Thursday, May 12, 2016

Becoming Phoebe by J. Michael Neal

Title: Becoming Phoebe
Author: J. Michael Neal
Published: February, 2016
Published By: Melancholy Donkey Press
Format Read: PDF, Kobo, eBook, Overdrive
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult
Date Read: May 4, 2016
Rating: 3.5/5

I was sent a copy of Becoming Phoebe by J. Michael Neal from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Phoebe Rose became a ward of the state of Ohio as a small child and her only dream aside from getting adopted was to play hockey for the University of Minneapolis. After a very traumatic upbringing in foster care and playing for a talent-less boys high school team she finally gets her chance to prove her talent. 

First Impressions
What initially excited me about this book was the fact that it was about hockey. A topic I am somewhat familiar with being Canadian. The added bonus was that it focused on women’s hockey. So naturally I began Becoming Phoebe anticipating to be empowered.

My initial anticipation wasn’t in vein as this book was full of strong hardworking young women, none more so than the main character Phoebe. Her determination and never ending effort was inspiring even despite her past trauma.

About Phoebe 
I admire the author for creating a character who although made a university hockey team, wasn’t the best player on the roster. This story could have been interesting had Phoebe been a phenomenal player, but by chronicling her struggles both on and off the ice brought great depth to the book.
Phoebe is a very intense and intimidating character and for good reason. Reading this book gave me a real understanding of what a team is supposed to be; a family. The women banded together and supported her, creating lifelong friendships. Becoming Phoebe is a fairly lengthy novel that I surprisingly flew through. While I had trouble connecting to the main character, I was engrossed throughout.

About the book
Aside from my lack of connection with Phoebe, I did find organization of the chapters to be confusing at times. Divided into two parts, the timeline jumps around. In the first part the story follows her first couple of years at university and the path she took to get there. Meanwhile the second part chronicles her last years in Minnesota and the years that follow.

Caution and recommendations 
Becoming Phoebe was an emotional reading experience as it touches on so many difficult and heartbreaking topics. Due to this subject matter I would suggest caution to those who may be triggered by traumatic experiences. Otherwise I would recommend it to anyone looking for a diverse new adult fiction with strong female characters. 

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