Review: Spiraling by Rachel Cross

spiralingReviewed by Janell

In this contemporary, Amy is a former competitive ice skater who currently skates as a princess in a traveling ice show. Shane is a former boy band member and current actor. He’s tired of being typecast and wants to audition for a gritty drama, playing the part of a hockey player. Since he doesn’t know how to ice skate, Shane takes private lessons from Amy.

Shane likes women. The book begins with him deep inside one, actually, although he doesn’t know her name. He doesn’t do relationships or fidelity, he just does women. Unfortunately, he’s been caught a few too many times with his pants down (literally), and his costars fighting over him causes on-set drama, so his Hollywood reputation is tanking.

Amy needs another year in the ice show. She’s getting older, and a lifetime of skating has left her body pretty damaged, so she doesn’t have much time left. At 26, she’s almost too old to play a princess, and management is looking to replace her.

Shane and Amy are attracted to each other, and they quickly realize that a fake relationship will save Shane’s reputation and make Amy a hot commodity. After a few dates, the press picks up on the new couple and Amy is re-signed to the ice show. Happiness and rainbows, right?

The beginning was almost too easy, and I was put off by some expository dialogue and some vocabulary choices that took me out of the story. I also had trouble with the passage of time, because several chapters would begin days later, or weeks later. Plus, Shane kept ogling Amy, and I didn’t want to read endless descriptions of his tight pants.

But then their deeper issues came to the surface as their relationship became more real, and I was like, whoa. I had a revelation: you know how a lot of books have angsty characters with troubled pasts who mope around all whiny and self-loathing? This book was kind of the opposite of that. Both characters had similarly troubled pasts (fame at a young age, unsupportive parents, unsupervised world travel), but when the story begins, they have both moved on and are trying to succeed in a new life. They appear fairly well-adjusted, they have friends, they enjoy life, and they are proud of themselves.

Then, as they come to care for each other, they realize that love doesn’t solve everything! Their internal struggles still exist, they’ve just been hidden for a while! It’s such a mature idea. When the crisis comes along and they break up (hope that’s not too spoilery, every romance has a breakup), their path back to each other is difficult. It’s not “I have enough love for the both of us,” it’s “I need to love myself or this will never work.” It was more realistic than I was expecting.

Shane’s journey is especially impressive. He works hard physically and emotionally to become a better person, and he’s got a lot of work to do so his dedication is admirable. Amy’s issues aren’t as shocking as Shane’s, but they did give me an interesting glimpse into the world of competitive figure skating. Basically, at the end, I really believed that they could make it work.

Rating: B

*ARC Provided by Crimson Romance

Click to purchase: Amazon

by Rachel Cross
Release Date: January 27, 2014
Publisher: Crimson Romance

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