Book Title: Cold Day in the Sun
Author: Sara Biren
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: March 12th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Holland Delviss wants to be known for her talent as a hockey player, not a hockey player who happens to be a girl. But when her school team is selected to be featured and televised as part of HockeyFest, her status as the only girl on the boys’ team makes her the lead story. Not everyone is thrilled with Holland’s new fame, but there’s one person who fiercely supports her, and it’s the last person she expects (and definitely the last person she should be falling for): her bossy team captain, Wes.
With the summer season just around the corner, a book about ice hockey and perpetual snow probably doesn’t seem all that appealing to most of you. I understand there are tons of other YA contemporary reads which are all summer-y and more appropriate for the season, but I ain’t about that right now. I personally prefer cold weather rather than hot, and this is a great book for escaping this heat that I dislike so much.
Set in a small town in Minnesota, Holland grew up with a special love (and skill!) for hockey. Growing up with three brothers who all share the same passion for the sport, she grew accustomed to playing with the boys. So this ultimately led to her decision to play for the boys’ hockey team of her school, instead of the girls’. Of course that doesn’t come easy as Holland constantly gets criticized and belittled because of her decision. So, she always has to try extra hard to prove them wrong and to “earn her spot” in the team. Regardless of the people who don’t believe in her and try to bring her down, what Holland doesn’t expect is that she has a passionate supporter in the form of their awfully crabby team captain, Wes. Now she’s not sure if that would complicate things, especially when feelings get involved.
Let me tell you right now that I loved loved LOVED the whole concept of this. As I’ve said, I settings that have cold weather and snow, I love as it makes me wanna get all cozy. Not only that, a girl playing in a boys’ team isn’t something I read about enough so it’s very interesting to get immersed in this story.
Our main character, Holland, is a an absolute babe. I love Holland as a protagonist and I really enjoyed reading from her perspective because I get to see how she thinks and how that relates to her actions. Plus, her character didn’t come without any flaws, so these made her seem more realistic for me, like I see her more as a person rather than a fictional character. Which sounds crazy, I know!
I can understand her deep-seated insecurities, especially because of the fact that she plays in a male hockey team which a lot of people take (very) negatively. Of course, this takes a massive toll on Holland’s self-esteem. However, I feel like she hides this fact because she doesn’t want others to see her vulnerability and she doesn’t want to come off as ungrateful for all the support she receives, especially from her friends and family. So, she endures the negativity and it propels her to do better.
This leads to a wonderful character development from Holland, and I think she eventually dealt with the negativity thrown towards her in a great way. This book has given off an absolutely wonderful lesson as well. People in Holland’s town, people she knows, cannot see past her biological sex. They criticize her solely based on being female, and they reduce her to being “just a girl” as they don’t deem her fit to be on par with the male players regardless of her obvious talent in the sport. Basically, this gives a powerful message about women empowerment, especially when it comes to sports, and that hockey has no gender.
The only downside I found in this book was Holland’s chemistry with Wes. I had to deduct two whole stars off my rating because I literally cringed at some point. I feel like it all just happened a bit fast and it was really weird to read about. The first chapter shows how overbearing Wes was in their training, then in another chapter his attitude turned in a whole other direction. I get that it may have been to show that he has a huge soft side but it just felt like he was a complete different person.
So generally, I like my romances to be smooth and flowy, like caramel sauce! But the romance in this one just seemed very off to me, and it could have been done better in my opinion. And since romance obviously plays a huge role in this story, being put off by their chemistry itself merits a huge deduction off my rating.
But overall, this book is a very inspiring one. With a great underlying lesson and an absolutely lovable female protagonist, Cold Day in the Sun is truly a beautiful story. I feel like you’ll really come to love the main character, as I have, and the ending was very uplifting. However, if you’re looking for a more slow-burn and romantic contemporary, I don’t think this books is for you.