You know how I don’t read blurbs for books by authors I already know I love? That’s what I did again for this one, and I’m glad I did. Not knowing anything about what would happen to Sophie makes the emotions fly even higher.
It’s the summer after Sophie captained Team Canada to win the first-ever International Hockey Tournament. Sophie never got to heal completely from the injury she sustained during a game against Team USA, an injury bestowed with the blessing of the US coach, who in the regular season was Sophie’s coach in Concord. He’s also partly responsible for Sophie’s relationship with Elsa going to pieces. To prepare for the new season, Sophie joins Lexie in Wisconsin. The author describes the American as the “perfect foil to Sophie’s bland Canadian personality”, who has “made it her mission to not be Sophie”, and the two of them together is an interesting mix.
Grounded starts with Sophie and Lexie but the major part of the story is Sophie and Elsa trying to find their footing again after the Butler debacle, while the team is trying to do the same too, with a new coach. I don’t want to spoil so I’ll just say Sophie is once again faced with challenges, both on and off the ice. It may sound repetitive but it’s not. The main reason for that is that Sophie isn’t a teenager prodigy anymore. Throughout the series, we get to see her grow and become an adult. Hockey is the love of her life even as she’s slowly realizing it cannot be her whole life. Everything important to her is connected to hockey, but some of it goes beyond hockey.
I’m once again impressed at how Collins makes it all so captivating. As I wrote in my reviews for each book, I’m not a hockey fan and I nevertheless find her description of games entrancing and thrilling. The details of the players’ lives, the day to day of Sophie’s shouldn’t be so fascinating. And yet they are. I want to know what happens next, I don’t want to have to wait months for the next instalment, and I already dread the day I will turn the last page of the last book. If I remember well, the author was planning eight books and this is already book 6. I am so not ready to say goodbye…