66 pages 2 hours read

Hannah Grace


Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2022

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Summary and Study Guide


As Hannah Grace’s debut novel, Icebreaker is the first in a planned series based on the fictional University of California, Maple Hills (UCMH). Originally published on the self-publishing platform Wattpad, Icebreaker was eventually picked up by Atria Books and published as a paperback in 2022. Grace’s novel is a hockey romance, which is a subgenre of the new adult romance genre. The story follows the developing relationship between hockey player Nathan Hawkins and figure skater Anastasia Allen, two likely enemies who navigate their respective athletic and college careers while falling in love. It also features many sexually explicit scenes and is considered “spicy” even among fans of the romance genre. Often compared to other sports romance novels like Elle Kennedy’s Off-Campus series, Icebreaker became a favorite among romance fans on the social media platform TikTok, and Grace continues to post bonus chapters of the novel on her website.

This guide refers to the 2022 Atria Books paperback.

Content Warning: The protagonist of Icebreaker, Anastasia Allen, deals with anxiety, disordered eating, and an abusive relationship with her skating partner.

Plot Summary

Anastasia Allen is a figure skater at the University of California, Maple Hills and is training to become an Olympic athlete along with her friend and skating partner, Aaron Carlisle. She lives with Aaron and her best friend Lola and fends off anxiety by seeing a therapist, avoiding romantic relationships, and controlling her life with a day planner. Nathan Hawkins is the captain of the college hockey team and will join the National Hockey League (NHL) when he graduates. He lives with his teammates, Henry and Jaiden (JJ), and his best friend Robbie. When the hockey team’s ice rink is destroyed by pranksters, the athletic director forces the figure skaters to share their rink, a situation that inevitably leads to a meeting between Nathan and Anastasia. Anastasia hates hockey players and especially dislikes Nathan after he lies to her and claims that his team was not involved in the prank. Although she fends off his attempts at friendship, they keep running into each other both at the ice rink and elsewhere, because their respective friends Lola and Robbie start dating.

At one of Nathan’s parties, their antagonistic relationship turns into a sexual encounter, after which Anastasia flees the scene and avoids Nathan for a week. However, they cannot avoid each other, and they end up having more intense sexual encounters, including one incident in a crowded Uber. Over time, their relationship changes from enemies to friends who have casual sex. Meanwhile, Aaron becomes increasingly possessive of Anastasia. On Halloween, Aaron hurts his wrist playing football with his University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) friends and lies about it, blaming Nathan. Coach Faulkner threatens to cancel the season, and Nathan decides to take the blame for something he didn’t do, sacrificing his own reputation for the good of the team. As punishment, Nathan is banned from the hockey team until Aaron is cleared to skate.

Anastasia doesn’t know whether to trust Nathan or Aaron, and she doesn’t speak to Nathan for two weeks. During that time, she realizes that she has feelings for him. Her therapist recommends that she tell Nathan her feelings, set boundaries with her parents, and protect herself when dealing with Aaron. After two weeks, Anastasia and Aaron qualify at sectionals, but Aaron re-injures himself when he drops Anastasia on the ice; the injury sidelines both him and Nathan for another eight weeks. When Nathan checks on Anastasia after her fall, they confess their feelings for each other. Nathan offers to be Anastasia’s practice skating partner and helps her to rebuild her confidence after Aaron dropped her. When Aaron becomes jealous of this new arrangement, Anastasia moves in with Nathan, and they get to know each other better as friends. They make a pact not to have sex as long as they are skating partners, and Nathan helps Anastasia to overcome her fear of being picked up again.

It doesn’t take long for them to break their pact. They soon become physically intimate again, and they start to refer to each other as boyfriend and girlfriend. When the hockey team throws a Christmas party, Aaron shows up drunk and insults Anastasia, so Henry beats him up. Nathan comforts Anastasia afterward, and they reaffirm their relationship. Nathan’s roommates tell Anastasia that they like her living there, too, and Lola agrees that they need to talk about making new living arrangements after winter break. Anastasia takes Nathan to Seattle to meet her parents, and then Nathan takes Anastasia to his home in Colorado. While there, Anastasia falls through the ice in Nathan’s backyard, and Nathan saves her. They confess their love to each other. Nathan’s sister and father arrive early from vacation, and Anastasia meets them, making friends with his sister.

After winter break, Aaron is finally cleared to skate, and Nathan returns to the hockey team. Anastasia decides to attend therapy sessions with Aaron and move back in with him to prepare for nationals. Nathan disagrees with her decision because he worries about her and doesn’t trust Aaron. This conflict leads to multiple arguments. Eventually, Nathan apologizes to Anastasia for his lack of trust, and their relationship is stronger than ever. Anastasia and Aaron skate well at nationals, but during their first routine, Aaron kisses Anastasia against her will. Nathan punches Aaron, and Anastasia quits before the national competition concludes. She moves back in with Nathan. Aaron eventually transfers to UCLA, and the hockey team wins the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship. Two years later, Anastasia wins a gold medal in women’s singles, and Nathan wins the Stanley Cup with the Vancouver NHL team. They live in Seattle with their golden retriever Bunny, and Anastasia becomes pregnant. During a vacation in Mexico, Nathan proposes marriage, and she says yes.