The Slope Rules by Melanie Hooyenga

The Slope Rules Cover

The Slope Rules (The Rules Series #1) by Melanie Hooyenga

Reading Level: Young Adult
Release Date: February 24, 2017
Publisher: Left-Handed Mitten Publications
Pages: 284 pages
Source: Purchase
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry

Enjoyable, G-rated, YA sports romance

Calliope (Cally) is a 15-year-old, high-school sophomore. Her mother died tragically in a car accident when she was 8 years old and, since then, she’s been phobic about riding on the left side of a car due to PTSD flashbacks of her mother’s death. Cally’s beloved mother was an outstanding skier, and she taught Cally how to ski, starting at age 3. As a result, skiing is not only important to Cally for its own sake, but because she feels emotionally connected to her dead mother when she is skiing.

Cally is very close to her responsible, affectionate and nurturing father, which is a welcome departure from the YA cliche of bad parents who are either clueless, neglectful, addicted, criminal, or just plain mean. When Cally and her father are on a skiing vacation in Boulder, Colorado at the beginning of the book, Cally has a classic, romantic-comedy, “Meet Cute” on the slopes with a wonderful boy named Blake, who is her same age. Where Cally is an extremely talented skier, known for her amazingly high, aerial jumps, Blake is almost equally skilled as an aerial snowboarder. Blake is also handsome, attentive and very sweet natured, and the two of them become very close in a matter of days. But, sadly, since Cally lives in Burlington, Vermont, and Blake says he is from Lake Tahoe, California, she assumes she will never see him again, and is very depressed about it. Then, totally surprising Cally, her father informs her that they are moving. He is co-owner of a very successful, independent, craft-beer brewery in Vermont, and he and his business partner have decided to expand their company by opening another brewery in Boulder. Cally has been staying in touch with Blake via text, but when she texts Blake about the move, he inexplicably stops texting her back.

Shortly after they settle in at their new home in Eldora, a small, bedroom community outside Boulder, Cally is shocked to discover that Blake attends the local high school. Unfortunately, the sweetheart of a guy whom she met on the slopes a short time ago is not the same person at school. He acts as if he doesn’t even know her.

The setting of this story is so well drawn, and so crucial to the plot, it made me want to book a trip to Colorado. Cally and Blake are each intriguing and sympathetic characters. Their superior skill at their snow sports is vividly displayed in many exciting scenes, and the uniqueness of a school having a ski team is a fascinating part of the story as well. The story also has “girl power” elements that are fun to read. There is a classic “mean girl” antagonist named Brianna, however, her previous history with Blake, which is revealed toward the end of the book, makes her much more than a one-dimensional, teen-romance stock character.

All in all, this is one of the better YA romances I’ve read, and definitely an excellent sports romance.

Parental advisory: I personally would give this book a G-rating. It has no sex, only kissing, and there is no underage drinking or wild parties. One teenage subcharacter casually mentions smoking pot, but this is a realistic situation given that recreational pot is legal in Colorado. Notably, neither Cally nor Blake smokes pot.

I rate this book as follows:

Heroine: 4

Romantic Hero: 4

Subcharacters: 4

Romance Plot: 4

Sports Plot: 4

Setting: 5

Writing: 4

Overall: 4

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