Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sneaking One Past the Goalie

Wallflowers are so misunderstood. Yes, they're usually shy, but they're not always doormats. Bad boys are misunderstood too. Yes, they're usually arrogant and fiercely good looking, but they're not always as tough as the armor they wear. 

Jane lives a quiet life. She writes a column about living the single life. What no one else knows is that Jane also writes erotic stories for men's magazines where her heroine serves her own brand of delicious justice. Luc is looking for a comeback. The goalie is deemed the bad boy of hockey but this bad boy just might have to hang up his skates if he doesn't prove that his past injury isn't going to affect his game. 

When Jane is given the chance to cover the newspaper's sports column, she has to travel with the Chinooks. Too bad she doesn't know a thing about hockey. No matter, she can survive with her Dummy's Guide to Hockey. Only things aren't going to be easy. Hard enough she has to write about something she doesn't know, but the team is convinced that she's bad luck. As if being the only woman with a traveling team of hockey players wasn't enough, she has to contend with crank phone calls and dead animals in front of her hotel room. Oh, and don't forget about Luc.

Luc does not like reporters. And he doesn't like this one traveling with them. He doesn't need some small woman digging around his past and pestering him for an interview. 

See Jane Score by Rachel Gibson is my all time favorite Gibson. It even ranks in the top five of my contemporary novels. While Gibson is not always a win for me, she does "score" with this one. 

The plot is not all that original. The plain Jane mixed up with the bad boy. But the little things make it special. Jane is not the typical wallflower. Sure, she can't dress herself and is constantly wearing black because the color matches itself, but she's not afraid to speak her mind. Oh, she might blush violently as she interviews the players in their locker room, but she toughs it out. 

This book is just sprinkled with delightful comedy. It's the characters and their conversation that makes it great. The conflict, however, isn't all that strong. But let's start with the characters.

Jane Alcott: Everyone can relate to at least something about Jane. She's not painfully shy, but she's not the life of the party either. She has internal strength and isn't afraid to speak up when something bothers her. For example, when she questions Luc about his old drug habit, he sees her cup of coffee and sarcastically asks if she would like a urine sample. Jane replies, "No thanks, I like my coffee black." It was wonderfully refreshing to read the typical wallflower character twisted with a sense of witty humor. Jane might be shy and considered not really attractive, but there's a bite to her bark, and it's hilarious when she lands in some embarrassing antics with the Chinooks. For example, when she finds out that the team maneuvered to have her fired, Luc especially, her speech in the locker room that results is really laugh out loud material. 

"Lucky" Luc Martineau: The typical bad boy. The one who's attractive, sarcastic humor, with a history of 'love 'em and leave them' relationships. Oh, let's not forget the sinfully sexy lucky horseshoe tattoo that sits dangerously close on his lower abs. Luc has a lot on his plate. He needs to make it known that he might be thirty-two, but he can still stop the pucks from between the pipes. He's not too old and his injuries are not a problem. He also needs to take care of his young half-sister now that he's her only family. It doesn't help that she's a teenager who's finding her way in life and that he's the bachelor that knows nothing about how to take care of a young girl. But once you add Jane, the mousy reporter who's constantly getting in the way, well...Luc just can't seem to catch a break.

When it comes to the main conflict of the story, I can see how there are differing opinions. Some don't like it because they claim that it's not fully resolved. I, on the other hand, like it because it's quite reflective of real life. There isn't really an explanation on the reason why other than, "I was just upset and my emotions got the best of me." Sure, it's not entirely satisfying, but sometimes in life, things just happen. Critics are disapproving of how Luc just overlooks it, but I think the reason behind it is lovely. He loves her and he knows that people make mistakes. No matter how much it might have hurt him, he doesn't want to loose Jane.

It's the little moments that make See Jane Score a good read. I found the conversation delightful. But the main reason that I liked it is because of the slow but steady evolution of Jane and Luc's relationship. Unlike some other wallflower/bad boy stories where though the heroine might not be attractive, the hero still finds something interesting about her. Not here. Luc really doesn't find anything attractive about Jane at all in the beginning. There is very very little sexual chemistry besides Luc wondering for a brief moment what the hell Jane was trying to cover up with her ugly clothing. Until the ugly duckling transformation scene, the relationship really does begin with genuine dislike for one another. Luc is rude to Jane in the beginning, in hopes of getting rid of her by scaring her off. Their relationship builds slowly and it feels so natural when they finally do spark things up. 

5 out of 5: One of my first contemporaries, it has a special place on my bookshelf. It also has a nice ability to be one of those comfort stories where I can just pick up and read when I want to. I don't have to be in the mood for a certain kind of read when I open this book. The conversation really has the ability to make a reader laugh out loud and the characters are a wonderful match in temper and humor. Definitely a keeper and a reread. 

1 comment:

heloula said...

OOOhhhh!!! I just finished another book from Rachel Gibson titled Truly madly yours! I loved it. It left me all tingly and wanting for more. I like the author's style. She doens't hold back and the bulding is as much fun as the actual act. So very hot too. :)