Sugar and Ice
When Russian skating coach Andrei Groshev offers twelve-year-old farm girl Claire a scholarship to train with the elite in Lake Placid, she encounters a world of mean girls on ice, where competition is everything.
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ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 12
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For Claire Boucher life is pretty simple. Practice skating on the local cow pond. Help out at the small ice skating rink when possible. And for fun, do a segment during the local competition’s Maple Festival. All that changes when Claire’s routine for fun catches the eye of big-time muckety muck trainer Andrei Groshev. Groshev has a deal for Claire. He’s offering her a scholarship to train with other students like herself for huge ice skating competitions. In return, Claire will have to sacrifice the life she’s always known. Not a natural competitor, Claire accepts then almost immediately wonders what she’s gotten herself into. Most of the kids are nice, but some are jealous of her talent. She hardly has time to do schoolwork as well as training, and worst of all someone is sabotaging her equipment and confidence. In the end, Claire needs to determine if she’s got what it takes to be a serious contender, or if she’s just gonna go back to her cow pond and forget any of this ever happened.
All most people can think of in Mojimuk Falls is how to escape, but Claire loves her small, rural, New York town . She loves her family’s maple sugar farm, she loves her best friend Natalie, she loves doing math league at school, but most of all she loves ice skating. Whether it’s skating club with Natalie, junior coaching, or just skating on the cow pond, Claire feels at home and free when she’s on the ice. What Claire doesn’t love is competitions. Even though she’s the best skater in Mojimuk Falls, the one time Claire tried to compete, she was too scared to even get on the ice. Luckily the town’s big Maple Show isn’t a competition, it’s just an ice skating exhibition, so Claire’s thrilled to be doing the Maple Princess Solo. After a perfect solo, Claire is surprised to be approached by Andrei Groshev, a former Olympic skater, with the offer of a Silver Blades Scholarship – the chance to train at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid for free. It’s a huge opportunity – this is training on a national level with a world-class coach – but Claire is sure her parents won’t have to time for the long commute while managing the busy farm. To Claire’s surprise her parents make some sacrifices and before she knows it, she’s training with Coach Groshev in Lake Placid. Only, it’s not like skating at home. Claire’s talented, but the other girls in the program are super competitive and some are downright mean. There are always extra practices which mean no time to see Natalie, no time for math league, no time for junior coaching. Competitive ice skating becomes Claire’s entire life. With her parents determined to do whatever it takes to make Claire’s skating dreams come true, a best friend who’s not talking to her, and a coach who’s constantly pushing her harder, Claire feels pulled in all directions. As the pressure mounts it becomes clear though that only Claire can decide: What life will she choose? Skating star or normal girl?
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