Hooked by Liz Fichera

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Hooked by Liz Fichera

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: January 29, 2013
Pages: 363
Source: purchased
Buy It: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
When Native American Fredricka ‘Fred’ Oday is invited to become the only girl on the school’s golf team, she can’t say no. This is an opportunity to shine, win a scholarship and go to university, something no one in her family has done.

But Fred’s presence on the team isn’t exactly welcome — especially not to rich golden boy Ryan Berenger, whose best friend was kicked off the team to make a spot for Fred.

But there’s no denying that things are happening between the girl with the killer swing and the boy with the killer smile...


“Hooked” by Liz Fichera is a tale about a Native American girl (Fred) raised on the reservation and currently attending the local public high school and hanging out at the golf course where her father works.  Fred teaches herself the game of golf by watching the various golf course club members and gets noticed by the high school gym teacher/golf team coach.  Coach Lannon is impressed by Fred’s ability and coaxes her into joining the team if only for the opportunity to try and earn a college scholarship (something Fred desperately wants to improve her way of life).  Unbeknownst to her, the coach cuts a current member (Seth) to fit her in and then teams her up with the cut player's best bud (Ryan), both boys being privileged, white rich boys with an upbringing about as total opposite from a Native American girl's upbringing can be. Seth is understandably upset at this turn of events, turns everything into racial contention and sets out to bring Fred down. Ryan gets to know Fred little by little and becomes attracted to her self-discipline, quiet nature and inner and outer beauty. Let the battles begin.
The inside of the back cover on the book jacket states that “Liz (Fichera) likes to write stories about ordinary teens who do extraordinary things.”  Hooked is exactly that.  The novel goes into enough depth that the reader feels the poverty levels that burden the Native American families on the reservation yet without sinking into a morose plaintive tone.  The local reservation doesn’t have enough funding to support more than elementary schooling so the Native teenagers have to attend the local high school where they are often persecuted for their race.  Everyone on the reservation appears to live in trailers and the reservation is fenced in like the Holocaust concentration camps.  Due to local prejudices, the Native American population gets all of the lowest paying jobs in the area so that modern technology is unaffordable for them.
Equally the reader readily recognizes the abundant privileges of the non-Native American persuasion.  It seems rather extreme that the characters were spread so far on either side of the spectrum, either poor Native American or rich and privileged.  The privileges are defined by excessive ownership of all types of electronics, country club status, over the top parties with drugs and alcohol, rich homes and fast cars, not to mention an endless supply of cash to spend.
The characters were overall developed well, but I take exception to Seth’s character (the privileged boy cut from the golf team to make room for Fred) or shall I say Ryan’s acceptance of Seth’s character.  I get that Seth is angry and upset with Fred because she took his spot on the team and it caused problems at home with his step-dad (which I felt was kind of underplayed), but I don’t accept that Ryan’s only retribution (while crushing on Fred) is to run Seth off the road and leave him stranded in a ditch while he is still on the reservation (Fred’s territory) right after witnessing Seth’s attempts to run Fred down for the kill.  A little bit too unbelievable.
But in the end can Fred hold her own on the boys team or excel enough to get a scholarship for her only chance at college? Can Ryan overcome the pressure from his best friend and girlfriend to disrespect and sabotage the newest team member's game and social life? Can Fred and Ryan really believe they have a chance at anything more than a golf team connection? Read "Hooked" by Liz Fichera and find out.
Cover: 3
Writing Style: 4
Characters: 3
Plot: 4
Ending: 4

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