cover image Home or Away

Home or Away

Kathleen West. Berkley, $27 (368p) ISBN 978-0-593-33550-5

In West’s charming latest (after Are We There Yet?), a former Olympic hopeful moves her family back to her Minnesota hometown in hopes of giving her nine-year-old son his best chance to play hockey. Two decades earlier, Leigh MacKenzie was cut from the 2002 U.S. women’s Olympic hockey team despite reassurances from her coach, Jeff Carlson, that she’d get a spot in return for sexual favors. Now, with a member of the 2014 team having filed a complaint against Jeff for sexual misconduct, and Jeff pulling the strings for the junior team, he gets Leigh to write a letter of support in exchange for a jersey for Gus. She also reconnects with an old friend and teammate, Suzy Walker, the only one who knows the truth about how Jeff treated Leigh. Suzy won two Olympic medals, but she covets Leigh’s steady marriage with Charlie, “the nicest person in the universe.” Gus, meanwhile, logs his ice time religiously in his “Hockey Bible,” hoping to please his family and coaches. While a few too many hockey practices and Leigh’s perseverating on her past relationship with Jeff drag on the narrative, West makes palpable her characters’ love for the game. This offers a sincere and thoughtful study of dedication and sacrifice. Agent: Joanna MacKenzie, Nelson Literary. (Mar.)