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Open Ice Hardcover – November 8, 2005

4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up–Hockey is more than Nick's favorite sport–it has become the very framework of his life. His friends are all players, his hot new girlfriend's a huge fan, and his hopes for college hang on securing an athletic scholarship. So when his physician, coach, and family all agree, following his fourth concussion, that the 16-year-old star should stop playing the game, it means major upheaval in his life. Hughes's attention to detail in terms of both head injuries and the sport adds lots of pith and interest to this story, and her accurate portrayal of middle-class teen life (which includes sex, obscenities, and pot smoking) should keep reluctant readers turning pages. The central question shifts from the prospect of whether Nick can return to the rink to the more important matter of whether he can regain control of his roiling emotions.–Jeffrey Hastings, Highlander Way Middle School, Howell, MI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 9--12. "In the dream, there's always open ice," but in real life, high-school hockey player Nick Taglio has a knack for getting blindsided, and he has the concussions to prove it. His latest bell-ringer has left him with a bad case of post-concussion syndrome, prompting his doctor to forbid him from playing hockey, possibly forever. It only gets worse, as Nick lapses into emotional free-fall, blowing off school, fighting with his parents, getting dumped by his girlfriend (who is only interested in healthy hockey stars), and even endangering his baby brother. Yes, this sounds like readers of Hughes' first YA novel are in danger themselves--of getting their bells rung by coming-of-age overload--but every time we think we see an oppressive author's message on the horizon, Hughes feints left and skates right, confounding our expectations with a subtle twist of character that draws us deeper into the story. Nick does plenty of soul-searching, but it happens around the edges of his bitter, knifing wit. His relationships with his friends and family, too, are always multidimensional, and while there is plenty of sex in the story, it proves as confusing for Nick and his peers as it does exhilarating. Best of all, though, is the hockey: sure, the open ice thing is a metaphor--the virus of sports novels--but thankfully, it never overwhelms the taut physicality of the game itself. By being true to the sport, Hughes unlocks the truth in her characters. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books; 1St Edition edition (November 8, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038574675X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385746755
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,230,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I am a 14 year old girl and I just finished reading Open Ice. It was by far the best book I have read in awhile. I am a hockey player so I know how important hockey was to Nick. This was an inspiring book for me because I appreciated how much Nick fought to play, if something like that happened to me I would fight too. I think all teens should read this book whether you play hockey or not, it makes you realize a lot of things. Nick is an inspiring character to me because I could completely relate to everything he was talking about. Overall this book was amazing!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
ge. No matter how dangerous hockey is and how many concussions Nick receives, he continues to play. Between hockey and his girlfriend, Nick's life is good. Then, Nick receives another concussion, his fourth one in fact by keeping his head down, his number one habit. This concussion is not like the others, and Nick may never play hockey again. If Nick loses hockey, his life, then what else is left for him?

When I began reading Open Ice, I was a bit apprehensive because I had heard few things about it. Basically, all I knew was that the book was a coming-of-age novel about hockey. I like coming-of-age and hockey, so I figured I would give it a way. Luckily, I thought Open Ice was a good novel. Pat Hughes did a great job characterizing Nick. He was an incredibly realistic character, and I enjoyed the way Hughes portrayed him after his concussion. That's not to say I agreed with his actions, but his actions seemed like the way many guys would have reacted to being told to say goodbye to their favorite sport. Hughes also did a great job portraying Nick's parents. When dealt with Nick's situation, they acted in a responsible manner, without seeming cheesy.

The only character I had a complaint about was Devin, Nick's girlfriend. She's a stereotypical girl who only wants to date a star hockey player, and Nick is completely smitten (in the beginning at least). I think Hughes could have developed Devin more, while still keeping her general persona. Devin was just so blaaah, and aside from looks, I could not see any reason Nick dated her. At times, I also thought Hughes tried to push to appealing to teens too much. The smoking pot and Daves Matthews Band seemed forced at times. Overall, however, Open Ice is a wonderful portrayal of dealing with life after a sport injury.

I would recommend Open Ice to anyone looking for a coming-of-age that reveals the hardships of leaving a favorite sport.
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Format: Hardcover
Fast-paced literary skater Pat Hughes showed that she is comfortable on the ice of writing and definitely a senior member of the varsity team

in her latest book Open Ice. She deftly negotiates the delicate edge-of-the-blade teenage dialogue while skating backwards and making it look easy. This sports reader's attention was glued to every page-turning play of her game even ruining his planned Sunday afternoon nap which was replaced by reading the last 160 pages of Open Ice.


>I loved this book. Hughes placed me directly in the midst of these people and their thoughts. I feel like I know them and, the ultimate sign of great writing, I wonder what they are doing now that I've finished reading the book. Not only does Hughes think like a teenager but, as she's done in her previous books Guerrilla Season and Breaker Boys, she comes across like an authentic teenage guy! This book felt like it was told to me by Nick himself, a little wiser, more mature, but definitely by the guy who lived the experience.


>And then the layers...When Devin was distancing herself from Nick and

>urging him to pressure his parents to play again I thought I was SO smart that I could see right through her motives. I had her pegged for what she was. Then I smiled as it occurred to me that I get NO credit for my revelation. Hughes had me right where she wanted me. Seeing only what she wanted me to see. But then at the after-game party when the details about her and Ramsey came out I stopped hating her and felt bad for her instead. Her intentions were not as clear as I had been ready for them to be earlier in the book. Hughes didn't take the easy literary route and stop at Devin being a hockey groupie. She had deeper problems and insecurities.
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Format: Hardcover
Pat Hughes can portray a character unlike anyone else. As in her first two outstanding novels, "Guerrilla Season" and "The Breaker Boys," Hughes ability to bring her characters to life is uncanny and Nicky Tag is no exception.

Nick Taglio, is a high school sophomore who's been playing hockey for almost as long as he's been able to walk. He's used to being the "star."The big man on campus. The center of attention on the ice. Head down, skate hard, nothing ahead but "Open Ice." Nick can hear the chants of "Nicky Tag, Nicky Tag" echoing through the arena. But what he didn't hear was the defender of the opposing team bearing down to blind side him! And when Nick ends up in the hospital with his fourth concussion his hockey career and all he's played for the past 10 years, may hang in the balance of his Doctor, and his parents. Nick's anger

not only jeopardizes his relationship with his best friend "Griff," and his self-centered girlfriend Devon, but he begins to alienate his parents,as well as the welfare of his baby brother! Nick needs to come to terms with his injury, but in the meanwhile his schoolwork suffers. With the help

of a Peer Tutoring Program perhaps Nick will learn that there is more to life then hockey.

As with Hughes' first two novels this is relatively a fast read. Believe me you'll have trouble putting it down. Hughes has put a lot of detail as well as a lot research into the game itself. From the terminology, to the equipment, down to the high school hockey lifestyle itself. Open Ice is a

real score!
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