder your existence, it certainly will make you enjoy hockey and cooking. And isn’t that the point of reading?
Rating: 6 out of 10
Publisher: Bloomsbury Spark
Length: 170 pages (ebook)
ISBN #: 9781619637832