Thursday, August 6, 2015

Review: Joyride

By Anna Banks
Published: June 2, 2015

Who says opposites don't attract?

It's been several years since Carly Vega's parents were deported. Carly lives with her older brother, studies hard, and works the graveyard shift at a convenience store to earn enough to bring her parents back from Mexico. 

Arden Moss used to be the star quarterback at school. He used to date popular blondes and have fun pranking with his older sister. But now all that's changed, and Arden needs a new accomplice. Especially one his father, the town sheriff, will disapprove. 

All Carly wants, at first, 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 the wishes of others. Carly and Arden's journey toward their true hearts - and one another-- is funny, romantic, and sometimes harsh. Just like real life.

My review:

Carly and Arden are pretty much worlds apart. Carly lives with her older brother Julio since her parents were deported (she and Julio were born in the States). They both work hard to save money to try to bring their parents back over and just to survive. Carly has a part time job at a convenience store and it is there that she crosses paths with Arden. 

Arden comes from a prominent family in the community (his dad is sheriff) and his mom's side of the family is very wealthy. He appears to be a bored and entitled teen but he is actually hurting from a painful loss and incredibly angry with his dad. He lets off steam by pranking people that he feels deserve it and now he wants Carly to be his new partner in crime. He may have started off on the wrong foot where she is concerned but he is determined to win her over and prove that he's better than she thinks he is.

On the surface it looks like Arden and Carly are too different and couldn't possibly have anything in common but they do. Carly's family has high expectations for he--though those expectations do not involve getting a good education. They want her to forget her schooling and work more to provide for them (she has two new little siblings in Mexico in addition to her parents) and her brother feels like she isn't pulling her weight. Carly wants to help them but she is starting to feel pulled in two directions as she has her own dreams for her future. Arden's dad has high expectations for him too that involve rejoining the football team and looking good in the community to help his dad's reelection chances. Arden doesn't care about that. He is angry (with reason) at his dad for his treatment of the family especially in the wake of their tragedy.

Joyride is not just a contemporary romance (though I do love those). In fact I really liked how Carly and Arden became grudging friends and got to know each other instead of falling into insta-love. It also tackles the issue of illegal immigration and the challenges new immigrants face as well as sticky family relationships. 

I really liked Carly and her determination to help her family and to go to college. She is a caring girl and she is also pretty tough. Arden is likable but he doesn't take much seriously. He is grieving and angry which is understandable after what he's been through. I enjoyed the development of their relationship and how they give each other strength in a way. The secondary character, Uncle Cletus, was one of my favorites. I loved his interactions with Carly and how he looked out for her.

I liked the blend of drama, humor, and romance in the novel. The pranks added a lighter touch as well as the humorous banter between Carly and Arden. They have great chemistry with each other and the progression of their relationship felt natural and believable. The forbidden Romeo and Juliet aspect has added appeal too. There were also some suspenseful moments which I didn't expect but they made the pages fly by towards the end.

I thought Joyride was excellent. I wasn't sure what to expect as Anna Banks's other novels were paranormal but I really liked the characters and how the story unfolded. I hope she writes more contemporary fiction like this. 

Note: I received an ARC for review purposes from the publisher but I ended up reading a finished copy from my library instead because the ARC expired before I could read it


  1. I'm really looking forward to reading this! It sounds like an interesting and engaging novel. I'm glad to see there's no insta-love!

  2. Fantastic review, Christina! I have seen this book around a lot and have been very curious. I'm glad to hear it was entertaining and that you liked it. I have never read a novel by Anna Banks , so maybe I'll start here. I love a good opposites attract kind of story...reminds me of the novel Perfect Chemistry. Happy Friday!

  3. I'm glad to see that you liked this one! I loved the Syrena Legacy by Anna Banks, so I am excited to check this one out. Great review. :)
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian


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