Book Reviews

The Next Competitor by K.P. Kincaid at Prizm Books

Genre Contemporary / Athletes / Young Adult / Gay Romance
Reviewed by Jamie Deacon on 29-September-2012

Book Blurb

It’s the all-important Olympic season and eighteen-year-old American figure skater Alex Grady is discovering that there are many obstacles along the way on his quest to win a gold medal. For starters, he has to get through endless hours of practice under the watchful eye of his stern and slightly terrifying Russian coach. Then he has to contend with his all-American rival, Tanner Nielsen. Tanner has the talent, looks, poise and picture-perfect girlfriend that make him the ideal poster boy for United States figure skating.

Alex has the talent and his looks aren’t bad, but the filter between his brain and his mouth is missing, and he definitely doesn’t have a girlfriend. He doesn’t have a boyfriend either, although he finds himself thinking far too much about pairs skater Matt Savelli, which is ridiculous, since goody two-shoes Matt is totally not his type. Besides, Alex doesn’t have time to worry about dating, not with the Olympics looming, right? Can he find a way to go for the gold and still remain true to himself?

Age Range: 16 and up

Book Review

Being the best isn’t easy, something eighteen-year-old Alex Grady knows only too well. Taking place in the world of professional figure skating, this is a vivid account of competing at the highest level. It leads the reader through Alex’s highs and lows, from the grueling training sessions and constant bruises, to the adrenaline rush that comes with performing for a crowd, as we follow him on his quest to win big at the Olympics.

Alex is single-minded, confident in his ability, and often too self-centered to spare a thought for those around him. Still, he needs to be if he’s going to overcome the obstacles that stand between him and Olympic gold. For starters there’s his arch-rival Tannor Nielson, the nation’s favorite with his golden looks and perfect girlfriend. Alex has beaten him once, but can he do it again when it counts? Most challenging of all though is the quad, the one jump he just can’t seem to master, and which he’s sure will make or break his Olympic chances. If the pressure Alex puts on himself takes much of the enjoyment out of competing, it’s a price worth paying. He has his sights set on the prize and nothing will get in his way.

When, during training, Alex’s eyes are increasingly drawn to pairs skater Matt Savelli, he’s confused. Matt might be good-looking, but he’s not his type. He’s too steady, too serious. Then an accident on the ice brings the two boys together, and Alex discovers there’s more to Matt than he first supposed. Before he realizes what’s happening, he finds himself falling in love. But the timing is all wrong. There’s no room in his life right now for a boyfriend, not with the upcoming Olympics consuming every ounce of his energy. Pushing Matt away seems the only choice if he’s to maintain his focus. What he doesn’t count on is the gaping hole Matt’s absence creates in his heart. Is there any way he can win back Matt and still go for gold?     

This is a poignant and often humorous story about pursuing a dream, and discovering that, sometimes, winning doesn’t have to be everything. Alex’s voice shines through every word, and I totally fell in love with him, for all his arrogant self-absorption. The author’s knowledge of figure skating and the Olympic process impressed me greatly and really brings the narrative to life. Not that I believe you need to be a fan of skating, or indeed of sport in general, to appreciate this novel. Anyone who enjoys a good teen romance, and who has ever worked hard to achieve a long-cherished ambition, will surely identify with Alex and his struggles.



DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Prizm Books for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 236 pages/63000 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 13-January-2010
Price $6.99
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