Joyride by Anna Banks
Feiwell and Friends, 2015. 978-1-250-03961-3 $1799. 276p
Carly Vegas lives with her older brother, going to school and working at night, helping to earn enough money to pay the smuggler who will bring her parents and younger twin siblings back across the border.
She needs to keep a low profile, not attracting attention because what they are doing is obviously illegal. She needs school to get a real job, a good college, and move ahead. Her life revolves around school, grades, and work. So why then, does she keep finding herself going out with Arden Moss, son of the local sheriff?
The attraction of the two opposites, we know, will lead to disaster. It is impossible not to watch and root for the two. While it is heartening to see racism addressed in YA lit, the sheriff father’s racist reactions to Mexicans is just too stereotypical. Carly’s reactions to racism in the book are spot-on. She is a smart, capable heroine who has goals and sticks with them. Arden is a less-defined character. Although likable, he carries lots of baggage, dealing with it in inappropriate ways. There is growth on his part, but in the long run, life is too easy for him. Even Carly comments on this.
The ending is too swift, too pat to be believable. Although this was a Quick Pick, many teens will find that it drags in the middle. It is also sad that Banks uses the need to make money as a reason why the family promotes a “you shouldn’t care about school” attitude.
Despite these problems, the book is still a good read.
recommended 12 up