‘Being Sloane Jacobs’ and an Interview With Lauren Morrill

I was picked last for every game of dodgeball in gym class, I can’t spike a volleyball to save my life (let’s hope I never have to try) and despite attending every single one of my high school’s football games, I still couldn’t tell you the actual rules of the game. But this isn’t about me or the many humiliations I suffered as an uncoordinated child who would rather go to the dentist than play team sports. The point I’m trying to make is that you don’t have to be a sports fan to love Lauren Morrill’s newest book, Being Sloane Jacobs. Yes, it’s about figure skating and hockey, but trust me, even if you’re allergic to sports you’ll still love this book.

Sloane Devon Jacobs is a hockey player who has a lot of aggression and some problems with her game. Sloane Emily Jacobs is a figure skater with some serious family drama. When the two girls meet up on the way to their respective ice camps, they decide to switch places and escape their own problems. Sloane Devon, who never met a sequin she didn’t hate, has to learn how to do complicated routines and deal with skating primadonnas. Meanwhile, Sloane Emily has to figure out how to play hockey while trying not to get killed by her super-competitive roommate.

Being Sloane Jacobs was super cute, super hilarious and a totally fun read. I’m a big fan of the “two people switch places and fool everyone around them” plot line (see: The Parent Trap), and Being Sloane Jacobs pulled it off awesomely. Both Sloanes make new friends, work through issues with their families, learn a new sport and meet some dudes. Duh. Did you guys think I would recommend a book that didn’t involve romance?

Lauren Morrill was nice enough to answer my questions about Being Sloane Jacobs, skating and (of course) food.

Q. Since a lot of HelloGiggles readers are in high school, can you tell us what you were like back then?

A. I struggled with how to answer this question, because oh my … high school. Eek! I had a good time with my friends, but I definitely wasn’t a popular kid. I was editor of the paper and mostly hung out with the kids who cared about grades and books … nowadays, with how awesome it is to be a nerd, we probably would have been pretty cool. But in 1998-2001? Not so much. Ultimately, I decided to illustrate my answer. You see, every year the centerfold of the yearbook would be a full class shot taken at the stadium. Well, all the “popular” gals had these senior angels shirts made up and wore them for the picture, and in some kind of weird protest to their shirts and popularity, my friends and I all wore black and stood together, arms linked. I think that tells you pretty much all you need to know about me in high school!

Q. After finishing Being Sloane Jacobs, I totally fell down a skating rabbit hole and ended up watching a ton of figure skating routines on YouTube (and then got sucked into reading about Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan drama, but that’s a whole different story). Did you have to do a ton of research to learn about the world of skating?

A. I did exactly what you did! I watched a ton of figure skating on YouTube. I also bought a copy of Nancy Kerrigan’s book Artistry on Ice, which gave me all the basics on training and competition. I also watched pretty much every ice/Olympics movie you can think of … Cutting Edge, Mighty Ducks, Ice Castles, Cool Runnings … it really helped get me in the right mindset! I also hit up a Boston Bruins game with a friend who knew a lot about the game to help me with all the hockey scenes.

Q. BSJ is written from two perspectives–Sloane Emily’s and Sloane Devon’s. Was it hard to create two distinct voices? Did you relate more to one of the Sloanes?

A. The Sloanes were so different that I didn’t have a hard time keeping their perspectives separate. Each Sloane represented a part of me, but turned up to 11. While writing Sloane Devon, I had a good time exploring her aggression and competitive edge. And with Sloane Emily, I really liked harnessing her cool, controlled personality. I also really loved her fashion sense.

Q. How did writing your second book differ from writing your first book, Meant to Be?

A. Every book is a new experience, and every book is hard. That being said, I loved writing Being Sloane Jacobs. The characters were so fun (I still have Andy hanging around in the back of my mind, giving me advice and making me laugh), and I loved getting to explore the world of female athletes. When I started writing BSJ, I was also starting my fourth season of roller derby with the Boston Derby Dames, and I had a great time letting the personalities and experiences of some of the incredible athletes I skated with every day bleed into the pages of the story. I can’t wait for people to read this book!

Q. What can we look forward to seeing from you next?

A. My editor at Random House just picked up two more books from me! First up is THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY (Fall 2015), which is set on a band trip on a cruise ship. I’m writing it now, and I’m having so much fun with the characters and setting. After that, I have MY UNSCRIPTED SUMMER (Fall 2016), which is inspired my time working as an extra on The Vampire Diaries and The Originals. It’s set in a tiny southern town that’s turned upside down what a movie comes to film in town. It’s full of very Stars Hollow-esque characters and one very swoony dude.

Q. Lastly, I like to ask every author I interview this very important question: If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

A. Can I cheat and say pasta in any and all of its forms? I’m so glad I married an Italian dude who makes the most amazing pasta from scratch and can crank out any kind of sauce. His carbonara is TO DIE FOR. And life without mac ‘n cheese is not a life I’m interested in living …

Well, now I’m definitely looking forward to Lauren’s next books. And also I want pasta. Thanks to Lauren for answering my questions! Have you guys read Meant to Be or Being Sloane Jacobs? Let me know in the comments! And, as always, I love to hear your suggestions for books to feature in Young Adult Education. Leave a comment, email me at [email protected] or find me on Twitter @KerryAnn.

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