Review: Joyride by Anna Banks


Joyride by Anna Banks

Published: 2015
Genre: YA Contemporary
Subtitle: Not a fan

"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."

This book was mostly okay. It didn't really hold my interest though. I had to force myself to keep coming back to it. I had some sort of block against finishing it.

Carly Vega is presented as a shy girl in the premise. Which I usually like shy heroines. Carly Vega is not a shy heroine. She's sassy and forceful and not afraid to stand up for herself, but she's all about trying to fly under the radar for her own reasons. This is vastly different than being shy. It's actually two completely different things. The person who wrote that summary was really off, and not only about her description of Carly...

Arden Moss, on the other hand, goes around confronting his family members for not accepting his sister Amber's death in a healthy way, but it takes him 80% of the book to acknowledge that his way wasn't healthy either. The description of him in the book is just "rebellious teen" and yes he is a rebellious teen but the description sounds more like affluenza than the actual root of the problem, which leads us to Sheriff Moss....

I'm not even sure where to begin with this character (caricature, more like). He largely exists in this story to keep the protagonists apart and to make their lives as close to a living hell as physically possible. Literally he serves no other purpose. He has no other personality traits or character growth. Zip. Nada. He was just "bad". As a villain, he sucked, basically.

That ending? Don't even get me started. No closure. All drama building and building, and then just magically poofs into thin air. And BOOM, happily ever after. You've GOT to be kidding me.

There were things I did like about this book. AB tackled the portrayal of an immigrant family and the prejudices they have to face, and that's not an easy thing to do. Carly and Arden did not have this insta-love/attraction you're-the-one-that-I-want-ooh-ooh-ooh moment (no offense, Danny), which I totally appreciated. They were basically BFFs first, which was really refreshing in YA. But the bad far outweighed the good.

Overall, I stand by what I said at the beginning, this book was mostly okay. There were things I liked and things I didn't. Unfortunately there were just more things I didn't like about it, and I just wasn't a fan.

2 out of 5 stars.