Book Reviews

Review: Icebreaker by A.L. Graziadei

I am not a sports fan. Like at all, but when I heard about Icebreaker I was instantly intrigued. After winning the audio book, I knew I had to immediately start listening. And I am not disappointed at all. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


Seventeen-year-old Mickey James III is a college freshman, a brother to five sisters, and a hockey legacy. With a father and a grandfather who have gone down in NHL history, Mickey is almost guaranteed the league’s top draft spot.

The only person standing in his way is Jaysen Caulfield, a contender for the #1 spot and Mickey’s infuriating (and infuriatingly attractive) teammate. When rivalry turns to something more, Mickey will have to decide what he really wants, and what he’s willing to risk for it.

This is a story about falling in love, finding your team (on and off the ice), and choosing your own path.


TW: depression, trichotillimania, homophobia

The first thing that intrigued me, as the opposite of a sports fan, was the sexism and homophobia in the hockey world. To be honest, I wasn’t surprised, but the entire hocked aspect of this book was entirely new to me. I loved reading about the training and the hockey shots – it felt kind of like a battle scene. Then I fell into the rivalry between Mickey and Jaysen. Icebreaker is perfect for fans of rivals to romance. This thick smog of tension in their barbed comments and on the ice.

There’s a heat to their interactions that quickly boils over. But what I loved about this element in Icebreaker, is that Graziadei allows their interactions to develop. To slowly open up to see each other as potential friends, if not just not enemies. Mickey is a main character who is shouldering the weight of a legacy on his shoulders. At the same time he’s examining his potential for the future – and the terror – he’s also questioning his sexuality. So to watch Mickey truly bloom as a character is one of the joys of Icebreaker.

Tom Picasso, the narrator, was able to effectively communicate Mickey’s emotional conflicts. The pain and tension in his voice. In many ways, Picasso brings to life the raw emotional soul searching in Icebreaker. All the ways Mickey has to figure out what he truly wants in life – that the one path we think we’re on, isn’t the only one. Icebreaker is also full of little elements I loved: like his relationship with his sister, the complex conflicts with his father, and his own navigation of mental health.

(Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. For more information you can look at the Policy page. If you’re uncomfortable with that, know you can look up the book on any of the sites below to avoid the link)

I thought Icebreaker was going to be all about hockey and rivalry. And while those are crucial, integral, parts of the book, it’s also an important story about mental health and dreams. About how important it is for us to question our own dreams and find those who love and support us. Find Icebreaker on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound,, The Book Depository, & Google Play.


Do you have a favorite sports YA?

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.