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Booktalking "Sugar and Ice" by Kate Messner
The Silver Blades Scholarship lands unassuming skater Claire Boucher in Lake Placid. No longer is ice skating a winter activity in the neighborhood skate center that she affectionately refers to as "Cow Pond." No longer is skating an ancillary activity to the rest of her life. Four-hour long practices dominate Claire's life as she perfects jumps and attempts to please her new coach, Mr. Groshev. Claire is his "next big talent." Her best friend Natalie resents being "dumped" by Claire for ice and all of its glory.
Claire loves the ice and the music and the skates. It is all a blur during competition. Claire isn't used to such intensive training — black spots dancing before a skater's eyes when she unsuspectingly crashes into ice... being yelled at by Groshev to make the jumps cleanly... then being told not to jump for two weeks and focus on the moves that she already knows. At least Claire makes friends with Tasanee, and she may experience sabotage by another jealous skater. Does Lake Placid beat "Cow Pond" as the place to skate?
Ice skating in the summer?! Last year, I finally made a trip to all-year ice rink when it reached 103 degrees in New York City. It was an interesting experience, but I was lulled into a false sense of security by the figure skates that harbored a nasty toe pick. I am not a fan of toe picks. That's why I decided to stick with hockey skates this year, which have blades the same length as the boot and do not have toe picks. Toe picks are for launching into jumps and spins, none of which I do on the ice, and I may never do them on the ice, but at least I will not have toe picks tripping me up.
I grew up roller skating, and I actually took some figure skating lessons on wheels when I was about 5 years old. I love roller skating, and I somewhat knew that I would probably cave at some point and get with the program in NYC, which includes blades, not wheels. I insist on having indoor rinks, and there is currently only one roller rink in NYC, on the southern tip of Staten Island, Roller Jam USA. I have been ice skating a few times this summer, and I quite like it as a refreshing reprieve from the hot summer sun.