As the temperature continues to dip and winter draws closer, I was recently reminded of how much I used to enjoy figure skating when I was younger. From school trips to outings with friends, I loved the bite of the cold on my cheeks and feeling weightless as I flew across the ice, if also slightly terrified at the speeds I was unintentionally able to achieve. With that in mind, I thought it might be fun to help both middle grade and young adult readers who also love to skate find themselves in the pages of a book. From figure skating to hockey, the books on today’s list feature ice skating in some capacity, and I can think of few stories better to curl up with this season!
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For fans of Emma Lord and Abbi Glines, Jennifer Iacopelli’s swoony, romantic new novel follows elite ice dancer Adriana Russo as she finds herself drawn to both her old dance partner and her new one.
Adriana Russo is figure skating royalty.
With gold-medalist parents, and her older sister headed to the Olympics, all she wants is to live up to the family name and stand atop the ice dance podium at the Junior World Championships. But fame doesn’t always mean fortune, and their legendary skating rink is struggling under the weight of her dad’s lavish lifestyle. The only thing keeping it afloat is a deal to host the rest of the Junior Worlds team before they leave for France.
That means training on the same ice as her first crush, Freddie, the partner she left when her growth spurt outpaced his. For the past two years, he’s barely acknowledged her existence, and she can’t even blame him for it.
When the family’s finances take another unexpected hit, losing the rink seems inevitable until her partner, Brayden, suggests they let the world believe what many have suspected: that their intense chemistry isn’t contained to the ice. Fans and sponsors alike take the bait, but keeping up the charade is harder than she ever imagined. And training alongside Freddie makes it worse, especially when pretending with Brayden starts to feel very real.
As the biggest competition of her life draws closer and her family’s legacy hangs in the balance, Adriana is caught between her past and present, between the golden future she’s worked so hard for, and the one she gave up long ago.
A. L. Graziadei’s Icebreaker is an irresistible YA debut about two hockey players fighting to be the best ― and the romance that catches them by surprise along the way.
Seventeen-year-old Mickey James III is a college freshman, a brother to five sisters, and a hockey legacy. With a father and a grandfather who have gone down in NHL history, Mickey is almost guaranteed the league’s top draft spot.
The only person standing in his way is Jaysen Caulfield, a contender for the #1 spot and Mickey’s infuriating (and infuriatingly attractive) teammate. When rivalry turns to something more, Mickey will have to decide what he really wants, and what he’s willing to risk for it.
This is a story about falling in love, finding your team (on and off the ice), and choosing your own path.
An insightful memoir from a figure skating champion about her life as a bisexual professional athlete, perfect for readers of Fierce by Aly Raisman and Forward by Abby Wambach.
Karina Manta has had a busy few years: Not only did she capture the hearts of many with her fan-favorite performance at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, she also became the first female figure skater on Team USA to come out as queer. Her Modern Love essay “I Can’t Hate My Body If I Love Hers” was published in the New York Times, and then she joined the circus – Cirque du Soleil’s on-ice show, AXEL.
Karina’s memoir covers these experiences and much more. Attending a high school with 4,000 students, you’d expect to know more than two openly gay students, but Karina didn’t meet an out-lesbian until she was nearly seventeen – let alone any other kind of queer woman. But this isn’t just a story about her queerness. It’s also a story about her struggle with body image in a sport that prizes delicate femininity. It’s a story about panic attacks, and first crushes, and all the crushes that followed, and it’s a story about growing up, feeling different than everybody around her and then realizing that everyone else felt different too.
Every Reason We Shouldn’t by Sara Fujimura is a charming multicultural romance perfect for the many fans of Jenny Han and Rainbow Rowell.
Warning: Contains family expectations, delightful banter, great romantic tension, skating (all kinds!), Korean pastries, and all the feels.
Sixteen-year-old figure skater Olivia Kennedy’s Olympic dreams have ended. She’s bitter, but enjoying life as a regular teenager instead of trying to live up to expectations of being the daughter of Olympians Michael Kennedy and Midori Nakashima…until Jonah Choi starts training at her family’s struggling rink.
Jonah’s driven, talented, going for the Olympics in speed skating, completely annoying… and totally gorgeous. Between teasing Jonah, helping her best friend try out for roller derby, figuring out life as a normal teen and keeping the family business running, Olivia’s got her hands full. But will rivalry bring her closer to Jonah, or drive them apart?
When a determined girl is confronted with the culture of toxic masculinity, it’s time to even the score.
Michigan Manning lives for hockey, and this is her year to shine. That is, until she gets some crushing news: budget cuts will keep the girls’ hockey team off the ice this year. If she wants colleges to notice her, Michigan has to find a way to play.
Luckily, there’s still one team left in town… The boys’ team isn’t exactly welcoming, but Michigan’s prepared to prove herself. She plays some of the best hockey of her life, in fact, all while putting up with changing in the broom closet, constant trash talk and “harmless” pranks that always seem to target her.
But once hazing crosses the line into assault, Michigan must weigh the consequences of speaking up – even if it means putting her future on the line.
From the author of The Last Thing You Said, a YA romance about a girl on a boys hockey team who happens to fall for the team captain.
Holland Delviss wants to be known for her talent as a hockey player, not a hockey player who happens to be a girl. But when her school team is selected to be one of the schools featured and televised as part of HockeyFest, her status as the only girl on the boys’ team makes her the lead story. Not everyone is thrilled with Holland’s new fame, but there’s one person who fiercely supports her, and it’s the last person she expects: her bossy (and very cute) team captain, Wes.
Tillie Walden’s Eisner Award winning graphic memoir Spinning captures what it’s like to come of age, come out, and come to terms with leaving behind everything you used to know.
It was the same every morning. Wake up, grab the ice skates, and head to the rink while the world was still dark.
Weekends were spent in glitter and tights at competitions. Perform. Smile. And do it again.
She was good. She won. And she hated it.
For ten years, figure skating was Tillie Walden’s life. She woke before dawn for morning lessons, went straight to group practice after school, and spent weekends competing at ice rinks across the state. Skating was a central piece of her identity, her safe haven from the stress of school, bullies, and family. But as she switched schools, got into art, and fell in love with her first girlfriend, she began to question how the close-minded world of figure skating fit in with the rest of her life, and whether all the work was worth it given the reality: that she, and her friends on the team, were nowhere close to Olympic hopefuls. The more Tillie thought about it, the more Tillie realized she’d outgrown her passion ― and she finally needed to find her own voice.
Everyone loves hockey superstar Pierce Miller. Everyone except Lia Bailey.
When the two are forced to teach a skating class to save the rink, Lia’s not sure she’ll survive the pressure of Nationals and Pierce’s ego. Not only can’t he remember her name, he signed her bottle of water like she was one of his groupies. Ugh.
But if there’s one thing Lia knows better than figure skating, it’s hockey. Hoping to take his ego down a notch – or seven – she logs into his team website under an anonymous name to give him pointers on his less-than-stellar playing.
Turns out, Pierce isn’t arrogant at all. And they have a lot in common. Too bad he’s falling for the anonymous girl online. No matter how much fun they’re starting to have in real life, she’s afraid he’s going to choose fake-Lia over the real one…
Disclaimer: This book contains a swoony hockey player (and his equally swoony friends!), one-too-many social media accounts, kisses that’ll melt ice, and a secret identity that might not be so secret after all…
Family conflict, changing relationships, and questions of identity are at the heart of this engaging spin on the classic romance plotline.
Maddy Spier’s been in love with the boy next door forever. As his figure skating partner, she spends time in his arms every day. But she’s also seen his arms around other girls ― lots of other girls. How can she make him realize that they can be partners off the ice as well?
Gabe’s relationship with Maddy is vital. He can’t imagine skating with anyone else, and together they have a real chance at greatness – maybe even making it to the Olympics someday. So he’s decided to think of her as a sister. After all, family is forever, and he’s never dated anyone for more than two weeks.
Then their coach assigns a new romantic skating program, and everything changes. Will this be the big break that Maddy’s been hoping for or the big breakup that Gabe has always feared?
Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, debut author Katie Van Ark’s novel The Boy Next Door is full of competition, misunderstandings, and of course, plenty of romance.
Switching places with someone else has never been more fun than in this novel about following your dreams and finding your heart from the author of Meant To Be that Huntley Fitzpatrick, author of My Life Next Door, calls “unforgettable” and “full of twists and romance.”
Meet Sloane Emily Jacobs: a seriously stressed-out figure skater who choked during junior nationals.
Now meet Sloane Devon Jacobs, a spunky ice hockey player who’s been suspended from her team for too many aggressive hip checks.
The two girls are on their way to skating camps in Montreal when a luggage mix-up causes them to meet. Pretty soon, the Sloanes realize that this is the opportunity they’ve been waiting for: the chance to escape their lives and switch places for the summer. But it didn’t occur to Sloane E. that she might meet a hockey hottie; and Sloane D. never expected to run into a familiar (and very good-looking) face from home. It’s not long before the Sloanes discover that convincing people you’re someone else might be more difficult than being yourself.
From the author of Twenty Boy Summer, a teen pushes the limits to follow her dreams — and learns there’s a fine line between bitter and sweet…
Once upon a time, Hudson knew exactly what her future looked like. Then a betrayal changed her life and knocked her dreams to the ground. Now she’s a girl who doesn’t believe in second chances, a girl who stays under the radar by baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner and obsessing over what might have been.
So when things start looking up and she has another shot at her dreams, Hudson is equal parts hopeful and terrified. Of course, this is also the moment a cute, sweet guy walks into her life — and starts serving up some seriously mixed signals. She’s got a lot on her plate, and for a girl who’s been burned before, risking it all is easier said than done.
It’s time for Hudson to ask herself what she really wants, and how much she’s willing to sacrifice to get it. Because in a place where opportunities are fleeting, she knows this chance may very well be her last…
E. L. Shen’s The Comeback is a heartfelt, #OwnVoices middle-grade debut about a young girl trying to be a champ ― in figure skating and in life.
Twelve-year-old Maxine Chen is just trying to nail that perfect landing: on the ice, in middle school, and at home, where her parents worry that competitive skating is too much pressure for a budding tween. Maxine isn’t concerned, however ― she’s determined to glide to victory. But then a bully at school starts teasing Maxine for her Chinese heritage, leaving her stunned and speechless. And at the rink, she finds herself up against a stellar new skater named Hollie, whose grace and skill threaten to edge Maxine out of the competition. With everything she knows on uneven ice, will Maxine crash under the pressure? Or can she power her way to a comeback?
Set in Lake Placid, New York, this is a spunky yet stirring middle-grade story that examines racism, female rivalry and friendship, and the enduring and universal necessity of love and support.
An ice skater without a rink. An artist without a place to draw. Two misfit girls who become unlikely friends over the course of an unusual week. Readers of Lynda Mullaly Hunt, Rebecca Stead, and Lisa Graff will adore Stick With Me.
Izzy’s best friend seems to be ditching her for the Queen of Mean, Daphne Toll. Izzy wants to fit in and have some real friends, but all she really has are her drawings. And then her family rents out their house during winter break for some extra cash — and that family’s daughter is sleeping in Izzy’s room and attending the same camp!
Wren is focused on perfecting her ice-skating routine after tanking at sectionals last year. But when her sister qualifies for a life-changing treatment for her epilepsy, Wren is carted off to stay in a rented home near Boston. It doesn’t help that she’s forced to attend the local theater camp, where it seems like the mean girls have it out for her.
Will Izzy and Wren’s shared status as targets of Phoebe and Daphne bring them closer? Or will middle school drama prevent them from ever becoming friends?
Jennifer Blecher, the author of the acclaimed Out of Place, writes with a pitch-perfect ear for tween girls about the ups and downs of middle school friendships. Told from dual perspectives, Stick With Me is a story about fitting in and figuring yourself out.
Perfect for fans of George and Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter To The World: A heartfelt coming of age story about a nonbinary character navigating a binary world.
Twelve-year-old Ana-Marie Jin, the reigning US Juvenile figure skating champion, is not a frilly dress kind of kid. So, when Ana learns that next season’s program will be princess themed, doubt forms fast. Still, Ana tries to focus on training and putting together a stellar routine worthy of national success.
Once Ana meets Hayden, a transgender boy new to the rink, thoughts about the princess program and gender identity begin to take center stage. And when Hayden mistakes Ana for a boy, Ana doesn’t correct him and finds comfort in this boyish identity when he’s around. As their friendship develops, Ana realizes that it’s tricky juggling two different identities on one slippery sheet of ice. And with a major competition approaching, Ana must decide whether telling everyone the truth is worth risking years of hard work and sacrifice.
Acclaimed author Elizabeth Eulberg continues her hilarious middle-grade twist on Sherlock Holmes as detective duo Shelby and Watson tackle their trickiest case yet – going undercover as figure skaters!
Being friends with a super sleuth isn’t easy, especially when she’s nine years old, four feet tall, and full of attitude. But for eleven-year-old John Watson, being friends with Shelby Holmes is just the adventure he’s looking for.
After Watson’s online journal chronicling his and Shelby’s case-closing abilities attracts the attention of a newspaper reporter, the pair becomes a small “media sensation” in their Harlem neighborhood. So it’s no surprise (at least, to Shelby!) when the article lands them a new client – a figure skating coach whose star athlete, Jordan Nelson, is receiving strange, threatening messages, written entirely in code.
There’s no one better to crack the cipher than dynamic duo Shelby and Watson! But to gather information, Shelby decides that they’ll have to go undercover…as an award-winning pair skating team. Can they use the laws of physics and their acting skills to maintain their covers and figure out who’s sending Jordan such strange messages before it’s too late?
Welcome to Pearl Famous Academy of Skate and Sword, where the blades are sharp and the competition is fierce.
Peasprout Chen dreams of becoming a legend of wu liu, the deadly and beautiful art of martial arts figure skating.
As the first students from the rural country of Shin to attend Pearl Famous Academy of Skate and Sword, Peasprout and her little brother Cricket have some pretty big skates to fill. They soon find themselves in a heated competition for top ranking.
Tensions rise when the dazzling pearl buildings of the Academy are vandalized and outsider Peasprout is blamed for the attacks by her rivals…and even some friends.
Now, she must uncover the true vandal to ensure peace between Shin and Pearl – all while becoming a champion.
Figure skating is Kaitlin’s passion, but she lands on thin ice after a meltdown in this funny, touching story. Because when you fall down, you have to pick yourself up — even if it’s in front of judges and a crowd.
Kaitlin has always dreamed of being a champion figure skater, and she’s given up a lot to pursue her passion. But after she has a totally uncharacteristic tantrum at a major competition, she’s dropped by both her coach and her prestigious skating club.
When no other club will have her, she’s forced to join the ridiculed and run-down Fallton Club, jokingly referred to as the “Fall Down Club.” At first Kaitlin thinks this is a complete disaster, but after meeting some of the other skaters — including a boy who happens to have the most perfect hair she’s ever seen — she realizes it might not actually be so bad.
Yet learning a whole new program right before regionals is a huge challenge, and when she realizes that all the other area skaters target Fallton for pranks, she begins to wonder if joining the Fall Down Club has any upside.
After years of practice and competitions, of sit spins and perfect poses and thrillingly high jumps, Esperanza Flores will be skating for the United States. But with the excitement of an Olympic shot comes new attention – and BIG distractions.
Suddenly Espi can’t go out with her friends, or even out her back door, without reporters and autograph-seekers following her every move. The other U.S. figure skaters have a lot more international experience, and they let Espi know they don’t think she’s ready. And Hunter Wills, the men’s figure skating champion, seems to be flirting with her, even as the press matches her up with Danny Morrison, the youngest – and maybe cutest – member of the U.S. hockey team.
In the midst of all this, Espi is trying to master an impossible secret jump that just might be her key to a medal. Can she focus enough to shut out the drama, find her edge over the competition, and make the Olympics as golden as her dreams?