Top critical review
on 24 June 2013
OFFSIDE is the first installment in Juliana Stone's new series focusing on three sisters-Billie Jo, Bobbi Jo and Betty Jo Barker-the Barker triplets. And let's just say their sibling rivalry would make any parent cringe and hide. This is Billie Jo and Logan's story.
This is a story of sexism to the nth degree. When Billie Jo returns home from the big leagues recovering from a concussion, she inadvertently draws the ire and disapproval of most of the town when she registers for the Friday Night inter-city hockey league. Not only is she the only female but she is better than every other player in the league. She will become the target of ridicule; sexist misogynistic males; and physical and emotional abuse both on and off the ice.
The writing style is simple. The reader is pulled into a storyline of one family's dysfunctional attitude toward each other. While the `adults' struggle to keep peace, the triplets are at each other's throats constantly. We learn there is some history between the sisters as it pertains to the men or lack of men in their lives but also that this history fuels much of the town's aggression towards Billie Jo.
The characters, for a lack of a better word, are not likeable. The townsfolk belittle, humiliate, assault and insult Billie Jo at every opportunity but when the local hero makes it his mission to offer Billie Jo his support, he learns exactly who his friends are.
The plot revolves around one woman's need to fit in where others believe she doesn't belong. There is some tension between the Billie and Logan, especially as it pertains to their connected pasts-a past that is mired in secrets and betrayal. Billie Jo is a woman who has been in love with Logan since her early high school days, but she knows that Logan had his heart set on another sister. The sexual heat and tension between our hero and heroine is hot but their relationship is kept in secret for most of the storyline due to possible backlash and pain. And in true romance storyline fashion, there will be a misunderstanding that forces the couple apart when in actuality, the truth hurts, no matter who is at fault.
If you like a quick read, with a hockey backdrop in small town USA, The Barker Triplets is the series for you. All three sisters will eventually find their one true love, but until they do, the sibling rivalry will push my proverbial buttons-these sisters were a piece of work and then some. If I didn't know better, I would think that Juliana Stone knows what it is like to live in a household of bickering and jealous sisters.
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