Name: Keely Dunn
Title: The Only One
Genre: YA Contemporary
When 15 year-old Shae Mackenna loses her mother to cancer, she also loses her school, her friends and her ice hockey team in just one summer. Forced to move away and live with her father in a small town, she must either fight for a spot on an all-boys' team or give up on the game she loves. Can Shae convince the doubters that she really belongs on the ice?
Shae Mackenna inhaled deeply as she walked down the cinder-block hallway, skate blades cushioned by the rubber carpeting underfoot. The stench of rancid hockey equipment almost overwhelmed the tang of frozen brinewater. She was home.
She let out her breath as she arrived at the players’ bench, stepping towards the closed gate blocking her from the ice. Shae waited to make eye contact with any of the men out on the ice. After she rapped her stick over the boards, one finally looked her way.
“Hey,” she called out through her helmet cage. “Can I play?”
The nearest players glided to a stop in front of her, open-mouthed, red-faced and puffing. They looked at each other, each waiting for the other guy to answer her question.
“I said: Can I play?” Shae asked again, drawing out each word enough to be clear but not so slowly as to insult them. She puffed out her chest a bit, looking several of the guys straight in the eye. It was a minor detail that ice level was a few inches lower than the bench area; right now, she needed every inch she could get.
“Look, no offence, sweetheart…” started one of the chubbier, shorter players. Shae had to stop from rolling her eyes. Calling her sweetheart was only something her dad could get away with. It wasn’t cool from a total stranger, especially some out-of-shape plug.
“What’s the big deal?” she asked, keeping her tone casual. “Give me five minutes. If I can’t hack it, I’ll leave.”