When your enemy dies under strange circumstances? Don’t stop looking over your shoulder.
When secrets of a past scandal are plopped into your lap? Solve a mystery.
And when you’re a member of the National ski team? Don’t get distracted.
Roxie’s senior year at Stark Springs Academy is not what she envisioned. She never intended to be privy to Stark’s biggest secrets, but she’s thrown right into the middle of it, whether she wants to carry that burden or not. As Ryker Black’s girlfriend, nothing is simple or straightforward. A ski racer first and foremost, Roxie can’t let the ghosts of Stark Springs Academy distract her from the race course. Will she be able to pull it off?
Ali Dean wraps up Roxie’s story, tying up all loose ends in a satisfying conclusion, but it still lacks that angsty romance angle that she is so famous for. With Roxie and Ryker on solid ground, there wasn’t much in the way of romance. No, “will they or won’t they,” so instead we’re given a nice little mystery that only becomes more mysterious as the story unfolds. There’s a lot more skiing this time around, which makes me happy.
TRoxie and Ryker are busy trying to solve a mystery surrounding the death of a major character at the end of book 2, and someone is placing Ryker’s mother’s journals in Roxie’s possession for unknown reasons, although she begins to wonder if all of the crazy behavior is somehow linked. In addition, she has some big career choices to make as graduation looms and her skiing is only getting better.. A lot of information introduced in the first two books finally plays out to conclusion. Ali Dean does a great job with plotting her books, dangling information that seems unimportant at first glance, but never is.
Because Ryker and Roxie’s relationship is pretty well wrapped up in the first two books, this one focuses little on that aspect, but they do finally seal the deal in a romantic scene that is only the beginning to many more that take place off-page.
Both Ryker and Roxie experienced serious character growth, as do several secondary characters. The one thing that really bothered me throughout the book was the way Roxie spoke for both Ryker and herself when it came to thoughts and feelings, as if she was inside his head as well as her own.
What Didn’t Work for Me
1. Lack of angst. Yeah, it’s my favorite teen romantic trope, and one of the things I usually love best about Ali Dean’s books, but was completely missing this time around.
2. The Roxie/Ryker dynamic. Throughout the book, Roxie talks about “we” when it comes to feeling confused or wondering something, as if she and Ryker are a single entity. Because she knew what he was thinking all the time, there wouldn’t have been any angst anyway.
What I Enjoyed About Black Ice
1. The skiing. So excited for this aspect of the series to be front and center in the final book. Ali Dean delivers scene after scene that are intense and realistic.
2. The mystery. There are actually several mysterious elements threaded throughout the book and all were well done with a couple of real surprises.
3. The ending. A thoroughly satisfying conclusion to the series.
4. Ryker and Roxie. They are super cute and sweet and I’m thrilled to see them get their HEA.
5. Redemption. A couple of characters we’d come to love to hate have their own transformation, turning them into people I could actually like.
Double Ice is a satisfying conclusion of the Stark Springs Academy series, although it lacks some of that famous Ali Dean angst I’ve come to love.
About the Book
Title: Black Ice
Series: Stark Springs Academy #3
Author: Ali Dean
Release Date: August 31, 2016
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary/Sports Romance
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
About the Author
Ali Dean lives in Colorado with her husband, twin babies, and golden retriever. In addition to reading and writing, she loves the outdoors- everything from marathon training and biking to snowboarding and skiing.