Thursday, February 19, 2015

Review: Joyride by Anna Banks

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.

I've had a few Anna Banks books on my To Read list for a really long time and when this one came up, I just had to get my hands on it. Just to kind of recap the summary, it's about a girl (Carly) whose parents were deported years ago and she is working herself into the ground trying to help her brother save up enough money so that they can pay to have her parents smuggled back into the country. She teams up with a popular guy in school (Arden) and they start pranking people who have offended society in some way. Shit hits the fan when Arden's racist father (who happens to also be the town sheriff) first meets Carly. That's all the info that you're getting from me on this one. I don't want to spoil any of the surprises for you.

So. Let's see ... where to start ... I guess I should say that I'm thankful that I have some friends who fluently speak Spanish. Not that it actually helped me ... I only know one word ... chanklas ... which means sandal. That wasn't in the book and it was a bit of a let down. I kind of knew what most of the words and phrases meant. The book doesn't have a whole heck of a lot of Spanish in it but I wanted to impress you with my vast knowledge of the translation of sandal, so I decided to include this. Really, you can just skip this paragraph. 

The book was ... good. I thought the storyline was interesting, I haven't read anything remotely like it in the past and that was refreshing in itself. It was an interesting take on devotion to your family. It was a little sad, to be honest. I can only imagine the stresses that Carly was under. No, I can't imagine. It must have just been horrific. Anyway, the family dynamic with Carly and Julio was pretty interesting. 

Unfortunately, as good as the premise of the storyline was, I found the characters to be utterly ... forgettable. I hate saying that but I just felt like the book only scratched the surface on them. I would have liked to have gotten a little more info on who they were. They felt unfinished to me. I didn't really get attached to any character and while it was sad to read, I didn't actually feel sad for the characters. It didn't move me. The characters went through quite a bit within these pages and I just felt ... nothing. I grew more attached to one of the secondary characters than I did the main ones. And that is saying a lot, I think. 

Now the ending. Ugh. I was a bit disappointed. More than disappointed. When you get to the climax of the story, I WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS!! I want to be able to read what happens, I don't want to be told about it in the next chapter from one of the character's point of view, I want to actually READ about it happening. Of course, this is just a personal reading preference but I was really let down. I mean, the entire freaking book is leading up to this certain point and then it was like getting to the top of the rollercoaster only to realize the rest of the ride is just ... flat. Flat, I say. I don't know, it just kinda ruined the entire experience for me. I don't know if this author is for me after all. It's a sad day. 

Available: June 2nd, 2015

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