Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Upcoming Release & Review: Joyride by Anna Banks

Expected publication: June 2, 2015
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
A popular guy and a shy girl with a secret become unlikely accomplices for midnight pranking, and are soon in over their heads—with the law and with each other—in this sparkling standalone from NYT-bestselling author Anna Banks.

It’s been years since Carly Vega’s parents were deported. She lives with her brother, studies hard, and works at a convenience store to contribute to getting her parents back from Mexico.

Arden Moss used to be the star quarterback at school. He dated popular blondes and had fun with his older sister, Amber. But now Amber’s dead, and Arden blames his father, the town sheriff who wouldn’t acknowledge Amber's mental illness. Arden refuses to fulfill whatever his conservative father expects.

All Carly wants is to stay under the radar and do what her family expects. All Arden wants is to NOT do what his family expects. When their paths cross, they each realize they’ve been living according to others. Carly and Arden’s journey toward their true hearts—and one another—is funny, romantic, and sometimes harsh.

My Thoughts
Joyride by Anna Banks is a great YA Contemporary that carries a worthy plot that is not commonly found in Young Adult. A story about the struggles of immigration, prejudice and finding love despite the challenges life brings you is always a story I’m ready to read.

Sixteen year old Carly Vega is no stranger to hard work and constant struggle. She and her brother Julio have not seen their parents since they were deported back to Mexico over three years ago. Since then, Carly and Julio have worked long and hard hours to earn money to bring them back to the states so they can be a family again. However, as important as this is to Carly, she know that the only way she can truly help her family is if she gets a good education to further her chances of a better future.

Arden Moss has lived a somewhat privileged life. Being the son of the local sheriff, he embraces the joys of breaking the rules and causing havoc during his midnight escapades. However, since his sister, who was also his partner-in-crime, died about a year ago, he hasn’t enjoyed his rule-breaking tendences... that is until he meets Carly, a gutsy girl who pulls a gun on him the night he decides to prank an old man with a drinking problem.

I fell for Carly immediately! There was no doubt I’d come to like this head-strong girl that was determined to make a better life for herself. I admired her efforts of trying to get a good education, but never losing sight of helping her family. However, there were moments when I felt she was being taken advantage of by her family, and I somewhat resented them. Expecting her to put her needs and education to the side for the sake of her mother, father and younger siblings seemed a bit unfair and an unrealistic expectation to put on a sixteen year old. I hate to admit, but I experienced small moments of joy when she saved some of her hard earned money and spent it on herself – buying a few pieces of extra clothes and a much needed computer to do her homework. I wanted so much more for this character than what her family felt she deserved.

Arden Moss was a great compliment to Carly. I liked him almost immediately... almost. I’ll admit it took me a chapter or two to warm up to him after he stole Carly’s bike, but he more than made up for it. His intentions were always good and when he made that one fatal mistake that cost Carly a ton, the remorse he felt permeated through the pages of the book. I felt it ten-fold! I only wish his perspective wasn't told in the third person. I'm sure the connection would have been even deeper if I would have heard his story from him directly.

I applaud Anna Banks for crafting a multilayered story about struggling with life, growing up with unrealistic expectations on your shoulders, falling in love with someone so different from yourself, learning to trust, and finding ways to fit in when your culture and inherent responsibilities make you feel like such an outsider. Banks has proven that she knows what it takes to pen a realistic novel that leaves you caring for the characters long after you’ve finished their story. Well done!!
4 Snowflakes

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