Publisher/Date: Feiwel and Friends// June 2, 2015
Genre: YA Contemporary
Synopsis: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 bought Joyride for the sole purpose of reading it and getting it signed by Anna Banks at a Fierce Reads event at the beginning of the month. While I didn’t get to go to the event *sobs forever*, I did still read the book. And while I had some issues with the book, I still enjoyed it and it made for hard time rating it.
Let’s break it down:
What I liked:
- Our Main Characters. This is the first book I’ve read by Anna Banks, and I loved the way she writes her characters. They were relatable and realistic and I wish I would have been friends with them in high school. I really got Carly. I understood where she was coming from with the need to fulfill familial obligations and expectations. She had me with “a girl needs nail polish”. I loved Arden (who was played by a very young Matt McGorry in my head) and his need for pranking. And I LOVED their relationship and how it progressed – especially Arden’s single-minded pursuit of Carly as his accomplice. It’s kind of hilarious and very endearing.
- The Depth at the Heart of the Story. There’s a lot to be said for the places that this story goes. It touches on racism and privilege and the lengths to which people will go hide maintain a certain image – none of which I was expecting when I went into the novel. It took me by surprise and I ended up liking the more serious aspects of the novel more than the pranking and other typical contemporary rom-com-ish fare.
What I Didn’t Like:
- The Secondary Characters. I adored Carley and Arden, but with the exception of Cletus, I felt that most of the secondary characters were shorted in their “screen time” and it gave them a flat feeling. Julio and Sheriff Moss were the two that I felt suffered the most from this. I could feel the depth of their characters lurking in the background, but not all of it came to light. I liked Julio despite this, but I felt that Sheriff Moss’s lack development made him feel almost like a caricature and made his treatment of Arden and Carly harder to take seriously.
- The Tropey-ness. There were moments throughout the story, particularly around the halfway point, that felt very tropy and predictable. I figured out some of the plot twists before they happened and it messed with my enjoyment of the story in the middle of the book. And while none of this is necessarily a bad thing, it wasn’t cutting edge.
All in All, Joyride is a standard and somewhat predictable YA contemporary with great main characters and surprising depth.