Monday, May 11, 2015

Review: Pucked by Rachel Walter

Does life get in the way of love or does love get in the way of life? 

Riley Silk, captain of the Warriors Ice Hockey team at Dalesburg High, doesn’t think life can be lived if love is present. If there’s two things in life he knows to be true, it’s that love causes pain and hockey is his ticket to a better life. He’s worked hard to maintain his Frozen Silk reputation in order to stay focused on his duties and goals. 

Audrey Jacobs, the Warriors’ number one fan, believes life can’t be lived without love. She can find love and beauty in the muddiest of situations. Her best friend, Riley, is under a lot of stress at home, so she does her best to brighten his mood whenever she can. 

When lines cross and blur, they struggle to keep control of the simplicity their friendship once held. With Audrey’s outlook on life usually surrounded by light, the growing darkness of her doubts and insecurities threaten to deflect her toward the wrong path. 

Can she find her true self before her world burns around her? When truths become lies, can Riley find the strength to fight his way through his own personal darkness that clings to his mind and soul? Can he win this face-off that life has dropped in his zone, or will fate take him out of the game completely? 

Who keeps the puck? 

**Warning- Several abuse topics are discussed in this story, which includes parental alienation, physical abuse, alcohol abuse, and mild drug abuse.**

Pucked by Rachel Walter is set in a small town, Dalesburg, Pennsylvania. The story follows teenagers Audrey and Riley as their relationship from just friends to boyfriend/girlfriend status. As if that transition isn’t weird enough for most high scholars, Riley’s home life that he has tried to keep secret takes things to a whole new level. His friends know that his parents are divorce but it’s Audrey who has a had a glimpse of how made things are for him and his little sister Hannah. For years he has taken care of running the house, paying the bills, and being the parent of his kid sister and his drunken mom. All this while trying to be a “normal” teen going to school and playing hockey. It’s not until his dad returns and starts to fight for his kids that Riley starts to let the ice on his heart melt. It will take this and his mud-loving girlfriend, Audrey, To help heal his heart and prove to him that love shouldn’t tear you down but build you up. The two learn that sometimes you have to be the kid and ask adults for help.
I’m not truly sure how to express how much I enjoyed this book, so bear with me. This is not a mushy, chick book. This story is about real life, life can suck; feeling lost and thank God for a best friend and finding someone to love you with all your baggage. It made me run the full spectrum of emotions: hope, sadness, anger, love and many others. I understood and felt for Riley with all he had to go through being “the peacekeeper” in his house. You love your mom, but deep down you know that something’s are just not right.  I have been the girl like Audrey who wants to help a friend, even if it is out of my understanding. As a parent I get why her parents get angry that their daughter didn’t come to them for help with situations that could have gotten out of hand. The mommy in me wanted to rescue Riley and Hannah and if truth be told, smack their mom back to reality. Rachel Walter did an amazing job of bring light to a very dark subject for many people out there who have dealt with parental alienation. Her story gave hope that not all is always lost and love can be found. As I read the story there are several references to “Frozen silk” which refers to his icy glare while playing hockey. At first I thought “well there’s the real title”, but then I realized that that would have set the reader up for a warm and fuzzy romance. Pucked I though was a great play on words because I am sure there were many times Riley though his life was well…Pucked.

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