Breaking the Ice by Gail Nall

Published by Aladdin

Summary: When shy Kaitlin has an uncharacteristic temper tantrum at an ice skating competition, she finds herself banned from her own skating club and most of the other clubs in the area.  The only place that will take her is the run-down Falton “Fall Down” Club, but Kaitlin is desperate enough to follow her Olympic dream to try it.  Despite the bumpy ice, ancient Zamboni, and eccentric coaches, she finds herself making new friends and learning a whole new way of skating.  Greg, her new coach, encourages her to express herself through her skating, which just confuses Kaitlin.  Braedon, the cute ne’er-do-well of the club, encourages her to skip classes and pull pranks that she’s sure will get her in trouble.  Kaitlin and her friends end up at Regionals, where a secret party almost gets Kaitlin kicked out of the competition.  Will she be able to put her new experiences into skating a winning program?  Grades 4-7.

Pros:  Middle grade readers will root for Kaitlin to come out of her shell while enjoying a great sports story.

Cons:  The stock middle school characters (loyal best friend, potential crush, misunderstood mean girl) are not particularly original.

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