Published: June 2nd 2015
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 Rating: 4/5 (Really Good)
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance, Young-Adult
Page Count: 288
Hello! It’s been a while since I’ve posted a review, unfortunately, but I am now here with a review on Joyride by Anna Banks. I rate this book 4 stars, although a more accurate rating might be 3 or 3.5 stars. But that’s besides the point. The main reason I liked this book was because it was kind of an unexpected experience for me. Although I read the blurb and reviews beforehand on this book, when I read it, it felt like I was delving into the unknown. I had no idea what to expect, and really didn’t have that many expectation, which in the end played in my favor since I ended up really enjoying the book as a result. Does that make sense? I feel like I’m rambling right now, so let me just cut to the chase: this book was an entertaining story with themes of racism, family, and poverty, alongside a slow-burn romance that I really enjoyed.
Carly Vega has been constantly working to earn money (at a night-shift at a convenience store), get good grades and stay out of trouble alongside her older brother Julio, ever since her parents had been deported. Both their lives have been centered around trying to earn enough money to smuggle them back (along with two younger siblings). One day, when a guy named Arden (the popular guy at school) meets Carly, he becomes interested in acquiring her as his partner in crime. But Carly is focused on staying under the radar so she could help her parents, while Arden’s goal is to make sure he doesn’t do what his family wants. How can they mix?
At a first glance at the cover, the storyline seems to be something with road trips and a cute romance, right? Well, that’s not the whole story. Yes, there is a cute romance, but the plot addresses issues like racism, poverty and immigration problems, something that we don’t see enough in books. I, for one, have hardly ever read contemporary novels in which there are immigration issues incorporated. Although I cannot vouch for whether the kind portrayed in the book is correct, I found it to be realistic enough to be believable, and it was interesting to read a book with this kind of theme.
The storyline itself was entertaining, it being generally a cute romance with tension building up more in the middle and especially in the end. It is leaning toward more of an insta-love story, however you can’t exactly tell right away, which is the reason why I liked the first half of the story quite a bit. The plot really had my attention, and even though most of it didn’t exactly blow me away, I had fun reading it. I also really liked how the plot was executed, in that the more tension-filled moments didn’t clash with the overall mood of the story, instead it kind of fit right in, which made for a relatively smooth reading experience.
I’m having a hard time writing out my thoughts on the characters, but I would say generally, I liked them. I especially liked Carly at the beginning of the book because I loved her attitude. For a good part of the first half of the story, I was rooting for her because she really had a good sense of her morals and stood up for herself against Arden.
“As if from a distance, I watch my hands as they tuck themselves under his tray and flip it over onto his lap. The unidentifiable contents splatter everywhere. A bit of it even makes its way into his left nostril. He stares up at me, still holding his spoon midair. His jaw is in danger of falling off.”
(Now, this may seem a bit extreme, but in the context of the story, it was completely understandable and I totally approved. XD)
It was just so much fun seeing how she treated Arden as he pursued her. And I have to mention that she didn’t really come off as a shy girl as mentioned in the blurb. But that was kind of good thing because it wasn’t as cliché, shy girl meets outgoing boy, instant sparks, etc etc.
Throughout the story we see a bit more of Carly’s development as she warms up to Arden and becomes friends, and then later on falls for him (no spoilers there, it’s kind of given). I won’t lie, it was kind of insta-love but it was still okay. What I also found interesting was seeing her internal struggle throughout the story, between doing what she wanted to do and what she was required to do in order to help her family. I really sympathized with her because she had so much pressure on her and did everything asked of her yet never truly got the freedom she deserved.
Arden, I will admit, I had mixed feelings toward, at first. At first are the key words here, you see? The fact that after simply one night he’s all interested in Carly (to be his partner in crime, not his girlfriend, but still) bugged me for a while, and I kind of just didn’t want him to win over Carly so easily. It wasn’t exactly so much so the insta-love than Arden, because for some inexplicable reason, I seemed to have something against Arden and just didn’t want it to happen. Of course, I warmed up to him afterwards. He went through so much it’s hard not to feel bad for him. His and Carly’s relationship ended up being really cute and I loved how he supported her so much.
“You’ve filled a hole I didn’t know I had in me, Carly. What is there to regret?”
As for the other characters, I was mostly okay with them except for Arden’s dad, who I absolutely hated. Julio, Carly’s brother isn’t exactly my favorite person, but I still liked him. Carly’s family, although not present for basically the whole story, plays a big role in the novel, and I liked them. The pressure they put on their children to raise money to smuggle them back to the States may bother some readers, but I found it kind of realistic and interesting to read about. This book was very family-positive (in the case of Carly, not Arden) in a more different way than most books.
The writing style is pretty different than most books, but I can’t exactly say it’s great. It’s told from the perspective of 1st person in Carly’s POV and 3rd person in Arden’s POV. I have read books like this before (most notably The Lying Game series by Sara Shepard) but for this book the style seemed kind of awkward and didn’t exactly work out. I don’t know, it kind of threw me off several times in the story and prevented me from fully being immersed in the story. Mostly because whenever the POVs switched, I would have to adjust to the change, and it would disturb the flow of the writing. But I did manage to get through the book without too many difficulties, and I ended up still enjoying the story.
An entertaining summer read that I recommend if you’re looking for a light story with some important themes mixed in. This book is also more diverse than a lot of books out there these days (namely because of the issues addressed in the novel as well as the fact the main character is hispanic) and although the writing style wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, it’s pretty subjective to reader’s taste and it may be someone else’s preference. The main characters, although perhaps not the best for some, were quite likeable and definitely have a lot of chemistry together. I really liked Carly’s personality, and even though I wasn’t Arden’s biggest fan at first, he really did grow on me and I really liked him. As for the other characters, I definitely didn’t like Arden’s father, which I’m guessing is the point, and although I had some issues with Carly’s brother Julio, he ended up being a decent guy. All in all, I really liked reading this book, and I recommend it if any of the above interests you! ❤
Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Do you want to read this book? Let me know, in the comments below!
Also…Let’s go for a joyride! This meal is quite tasty, perfect for a little trip!