REVIEW: Icebreaker by Hannah Grace

TITLE: Icebreaker
AUTHOR: Hannah Grace
PAGES: 448

Anastasia Allen has worked her entire life for a shot at Team USA. It looks like everything is going according to plan when she gets a full scholarship to the University of California, Maple Hills and lands a place on their competitive figure skating team. Nothing will stand in her way, not even the captain of the hockey team, Nate Hawkins. Nate’s focus as team captain is on keeping his team on the ice. Which is tricky when a facilities mishap means they are forced to share a rink with the figure skating team―including Anastasia, who clearly can’t stand him. But when Anastasia’s skating partner faces an uncertain future, she may have to look to Nate to take her shot. Sparks fly, but Anastasia isn’t worried… because she could never like a hockey player, right?


When I bought this book I expected it to be a nice read, but I didn’t realize how much it would grow on me. Let’s be clear: it’s not perfect and it has some elements that I didn’t appreciate, but on the whole it is a great sport romance novel.

Let’s start with the two protagonists, that is to say the ice skater Anastasia Allen and the captain of the hockey team Nate Hawkins.
She is – as Nate would say – a force of nature: Anastasia is a dreamer, but one who keeps her feet on the ground. She knows that to become a great ice skater she has to work really hard; she is extremely well-organized, super focused on her goals and she always gives her best. She’s passionate, strong, but also a bit stubborn and bossy. She practises an individual sport (it doesn’t really matter that she has a skating partner), so she is used to relying only on herself.
Nate shares the same kind of passion, but has a different approach to life. He’s – as Anastasia describes him – a fixer and a protector. He feels that he’s responsible for his whole team and therefore he acts like a big brother to them; he’s always willing to help and he would never leave anyone he loves behind.
I really liked how the author highlighted the differences and the similaties between Nate and Stassie throughout the book, and how important it was for Nate himself to understand them.

I also appreciated the message that open and honest communication is essential for a healthy relationship. Anastasia has been going to therapy for some years so she has developed the ability to listen to herself, her feelings and thoughts and to express them clearly. Her honesty is one of her main qualities and she tries to teach Nathan to communicate in the same sincere way.  I compliment the author on representing them as sensible adults and showing that at 21 years old you can be mature and with a good head on your shoulders.

The love story between Nate and Stassie is sweet, but also full of deep feelings and demanding moments, since the book covers topics such as eating disorders and manipulative behaviour.
The most negative character is indeed her skating partner, Aaron, which I have no other words to describe if not a “shithead” (I’m quoting the hockey team): he hasn’t had a happy family life, but that’s no excuse for his horrible behaviour towards Anastasia. I’ll avoid any spoiler, so I’ll just tell you that I understood why Anasastia wanted to solve their problems to keep working together… but sometimes a clear cut is the only solution.

I warn you: Icebreaker contains a lot of spicy sex scenes and some very vulgar expressions. Let’s say that the characters are no poets… they talk dirty as real college boys or girls would probably do. Even if it’s realistic, sometimes I felt like it was too much. Nonetheless the sex scenes – which are very explicit – are pretty good, I must admit that.

What I found a bit strange is the relationship that Anastia builds with the hockey team. I liked that the boys treated her as if she was part of their big “family” and that they cared for her, but sometimes the way they talked to her crossed the line, from my point of view at least. They became too attached too quickly, pushing the boundaries of friendship and becoming too mushy and intimate.

In conclusion, how would I describe Icebreaker in just one word? Highly recommended. Ok, two words.


amore, english review, romance

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