Title: Hat Trick
Author: Jeff Adams
Publisher: Queerteen Press
Characters: Simon, Alex
POV: First Person
Sub-Genre: Sports-themed LGBT, Young Adult
Simon Roberts’ plan for his senior year is simple — help his high school hockey team win the state championship and earn a college scholarship so he can get away from his dysfunctional family, especially his belligerent father and obnoxious older brother.
When the Central High Falcons open their season with an away game, Simon is forced to deal with the problem he’s struggled with for months — his crush on teammate Alex Miller. After the game that night, Alex makes an unexpected announcement — he’s gay, and in love with Simon.
Simon’s elated but scared to openly acknowledge that he’s gay, especially with so much at stake in their senior year. Now that they’re out to each other they have to decide what to do next. Should they date? Should they keep things between them secret? What about the team? Can Simon and Alex hide that they’re more than friends from the guys they spend so much time with?
Then a simple kiss is witnessed and their secret is out. The team fractures, and Simon’s family explodes as news about the gay hockey players quickly spreads. The guys must figure out how to move forward with everyone watching. Being the center of attention was in no way part of Simon’s plan for the year.
Can Simon juggle school, commitments to the team, his new relationship, and an unexpected tragedy all before the end of the hockey season?
Hat Trick by Jeff Adams is the story of Simon Roberts, an eighteen year old high school hockey player from Pennsylvania. Simon realizes he has same-sex attractions but has never acted upon them. Then one night he and his teammate Alex become intimate and a relationship blossoms.
The story is far less about the actual romance of Simon and Alex and more about the challenges that Simon faces with his family and the struggle the couple has with their teammates and school when they decide to come out. Simon’s mother is supportive but his father and older brother are not.
Some of the scenes that describe the hockey games were confusing to me mainly because of the sports jargon. (I’ve never so much as watched a hockey game of any kind and didn’t know exactly what was happening.)However, I think this probably would be a bonus to a hockey fan. At least it sounded pretty authentic to me.
There was a major conflict between Simon and his father which unfolded tragically. To some, the outcome might seem a bit overkill, but I thought the story was well-paced and rather exciting. The relationships Simon had with his mother and his teammates (particularly Jackson and Leo) were quite revealing, showing us exactly who Simon is and what motivates him.
The one character I felt was not as fleshed out as well as I’d have liked was Alex. There were few intimate scenes, and their relationship at times seemed incidental to the story. I guess overall I’d say it was a fantastic gay-themed story but not so much a gay romance.
I think this book will be a great addition to any YA LGBTQ library.
Reviewed By: Trevor