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The Penalty Box (New York Blades) Mass Market Paperback – March 7, 2006

49 customer reviews
Book 4 of 10 in the New York Blades Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this fun, fast rinkside contemporary romance from Martin (Total Rush), down-on-his-luck hockey jock Paul van Dorn and formerly overweight overachiever Katie Fisher answer the age-old question: can you ever live down high school? Reintroduced at their 10-year reunion, Paul is stunned to find the girl he dubbed "Bubble Butt" grown into a sexy sociology professor. Recently forced to retire from the NHL, Paul has returned to their hometown, tiny Didsbury, Conn., where he stews in post-pro blues at his bar, the Penalty Box. Katie, on a yearlong book sabbatical, has moved home with her mother and nephew Tuck, whose own mom is stuck in rehab. Despite Paul's past cruelty, Katie falls for him after he gives a revealing interview for her project on sports and male identity. What begins as an undercover affair blossoms into a life-changing relationship as the pair discover that living in the present beats living in the past. Martin scores with this witty blend of romance and family dynamics. (Mar.)
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From Booklist

Katie's mother has done the unthinkable: she's responded yes to Katie's high-school-reunion invitation. Thin, beautiful, and a successful academic, Katie is only back in her hometown to complete her new book and help her mother take care of her nephew while Katie's sister is in rehab. Back in school she was teased mercilessly about her weight, and she is surprised at the reunion when most of her former tormentors apologize for their former transgressions. But one nasty encounter induces her to flee, and she runs straight into the subject of many adolescent fantasies: Paul Van Dorn, a professional hockey player for the New York Blades until too many concussions brought an end to his promising career. Katie and Paul secretly become a couple, but they have issues. She believes he is living in the past--a place she does not want to be. Following Body Check (2003) and Total Rush (2005), Martin scores another goal with another witty, emotionally true-to-life, and charming hockey romance. Maria Hatton
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Series: New York Blades (Book 4)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reissue edition (March 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425208907
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425208908
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,348,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

New York Times Bestselling Author Deirdre Martin currently lives in Ithaca, New York, with her husband Mark Levine, who is also a writer. She's had the same best friend since she was ten, and the only sport she can stand watching is ice hockey. In her spare time she likes to read, hike, and perform with the local improv group.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Melissa on March 15, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Katie Fisher has been granted a year long sabbatical to write a book about sports and male identity. She is spending the year at her mother's home helping to care for her nephew. But home doesn't hold sweet memories for Katie. Her high-school experience was miserable. Known as a overweight brainiac, Katie was horribly teased. So when she finds out her mother signed her up to attend her tenth high-school reunion, Katie is horrified. Then she considers the opportunity to show her classmates the woman she has become. Slim, smart and successful, Katie attends the reunion ready to knock their socks off!

Hometown hero Paul van Dorn, former hockey star and current owner of The Penalty Box, uses his sports bar to relive his glory days. A series of concussions ended his major league hockey career. Coaching youth hockey is his only chance to get back onto the ice. Attending his ten year high-school reunion is an event he is looking forward to; a chance to see old friends and remember the good times.

When Paul and Katie meet at the reunion, sparks fly. Dating turns into quite the adventure! Maybe returning home is the best thing that ever happened to these two. But with Paul stuck in the past and Katie refusing to look back, do they have a future?

Although both Paul and Katie made me want to knock heads a few times, I thoroughly enjoyed The Penalty Box. While both Katie and Paul have their hang-ups that work against their relationship, I so wanted them to find happiness together. I identified completely with Katie's battle with her weight. And I could empathize with Paul's depression over the end of his career. Their battle to find happiness together despite the odds had me urging them to deal with their pasts!

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By N. Theodorou on March 22, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
THE PENALTY BOX is the third in Martin's New York Blades hockey romance series and it's a big winner.

Katie Fisher lives everyone's fantasy when she returns to her small hometown's high school reunion transformed from an overweight, unpopular adolescent into a beautiful and brainy psychology professor. Katie's not just smart, she's hilarious, delivering the snappy comebacks we all wish we could come up with. Of course, she developed her humor back in those difficult high school days to compensate for her perceived inadequacies which she has never quite shaken off.

Paul Van Dorn also attends the reunion. Unlike Katie, he was the most popular guy in school since he was gorgeous and brilliantly talented athletically. He went on to a major league hockey career with the New York Blades which was cut short by a succession of serious injuries. He's gone back to his hometown to buy a sports bar, called The Penalty Box, where he can relive his past glory.

The chemistry between Katie and Paul is instant and exciting. Their verbal sparring keeps you laughing but also makes you stop and think. Katie's apparently successful adult identity is still riddled with the insecurities of her past to the point that she has a distorted view of the town she grew up in. Paul goes back home to assuage his anguish over losing the only career he's ever wanted, basking in the adulation of his old friends but living almost entirely on memories. This is a book about learning to embrace your past without letting it dominate your life.

Martin treats us to her deft grasp of the dynamics of family as Katie struggles to help her young nephew Tuck survive the trauma of having a mother, Katie's sister Mina, who's in and out of rehab.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Blue Tangle on March 3, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The last time I was as excited as I am now about the release of Deirdre Martin's "The Penalty Box," was at the start of this NHL season, after the dreadful year-long lockout! However, you don't have to be a sports fan, or know spit about hockey (the heroine certainly didn't!) to enjoy this book! I read this book as fast as I could and enjoyed it so much, that I had to go back for an instant and much slower re-read!

Katie Fisher is a college professor who has returned to her hometown for a year long paid sabbatical to write a book. While at home, she reluctantly attends her ten year high school reunion. Her reluctance is a result of her agonizing overweight teenage years. At the gala she is reunited with old "friends," tormentors and an old crush. The ex-crush, Paul van Dorn, is a pro-hockey player who has just retired, albeit not by his choice. Katie and Paul are both at the brink of major life changes and dealing with the myriad of emotions that arrive with such situations. They share an undeniable attraction to one another, but making a relationship work is not as easy as it might seem. Life has pushed them both through a full circle and back to their hometown... a very small town, with tongues and overgrown teenage terrors...

The book is touching, but fun, fast-paced, and incredibly well written. Between the great story, a charming cast of characters and refreshing twists to what could have otherwise easily been a predicable tale, this book is more real-life like than you'd expect. The hero might have been a superstar, but he is a normal guy in the book with issues that are neither too far-fetched, nor tabloid material. The heroine is witty enough to rival Austen's immortal Lizzie Bennett... Really!
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