Yeah, so this one wasn’t what I was expecting at all, but in a good way. For some reason, I had it in my head that this was going to be one of those love at first sight, all-consuming romance, can’t live without you type of stories that seem to be so popular in the Young Adult genre these days. Boy was I so, so wrong on that one. And trust me, I couldn’t have been happier to have been so wrong.
Personally, even though I was hesitant to read what I thought was going to be another teen romance book, I decided to give it a shot due to the actual diversity being displayed. And that diversity ended up being more of the focus of the story than the actual romance itself. I have to be honest. While I was happy that this wasn’t the typical love story normally found in YA novels, I didn’t really find the romance angle all that believable and at times, it came off as a bit wooden.
Both main characters, Fred and Ryan, have less than stellar home lives. As a result, they both look for other outlets to focus their attentions on, and for both of them it happens to be playing golf. It really is the playing golf angle, and Fred’s subsequent appointment as a member of the golf team that really leads to the open displays of racism, bullying, and developing romance that becomes the cornerstone of the story. For me, this was huge. While there are a lot of YA books that address bullying, not many of them address racism, and if they do, it’s the all white main cast dealing with that one foreign outsider. Hooked on the other hand, explores racism as experienced and perpetrated by with the main characters and as a central part of the plot.
Overall, Hooked by Liz Fichera was an interesting read exploring topics that most YA novels never address or gloss right over. Quite honestly, you’ll start to read Hooked for the romance and stay for the feel-good story of overcoming obstacles and adversity.