Book Review: Joyride (YA)

Joyride by Anna Banks

Goodreads Summary:
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 Review:
This book is almost a modern day Romeo and Juliet, minus the suicide pact. Carly is Mexican, Arden is white. And his father happens to be the extremely racist, small-town sheriff. While they’ve been going to school together for almost three years, Arden doesn’t truly notice Carly until he’s planning a late night prank on his (great) Uncle Cletus.

From their first interaction it’s all spitfire from Carly and determination from Arden. I thoroughly enjoyed the hate turned love plot. Both Arden and Carly are suffering from the loss of their family members. They’re both lonely.

Carly is working harder than any teen should have to work, helping her brother raise enough money to smuggle her parent and younger siblings into the United States. I was angered a little by her family’s attitude towards work vs. education, but I know that it is probably the reality for many poor teenagers.

Arden has dropped everything – sports, school work, rules – after his sister’s death. He misses his sidekick, so when he sees Carly’s spunk, he is desperate to befriend her. He’s trying to fill a whole in his life with defiance of his father, whom he blames for his sister’s death.

There is a lot more depth to this story than I expected. The relationship between Arden and Carly was believable and sweet. Arden is able to get Carly to make time for some more fun in her life, and Carly is able to get Arden to care about his life again. I liked them both so much! Uncle Cletus was also a great role model in place of the less than stellar parents.

Anna Banks deals with the tough issues of poverty and illegal immigration, which aren’t often addressed in YA fiction.

This book was a great, quick read.

My Rating: 4 Stars
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  1. I agree this story was deeper than I had expected as well. For some reason I just can't connect with it though. I can't even put my finger on what my issue was, I just didn't enjoy it like I thought i would. It was a major disappointment for me. But I know it's just me because so many people, you included, are really enjoying it! I'm glad to see you had better luck with it than I did. Great review! 🙂

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