(Pepper Jones #1)
Published: August 25th 2013
Pepper Jones is ready for an epic cross country season. She wants to qualify for Nationals, and she’s willing to do anything it takes to make it happen. She can handle long miles and hill sprints, but boys? That’s an entirely different challenge.
Pepper’s never considered revealing her deeper feelings for her longtime friend, Jace Wilder. After all, he’s got the personal magnetism and good looks to hook just about any girl in town — and he has. Their friendship stands apart from high school social circles, and they’re both just fine with that (or at least they pretend to be).
That is, until running star Ryan Harding moves to town.
When it comes to running, Pepper’s goals are clear. But when it comes to Jace and Ryan, it’s nowhere near as simple.
My Rating: 3/5 (Decent)
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Page Count: 238
Welcome to my review stop of the first book in the Pepper Jones series, Pepped Up by Ali Dean!
Note: I received a free digital copy thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for review purposes. This doesn’t affect my review in any way.
Pepped Up is a fun, light-hearted contemporary novel that I liked. I wasn’t particularly attached to the main character and the pace was a bit slow for my taste, but overall it’s a good book that will keep you entertained.
Before anything, I have to say that this book is not at all for readers who dislike love triangles. I tend to be wary of them myself, but I don’t avoid them (not like I can even if I wanted to, seeing how basically all books these days have love triangles). I mean, there are love triangles that turn out to be entertaining, you know? Sadly, this one wasn’t one of them. I feel as if the book was dominated by the love triangle, and instead of being entertaining, in the first half of the novel, I found myself being annoyed at the lack of substance. However, once I took the plot a bit less seriously and just focused on what it’s like in terms of reading about it, I did like the story. It was a relatively light read and it ended up being an entertaining read. That being said, there was one thing that kind of had me a bit iffy about, which was the fact that there were more mature themes in this book than I was expecting. Not necessarily in a bad way, but I suppose since I wasn’t at all expecting such themes in this book, it threw me off.
What I liked most about the plot was the sports theme in this book. It’s not often that I find YA books about sports or with sport-related themes that turn out to be entertaining, and I really liked that aspect of the book. Most of the sports themes had to do with running, and although I’m a terrible runner, it was interesting reading from the perspective of a characters who loved to run and was great at it too.
“This right here is what I live for. The steady rhythm of my feet landing softly on dirt.”
I have a love-hate thing going on with Pepper. On one hand I like her attitude towards running, the fact that she’s willing to push herself and hold back when needed so she can do the best she can. She’s relatively disciplined and I liked her character, for the most part. On the other hand, what got on my nerves was her tendency to pine after Jace (who’s a complete jerk) and the fact that despite being smart, she couldn’t see the obvious (like so many other YA characters out there). I just couldn’t understand it and it ended up being annoying.
The main love interest, Jace, is who really bugged me. Sure, he had some nice moments, but overall I couldn’t see why Pepper was so into him and there was no depth to him much. I felt as if the only reason people were into him was because he was attractive, which is a bummer because he had the potential to be a real great character. Ryan, the other love interest, was better, there seemed to actually be more to him compared to Jace.
The writing style is one of the best parts of the novel. I would’ve hardly have guessed that this was a debut novel, because the writing had a lot of skill behind it that you wouldn’t expect to see in debuts. I did find the pace to be a bit slow, but that is considering my own taste, I would say for the majority the pace is completely adequate. One thing I was not a big fan of was the ending, because although it’s not technically a cliffhanger, it does leave something missing and felt rushed to me. I’m assuming more will be answered in the next books though.
“I want to capture the exhilaration and peace flowing through my veins, pulsing through my soul. Who needs a vice when you can attain an utter sense of being alive with such simple ingredients?”
-Pepper, about running
This contemporary romance debut is more of a hit-or-miss. It wasn’t completely my cup of tea, but it was an entertaining read all the same, despite the more negative side of this book. The plot could’ve been handled better and the characters could’ve had more depth, but if you like love triangles and contemporary romance, this isn’t a bad book to try out. The writing is great, and I really enjoyed the running descriptions. All in all, a decent YA (with mature themes) contemporary romance with sport themes and a love triangle, Pepped Up is the first in a trilogy I have a good chance of continuing. (If only to get a better ending.)
An adequate meal! What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!
Ali Dean lives in Colorado with her husband and two children. In addition to reading and writing, she loves the outdoors- everything from marathon training and biking to snowboarding and skiing.
Author links: Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook
INT Giveaway – $10 Amazon gift card + a signed copy of any book in the Pepper Jones series (ends August 27th)