At the end of Breaking the Ice, many reviewers, myself included, wondered whether we’d get some romance in the next book. It made sense that there wasn’t any in the first one: Sophie was eighteen, the first woman drafted into the NAHL, very focused on her first season and not giving anyone reason to get rid of her, which would have been a disaster not only for her but for any other female player hoping to join the league.
I guess we weren’t the only ones wondering, since right from the beginning of Sophomore Surge, Sophie has to answer questions from journalists asking if she plans on dating at all. The answer is clear: no. Moving on.
Now that that’s out of the way, the story can go back to focusing on what’s really important (at least for Sophie): hockey. I’m not going to lie, this sequel is a lot like the previous book, there’s not a lot of new stuff happening. While that might sound boring, I enjoyed it just as much. Despite not being interested in hockey at all. The games, the tension, the strategy, it all kept me on the edge of my seat pretty much the whole time.
The real changes happen inside Sophie. She can repeat that she’s not a kid all she wants, she was one in book 1 and at the start of book 2. Probably more mature, more driven and more aware than other young people her age, but still. She grows a lot over the course of her second season as a Concord Condor, working toward her goal of taking her team to the playoffs for the first time in history. She becomes more herself, in a way. She takes responsibility, she shares her experience, she’s on her way to becoming a leader, with all the added pressure the role entails. There are truly sweet scenes, heartwarming friendships and incredibly tough times. Sophie is holding her own with all the men in her life who think they know better than her, be it her father, her coach, her teammates (who fall into the trap of patronisingly trying to protect her, best intentions and all) or opponents who won’t stop at much to break her.
In Breaking the Ice, Sophie had to stay focused so as to prove she deserved to be in the NAHL. In Sophomore Surge, while still focused and as “hockeysexual” as ever, she allows herself to feel more, express more and show more. Her intensity becomes inspirational, and it’s pretty beautiful to watch.
In other good news, there’s a third book coming up.