Saturday, 12 June 2010

Skate School: Ice Princess by Kay Woodward (Children's, 9 years +, 10/10E)

October 2009, Usborne
240 pages, Paperback
Review copy

Summary from Usborne

Frankie lives for ice-skating, and has her heart set on becoming a star. So it’s a dream come true when she’s talent-spotted at her local ice rink and whisked away to train for the Olympics. But Frankie learns that Skate School isn’t just world-class, it’s also ultra-tough, and her competitive classmates are so cool they’re practically sub-zero. Frankie will have to fight to make friends and keep her rivals at bay. Does she have what it takes to be a winner?

Sometimes I get in contact with an author after I read their book (for interviews/guest blog post). Thanks to Twitter, it was the other way round for me. She sweetly sent me a copy of Ice Princess. I'm hooked! I've yet to find a school series that I don't like. Skate school is jostling for a space with my other favourite stories.

The process that took Frankie from being no one to being Madame's newest pupil was very fast. I like how Frankie's emotions are displayed: her fears about homesickness and not being good enough are something that I feel most readers can relate to. Most of us aren't ice skaters (I don't think), but the hobbies/pursuits we are passionate about are usually competitive at some level or another.

Many times a person can think 'Why I am doing this?' in the face of people who are better than us, or further along in the process. Frankie learns that yes, it's tough being a newbie, but it doesn't mean that she should ever give up. Practice of anything usually leads to improvement. Not just practice one or two times, but so many times that you give up counting. Every now and then Frankie remembers why she's working herself so hard - because of the pleasure that ice skating brings her. Again readers can relate to this - when you let yourself go in your hobby/pursuit, it makes you insanely happy.

Skate school isn't a place where everyone loves each other. Friends are held at arms-length, since they are rivals. This doesn't help Frankie in the beginning when all she wants is a friend. Miles away from home, with a few countries in between herself and her family, she needs support. She does eventually get it, but it takes a while. It was fun seeing Frankie's progression from the start at the story, to the end: she definitely makes an impact on everyone attending, one that'll last for quite a while.

There are lots of highs and lows in Ice Princess, all that kept me turning over the pages with enthusiasm. The second one, On Thin Ice is available now.

Be sure to check out the other books Kay has written on her website.

Like school stories? Try School Friends: Dreams at Silver Spires by Ann Bryant

1 comment:

Luisa at Chicklish said...

I enjoyed this book so much! Thanks for the review.