Scott Caldwell isn’t quite sure how things got this bad, but he knows how it started. The death of his brother, Luke, four years ago sent him spiraling into a deep well of self-destruction. Now it’s cost him a year of hockey and threatens his relationships with the friends and family he loves the most. Scott’s got no place to live and the mandated grief counseling required by the school seems like an additional burden. Then he meets Hayne, a member of the grief support group and a wonderfully talented artist.
Their relationship is a slow and fragile thing, both men wondering if they’re capable of building something that will last. Scott has the tangled mess of his own life to try and sort out and he doesn’t want to stand in Hayne’s way. The young artist is going places and Scott comes with a lot of baggage. But amid the misunderstandings and moments of doubt, Scott and Hayne will have to decide if they’re stronger together than they are apart.
Scott is the second in the Owatonna U Hockey series, following Ryker. This series is an offshoot from the Harrisburg Railers series and while you don’t have to read those books to follow Owatonna, there are a lot of character crossovers and plot references. So you’ll probably enjoy things more if you have at least passing familiarity with the world of the Harrisburg Railers.
On the whole, I found Scott rather disappointing. I failed to connect with either Scott or Hayne and their relationship never quite made sense to me. There is almost zero hockey action here and that offered another level of disconnection. There isn’t anything wrong with Scott or Hayne as characters, but I didn’t feel that either had much depth. Even when discussing their grief and the losses that made such profound impacts on their life, I just didn’t find them particularly multi-dimensional.
As a result, their relationship was rather flat. I never really understood why Hayne and Scott were together save through circumstance. Their romance was something that happened, but without really connecting to the rest of the story. While Scott especially has multiple obstacles to overcome through the book, they seem to resolve easily and without the kind of seriousness that I’ve come to expect from these series. Scott is written well enough from a technical point of view and it has the same easy pacing and natural voice that have become hallmarks for both the Harrisburg Railers and Owatonna series. This one just lacked substance and, as a result, the story and its characters failed to make a significant impression on me.
Scott is the first book I’ve come across in these series that I really failed to enjoy. There wasn’t much by way of scaffolding here. The characters and the story felt somewhat superficial and the spark I hoped to find between Scott and Hayne never materialized. Long time fans of the Harrisburg Railers and Owatonna U may still want to read this one just to maintain continuity, but this one is definitely something of a weak link.