Offside (The Barker Triplets)

Billie-Jo Barker comes back to her small town home after a concussion ends her European hockey career where she runs into her first love, Logan Forest after she joins the men’s hockey league.

There were three major plots in this novel: the Barker family, the romance between Billie-Jo and Logan and the sexism that comes from what was previously an all male ice hockey team. Of these three, the romance was the weakest and the Barker family was the most interesting.

The Barker family were interesting because they had a lot of strong personalities in one family who clash with each other a lot, but you know if there was an outside threat they would stand against it. Bobbi-Jo and Billie-Jo were fighting most of the book, yet when Sabrina verbally attacked Billie-Jo, you could bet that Bobbi-Jo wasn’t going to stand by and let that happen. Their father seemed to be very critical of Billie-Jo in one scene, something which you seemed to get wasn’t terribly unusual but she still loves him and it still hurts her when his dementia strikes. And the Gramps of the family was not as developed but a valuable part of the family all the same. I am fascinated by the sisters’ relationship though and I guess by the title, there are more books with them in.

Next I’m going to talk about how the book handled the sexism of the small town as they freak out about Billie-Jo joining the once previous all male ice hockey league. She does it because she’s stubborn at end she loves hockey. People seem to react badly because of sexism and not wanting to admit that she’s better than all of them at hockey. I think the book handled it well. I wanted to throttle several people but it had some excellent put downs and the addition of the younger girls’ hockey team was spot on. I also think when Billie-Jo was honest with herself that it wasn’t just the concussions that forced her into early retirement but how her old team was very quick to give up on her, much quicker than they would have been if she had a penis, was very interesting. I wish they could have developed this a lot more although they did cover it quite a bit.

The least developed part was the romance between Billie-Jo and Logan. Whether it was because I found myself disliking Logan a little or maybe I’m just expecting too much, but I couldn’t see why they ended up together in the end. They were physically attracted to each other, no question, but they didn’t seem to talk outside of that before they had decided they wanted to be with each other for good. Plus you know, the foundation of their relationship being Billie-Jo’s lie and all the consent issues surrounding that was not a good start to the relationship.

Logan’s casual sexist thoughts towards Sabrina drove me up the wall as well. Because apparently he only cares about sexism when it’s directed at someone he cares about. Not an evil guy but could use work as a romantic hero.

I think if I hadn’t been an ice hockey fan that enjoys books about female hockey players, I probably wouldn’t have even finished this. If I could give it two and a half stars I would, but instead I’m going to be generous and give it three. Mostly because I want to see more stories with ice hockey in.

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