“Open Ice” by Pat Hughes

22 Aug


Nick is an all-star hockey player and one of the most respected players and students on his high school hockey team. However, he never looks up when he handles the puck. This creates a problem when the other team decides to check him. The first time he gets a grade one concussion, the second time he gets a grade two, and the third time he gets a grade three and is completely knocked out. Nick is in the hospital getting analyzed and has trouble remembering things. He is told to hold off on hockey, stay home from school, and rest. When the doctor calls him back for another visit, things are not looking so great, and Nick’s life might have to change forever.

"Open Ice" is an awesome novel, a must-read, and very realistic.


Posted by on August 22, 2006 in Uncategorized


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11 responses to ““Open Ice” by Pat Hughes

  1. Anonymous

    April 10, 2007 at 12:41 am


    I checked this book out of the YA section for my 12 yr. old son. I feel this book is really for much older teens and should not have been in the YA section. Story contains raw references to alcohol, sex, drugs, pot smoking and a lot of foul language. I am not for censorship just proper labeling in a public library

    • mel1317

      April 10, 2007 at 1:42 pm

      Re: hmmm

      You’re exactly right in that “Open Ice” is recommended for older teens, in grades 9 and up. The Teen section of the Kinnelon Public Library contains materials for young people in grades six through twelve, which is quite a range. As such, some materials may not be appropriate for younger children. We always recommend that parents do some research first — either checking reviews or scanning the books themselves — if they are concerned. We cannot and will not label books based on their possibly objectionable content, since what is objectionable to one person may not be objectionable to another.

      When I write my reviews for this blog, I always try to present recommended age ranges and note violent content, drug references, etc. As this particular review indicates, it was written by a teen patron, and so does not contain those age recommendations. I would strongly encourage you to look up the books in the MAIN Library Catalog, as the “More Information” link usually contains reviews and age guidelines. For example, if you open the record in the online catalog for “Open Ice” and click on the “More Information” tab, you will see reviews from both School Library Journal and Booklist. Both reviews suggest a grade 9 and up audience for this particular book, noting the obscenities, sex, and drug use.

      We also have several Read-Alike brochures on display in the Teen section, which are designed to provide reading recommendations to our teen audience. Those brochures will note books that are “middle-school friendly.” In the “Sports Books” brochure that we currently have on display, “Open Ice” is clearly not suggested for middle school students.

      If you need help locating other sources of book reviews and/or age guidelines, please don’t hesitate to talk to one of the librarians here. Thank you for voicing your concerns.

      • Anonymous

        August 23, 2007 at 12:20 am

        Re: hmmm

        The author of “Open Ice” would just like to say … hurrah and thank you to the KPL librarian who wrote the above reply! In addition, I would point out that the front jacket flap of “Open Ice” clearly states “14 & up” … as I discuss on my Web site, it’s not about reading level, it’s about subject matter. Check it out:

        … and thanks also to KPL for having “Open Ice” on its shelves!

        Pat Hughes

      • mel1317

        August 23, 2007 at 3:38 pm

        Re: hmmm

        I loved the link, thanks for sending it! That’s an issue we face quite a bit here, reading level vs. subject matter level. I’m glad to talk to parents about finding books that their kids can and should read. There is so much information available about books today — whether in print or on a myriad of online sites — that, hopefully, everyone can make good, informed decisions.

        By the way, I’ve heard nothing but positive feedback on your book. Congrats!

        And, for our lazy blog readers, here’s an active link to the page Pat mentioned:

        Pat Hughes Page. Thanks again!

  2. Anonymous

    August 17, 2007 at 1:48 am

    This book was really well written and definately is a must read. There is something in it for everybody…it’s funny yet serious at the same time…and the situation and emotions all in all are really well written.

    • mel1317

      August 21, 2007 at 3:39 pm

      Thanks for your comment! It’s so great to find a book that can be enjoyed by lots of different people. I’m so glad you liked it. Of the sports books I’ve read recently, I really enjoyed “Raiders Night,” a story about the problem of steroids in high school football. Also, we just received the new John Feinstein book (he’s the author of two sports mysteries, “Vanishing Act” and “Last Shot”). It’s called “Cover-Up,” and I can’t wait to read it!

  3. Anonymous

    May 6, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    it was awesome and i could totaly relate to nick’s situation

    • mel1317

      May 8, 2008 at 3:06 pm

      Excellent, thanks for letting us know. There definitely aren’t a lot of teen hockey books out there, which is a shame. At least “Open Ice” is a particularly good one that really reflects teen life. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  4. mel1317

    December 20, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Re: hmmm

    Wow, thanks for posting. You can find more hockey books in the KPL Teen Sports Books brochure. This link will take you to a PDF version, or you can click over on the right side of this page under the blue heading that says “Read-Alikes.”

    I hope you are feeling much better!

  5. Anonymous

    January 7, 2011 at 3:54 am

    This book is awesome! I absolutely loved it! I can totally relate to Nick. Every teenager should read this to get a grasp on relationships and see how harsh they can be.

    • mel1317

      January 10, 2011 at 3:17 am

      Rock on! I’m so glad you took the time to share your thoughts. Happy new year!


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