Saturday, October 25, 2014

Review: On the Edge (van Diepen)

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AUTHOR: Allison van Diepen
SERIES: none
PUBLISHER: HarperCollins
PUBLICATION DATE: November 25, 2014
ISBN: 9780062303448
PAGES: 304
SOURCE: NetGalley
GENRE: contemporary romance; new adult
GIVE IT TO: upper-HS
SUMMARY: Walking home through the park one night, 17-year old Maddie Diaz witnesses two gang members murder a homeless man. When Maddie decides to testify against the murderers, she is thrust into a new world of threats and intimidation. Enter Lobo, a rival gang member who intervenes on Maddie's behalf and protects Maddie from the gang members planning to kill her. Lobo is mysterious and hides his identity, but Maddie begins to fall for him anyway.

IF THIS BOOK WERE FOOD, IT WOULD BE: gum--it starts out really good but kind of loses flavor after awhile

REVIEW: With its superhero-with-a-secret-identity vibe, On the Edge is one of the more creative urban romances I've read. "Lobo" is a gang member who keeps his identity hidden as he saves pretty girls in danger whenever necessary. I love that Lobo is less like a gang member and more like a modern-day superhero. His agenda is greater than your typical territorial fights with a rival gang. While Lobo's true identity is pretty obvious right from the start, it was fun watching Maddie discover it.

I liked Maddie's voice and that most of her problems mirror those of normal teen girls. The best friend drama gets old quickly. Maddie's bestie is one of the most irritating best friends I've ever seen--she's pouty, possessive, picks arguments, and absolutely refuses to back down, even when she is dead wrong. She attempts to turn all their other friends against Maddie, too, with mixed results. I was really glad that though Maddie mends her fences with this silly girl, she is cautious about it and moves on to college without the crazy bestie or any regrets.

Insta-love. You know I hate it. Sadly, On the Edge has it. I really need to do a post on the insta-love craze I'm seeing in a lot of YA lately. Authors, if you're going to include a "first love" situation, please take the time to make it believable.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Despite the insta-love, I enjoyed this unique urban romance. Give it to fans of Perfect Chemistry.

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: It's too mature for middle school.

READALIKES: Perfect Chemistry series (Elkeles), Snitch (van Diepen)

RATING BREAKDOWN:
  • Overall: 3/5
  • Creativity: 4/5
  • Characters: 2/5--major points off for the crazy bestie
  • Engrossing: 3/5--insta-love
  • Writing: 4/5
  • Appeal to teens: 4/5
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 4/5

CONTENT:
  • Language: includes multiple instances of sh-- and the F-bomb
  • Sexuality: sex trafficking is major plot point; intense kissing
  • Violence: gang violence, organized crime, threats, murder
  • Drugs/Alcohol: sex slaves are force-fed drugs to keep them obedient; no graphic details

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