Saturday, June 5, 2010

See Jane Score by Rachel Gibson *****


I read this book about 2 years ago, and gave it 4 stars (really 3.5) and wrote a review saying it just didn't measure up. But I've been in a sort of reading drought. I haven't been keeping up with what's new and out there to read, and what is in my TBR just isn't getting me interested, so I've been doing a lot of re-reads. Re-reads are comforting - the mac-n-cheese of reading. You already know you love it and it will make you feel good. I picked up See Jane Score because I'd been wondering if maybe I didn't give it a fair chance.

Well, I was right. That is, I did not give it a fair chance! My re-read was a completely new take on the story. My review is still right - the facts are there. We don't really get into Luc's mind much. And I missed a major piece on Jane - the fact that she seems to sabotage her relationships as a way to keep from getting close.

I even laughed at myself for the comment about being raised by her father so she missed out on makeup and dressing. Yeah, I did not get those skills from my mother - in fact I don't have those skills at all. I guess she has a point - she didn't have a mother to get them from. I did, but that mother didn't pass them on (or didn't have them either).

It wasn't the same type of prose that SEP or Susan Andersen write; it's not even exactly the same prose that Gibson writes in other books. But she still knows how to draw characters, flaws and fears and all, and infuse the story with wit and pathos and emotion. And sheesh, the sexual tension when all they do is kiss and grope a little - whew! (Not that they don't do more, later in the book, mind you!)

So, below the line is my original review. The plot is the same, but this time I did love it - and I'm going with 5 stars this time around.


I really wanted to like this book a lot more than I actually did. Maybe it's just because I wanted it to be more like Susan Andersen, or Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and she just didn't measure up.

See Jane Score came to my TBR pile as an AAR Top 100 book. Doing my background work on it (making sure it wasn't a part of a series - well, it is, but I couldn't figure out how, so I read it as a stand-alone) I decided it sounded like something I would like, a la SEP and Andersen. A hockey player hero and a plain Jane heroine (named Jane) who isn't so plain, who get thrown together by circumstance. The circumstance forces Jane to learn about hockey as she goes along, and there's even a pre-game ritual thrown in (It Had To Be You, anyone?).

And, well, Gibson doesn't write like Anderson or SEP. I kept wanting her to dig deeper into Luc's POV - like author Suzanne Brockmann - and let me really feel what Luc is feeling. Maybe she did and Luc is just not that interesting?

Luc's backstory: he's a goalie, recently recovered from knee surgery and pain meds addiction, and recently got custody of his half-sister whose mother died. He has a reputation with journalists who've detailed not only his addiction, but his exploits with women, most of which apparently is fabricated.

Jane's backstory: mother died of breast cancer when Jane was 6, father raised her almost as a boy so she's not interested in dressing up or wearing makeup. (?) Since these aren't really skills I got from my mother, I didn't exactly follow this logic, but whatever. She only wears black and gray because she doesn't know how to match colors. So she's not a girly-girl (she sure cries alot though, shades of A Knight In Shining Armor!), she's short and not well endowed.

The circumstance: she's a journalist who gets offered a position writing a sports column about the hockey team and traveling with them for the season. She isn't a sports writer and has to learn about the sport - they pick her on purpose for publicity reasons (I think, although that aspect is never mentioned again ) because she writes a dating column. Now she has to be the only woman in the dressing room after the game, and the only woman traveling with the team - and they all decide to shut her out. Of course, after a while this gets old, she brings them luck and now they like her.

Luc starts looking at her, but even when Gibson writes from his POV, we know very little about what he is feeling until later when he admits he is attracted to her. They both decide the attraction is a bad idea - her because she wants to keep her position professional, him because - well, I think because he doesn't think she's his type plus he wants to concentrate on his game and his sister is a distraction. Or Something Like That. I may have to read it again - you'd think having just finished it less than 12 hours ago, I could remember.

So they avoid - then they get together -then they avoid. We really feel more of Jane's side - and she is hurt when he avoids her, thinking he was just using her for a one-night stand. Eventually we get his side, which was... oh, the complications, and his not wanting to feel or admit his attractions, and then he does. Oh wait - I almost forgot her porn persona, Honey Pie - that was the Big Secret/Big Misunderstanding part. She writes a porn column under a pseudonym, and only 3 people know it's her - but all the hockey players read the column. Early in the relationship - real early - she writes it about him, but it isn't published til later. So we know it's coming, but it doesn't really affect their relationship til the very end. I cringed when I read the column, because she wrote a scene that actually did happen, almost word for word, between the 2 of them. I was surprised no one figured out it was her, since she even described the dress she wore in front of the entire team. She made no secret of his identity in the column either - a hockey player called Lucky... But not only did no one figure out she was involved (they did realize it was about him), even Luc assumes someone overheard the 2 of them - he cannot imagine she wrote it. When she tells him the truth, he feels betrayed because he trusted her, so they have to get over that right at the end. By the way - I wondered if everyone realized that it was a fictional column? After all, she did leave all her lovers in comas. So did anyone think that whoever this Honey Pie was actually screwed Luc into a coma?

I did have some laughs, and I grinned a few times at a clever turn or 2. But I wanted more - I wanted to feel what I feel when Andersen or SEP tell me a story - and I didn't. Should I read more? If this is her best, though, I just don't know if I can take it. I'm gonna go with 4 stars because it's a 3 1/2 - I liked it more than just "average" or "mediocre" but not nearly as much as I wanted to. I guess it's relative.

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