Becoming PhoebeBecoming Phoebe by J. Michael Neal

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A solid, solid read with a lot more depth and unique aspects than the blurb indicates. All in all a very well built and presented story with more meat on its bones than one can expect to get out of it. The book is divided into two parts, where Part 1 focuses on the present and past to introduce Phoebe  and help reader understand the reasoning of her character. Part 2 is present and future (as we’re going into as far as 2020) which gives the reader the conclusion of the story where many ends will be tied and unanswered questions answered.

Eighteen-year-old Phoebe Rose spent her childhood in one foster household after another, never having a place she could feel safe or a group of friends she could say she belonged to. What kept her going was hockey. The rink was the only place she felt at home.

Now what she wants more than anything is to play on her college hockey team—where she hopes she can leave her past behind and create a new life. But she knows things are never that simple or easy.

Becoming Phoebe is about painful secrets, unexpected friendships, and joining a team so you can become your true self.

I did find myself crying at some stage because I recognised and felt the inner turmoil and loneliness Phoebe found herself in. At the same time there were characters and teammates that made everything better and who were able to give those snippets of truths and support a person remembers for the rest of their life. I guess… I could say that this book is properly balanced with being lost and found, being hurt and healed.

Phoebe is a very unique main character who, due to a confusing and difficult childhood (among other challenges in her young life, there is a one-off description of rape), turns into teenager in survival mode. She is also very intelligent, insightful and driven. Of course, this is not all… There is one big surprise… Something that essentially changed and made Phoebe’s life to what it was.

The book has an element of same sex relationship as well… Which of course comes with its own challenges seeing as Phoebe is in a hockey team.

There is a lot about hockey (which if you’re not a fan, might not be so great) and I know jack about hockey, but it wasn’t tedious.

Phoebe’s ability to analyze herself and the game to the most logical results is almost supernatural, as an average human is usually unable to do that.

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