Walk the Edge: Book Review

“The boy everyone sees but nobody knows is with the girl who everybody knows but nobody sees.”

Book: Walk the Edge (Thunder Road #2)

Author: Katie McGarry

 

Blurb: 

One moment of recklessness will change their worlds.

Smart. Responsible. That’s seventeen-year-old Breanna’s role in her large family, and heaven forbid she put a toe out of line. Until one night of shockingly un-Breanna-like behavior puts her into a vicious cyber-bully’s line of fire—and brings fellow senior Thomas “Razor” Turner into her life.

Razor lives for the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, and good girls like Breanna just don’t belong. But when he learns she’s being blackmailed over a compromising picture of the two of them—a picture that turns one unexpected and beautiful moment into ugliness—he knows it’s time to step outside the rules.

And so they make a pact: he’ll help her track down her blackmailer, and in return she’ll help him seek answers to the mystery that’s haunted him—one that not even his club brothers have been willing to discuss. But the more time they spend together, the more their feelings grow. And suddenly they’re both walking the edge of discovering who they really are, what they want, and where they’re going from here.

My thoughts:

Katie McGarry writes awesome romance. If there was any way to describe YA Romance as gritty, Katie McGarry’s books would be it. She does an amazing job taking people from very different backgrounds, concerns, economic statuses, social statuses, experiences,etc. She does a a great job making these people relate to each other and an even better job giving them chemistry.

“This is heartbreaking and consuming and addictive. It’s terrifying and peaceful, crazy and serene. It’s a million things in one brief moment and it’s something I don’t understand and never want to live without.”

Like Breanna and Razor, I initially had a hard time seeing the similarities between the two.  There’s a line where Breanna tells Razor that he’s the anti-Breanna. It’s kind of true. She comes from a large family, he comes from one that’s too small. She’s into English and the humanities; he’s a math whiz. But in a lot of important ways, they are similar. They’re both surrounded by people with stronger personalities and louder mouths. They both feel trapped by their family. They’re loyal to their friends and they both want something more out of life. If that isn’t enough to fuel a teen-romance, then what is?

Internet bullying. It’s a theme that’s sadly relevant to today’s world and McGarry portrays the pain, the humiliation and the worry that being blackmailed evokes. Like Jennifer Brown’s Thousand Words, Walk the Edge tackles the very scary topic of being judged for a leaked photo.

“Not sure how this whole social media thing is supposed to be fun. It’s like being back in elementary school and waiting to be picked for kickball.”

For people who are expecting a hardcore motorcycle-club story, you’re looking at the wrong place.Though the motorcycle club setting is an important part of the story, it doesn’t overwhelm it. And it’s not as dark or violent as you might expect. For me, that made it better instead of worse.

You should read this book if you’re looking for a sweet but satisfying YA romance.

Overall Rating: 3/5

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Kick Push: A Book Review

“You said that life’s just like skating; I just need to kick forward and take a chance, push off the ground and follow through. And when everything works out, I’ll coast.”

Book: Kick Push

Author: Jay McLean

Kick Push (Kick Push, #1)

Blurb:

There’s a single defining moment within every skater.
It lasts only a second. Two if you’re good.
Three if you’re really good.
It’s the moment you’re in the air, your board somewhere beneath you, and nothing but wind surrounds you.
It’s the feeling of being airborne.

The sixteen-year-old version of me would’ve said it was the greatest feeling in the world.
Then at seventeen, I had my son.
And every single second became a defining moment. Even the ones that consisted of heartbreak when his mother left us.

Seventeen. Single. Dad.
That’s what my life became.
Yet, every day, I managed to find that feeling of being airborne.
Or at least I convinced myself I did.
But I lied—to myself and to everyone around me.
Until she showed up; Tanned skin, raven dark hair, and eyes the color of emeralds.

You know what sucks about being in the air?
Coming down from the high.
Sometimes you land on the board and nail the trick.
Then kick, push, and coast away.
Other times you fall.
You fall hard.
And those are the times when it’s not as easy to get back up, dust off your pads and try again.
Especially when the girl with the emerald eyes becomes your drug…
And you become her poison.

My thoughts:

Kick Push was one of my Random Reads. I don’t know why I picked it up. It was about a skater. I know nothing about skating. It was a new-adult romance. I typically dislike angsty, over-blown new-adult romances. It promised to cover teen pregnancy. (This is going to sound awful) I’ve never considered the difficulties of being a single parent in your teens. Not in anything more than a vague, distant way.

Kick Push has amazing writing. It is lyrical and descriptive. Each word is violent and necessary. Each sentence high-kicks you in the face and each paragraph shoves your head under water. Sometimes, the writing was so beautiful and sad and simple, I found my lungs burning because I had forgotten to keep breathing.

“He punches the steering wheel. And then he breaks. The boy I love breaks. And there’s nothing sadder, nothing harder in the world than watching the person you love fall apart right before your eyes—and you can’t say or do anything”

Yes, it’s melodramatic and overblown. You can tell just by reading the blurb (which I did not do because it was a Random Read). It’s overly-poetic and unabashedly sorrowful but I can forgive it….Almost.

This book gave me so much more respect for single parents. In an abstract way, I knew that it wasn’t easy to be a single parent (or to be a teen parent). I know that jobs rarely want to hire high-schoolers with no experience. I know that child-care is expensive and I know that parents make sacrifices, but never has it resonated so much with me.

I am so impressed by Ms. McLean’s gutsy decision to write this from the perspective of a guy. Again, this  makes me sound recklessly uncaring,  but even though I’ve heard of single-mother teens, I’ve never considered how tough it would be for the father.

“You know what’s worse than your landlady calling you out on wearing cologne purely because you want to impress her granddaughter? I’ll tell you what. Being in the confined space of a truck while your son tells said granddaughter about how you paid him five moneys for him to tell you about what she said about you. Yeah. That’s happening.”

But (there’s always a but, isn’t there?)  this is first and foremost a love story. While I loved both characters individually, I couldn’t root for their relationship. They were just so broken and dealing with so many responsibilities, that I kept thinking their relationship was unhealthy. Maybe, that’s why I wasn’t surprised the relationship turned to shit, that the break-up was so destructive.

I appreciate that the book acknowledges that real-life lesson, that love isn’t always enough. That sometimes there is some scary, horrible things happening below the surface and that you need to be careful when you give your heart to someone, even if they’re the most selfless, bravest, kindest person you know.

This book ends on a cliff-hanger and I’m not even angry about it. If there was a happy-ending, I would have considered it rushed. Both characters fought some of their nasty demons in this book, but they still have a lot of growing up to do. There’s a second book (no idea when it’ll be released though).

“There’s a big difference between being happy and being selfish. Choose to be happy. Fire truck the rest.”

Overall Rating: 3/5

On a barely related side-note, this book makes me realize that real-life is scary.

Circles: Freewrite

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Every day, circles loop infinitely in my head.

I know circular reasoning with it’s strange ability to tangle your head like endless, knotted string. I empathize with the philosopher who wanted to know which came first: the chicken or the egg because I am equally puzzled. My question is is whether I created stories or  became Image result for ouroborosa voracious reader first.


As I ponder this strange matter, I’ve felt my mind turn in an ouroboros, my own logic eating me from the inside out. Do I love reading because I am addicted to seeing a character be built, piece by piece until they’ve turned into someone that can almost breathe, eat and dream?  Do I write stories because I revel in smashing together the plots of the 40 books I read in the last month, watching the weird chunks fall away and my favorite parts meld?  Do I like writing short stories and poetry because they’re echoes of the bookImage result for circless I’ve read and loved and just a more active, involved form of reading? I see the sense in both theories but no way of verifying an answer. So, in the mean-time  I am content to read and write and accept both as equal loves.

I appreciate the irony of coming full circle. It’s when you go so far, travel so long- only to end right where you began. The path between California and India is my mobius strip. At age 8, I moved to the Californian bay area and then at 10, I moved halfway around the world to India. 7 years hence, I am back exactly 19 miles from where I started, eager to fling myself off the mobius strip.

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In my head, I hear my own question what’s the point of this strange exercise? Why circles? Why are you looking at it from so many different perspectives when it’s essentially the same? Somewhere in me there’s an answer, but it’s hard to explain exactly how a circle is essentially multiple points equidistant from one important point.

 

Because you could say the same for life, couldn’t you? Everyone’s life is almost uniformly similar, revolving around an individual who thinks they are the center of their universe. There’s birth, there’s childhood, there’s adulthood and creating new children and then there is death. But something in me recoils from describing life this way. Of courImage result for circlesse, this is life, but like any circle, it has some intangible quality which somehow, miraculously makes it more. The circle of life is almost sacrosanct.

Within my self-absorbed life too, I draw circles. There’s a tiny circle around me- I guess you could
call it a bubble. Then there are circles of varying radii. My friends and family in my inner circle.  My past and my future in separate circles which flow into each other. The jogger who I’ve never seen before but who just ran past me, wearing a yellow top and in time to some beat I can’t hear — she’s in a distant, distant circle of mine too, isn’t she? From my perspective, the only unifying bond in this wacky Venn diagram is me.

I’d say life is circles. But somehow that doesn’t seem encompassing enough. Because even though I haven’t experienced death or inanimation yet, I’m sure they’re circles of their own too. Circles are crazy thoughts and they ring around me almost tauntingly. Circles are the beautiful brain-child of a sentinent being far more advanced than me. Circles are infinite and circles are limited. They are contradictory, but they are oh so simple. 

And yet, when’s the last time you drew a perfect circle freehand?