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.
Rating: 5 Stars
Book Title: Joyride
Author: Anna Banks
Release Date: June 2nd, 2015
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Fans of Simon Elkeles’s Perfect Chemistry will love Joyride by Anna Banks. Two teens from different sides of town end up in an unlikely friendship that turns their lives upside down and makes them rethink everything they thought they knew. For Arden Moss, the star of the football team and high school dreamboat, he’s just trying to get by and irritate his father, Sheriff Moss, as much as possible while doing so. For Carly Vegas, her high school existence has meant not existing; at least in the eyes of her peers. As her older brother Julio likes to remind her all the time, she needs to fly under the radar and stay out of trouble. Because getting in trouble would mean drawing attention to their family life, something they want to avoid if they ever want to get their parents back.
It’s unfair that Carly has to work herself to the bone, struggling to stay in school while working graveyard shifts at a nearby gas station, but if that’s what she needs to do to earn money, she’ll do it. Because that money is all going towards bringing her parents home, who were deported back to Mexico years ago. Now Carly and Julio are scrounging together every penny they can get until they’re able to get enough money to sneak their parents and new siblings across the border.
o Arden: Even though Arden comes from a well-to-do family, he wants nothing to do with them (his father specifically). I loved Arden because he’s not caught up in the materialistic side of life. When we first meet him in Joyride he’s grieving the loss of his sister, who was his partner in crime for pulling pranks. Despite all this, there’s a naïve part of Arden that doesn’t realize just how much he’s been taking for granted all these years though, especially in terms of money. Meeting Carly opens Arden’s eyes and I loved seeing his growth in this area of the book as it progressed.
o The Plot and the BIG Shocker: I can’t give you much on this without giving it away, but there’s definitely an element of surprise in this book that I can honestly say I did NOT see coming. And that made the book 10x more exciting (in my opinion) once you get to this part of the book. I thought Anna Banks did a splendid job of creating an exciting plot in Joyride.
o DIVERSITY FOLKS: This is the first book I’ve read where the romantic interests included a GIRL that was worse off than the guy. In all other instances of friendships/dating where the teens come from “different sides of the track” so to speak, it never fails that the girl comes from the rich family and the boy comes from a poor family. Not only that, but Joyride discusses something a lot of Americans still struggle with and fight against today: the topic of illegal immigrants and how to handle them. Yes, I said it. How to handle them. Many Americans discuss illegal immigrants as if they aren’t real people, but an issue to be dealt with. In Joyride we see this dilemma as told from the POV of Carly, whose family is trying to get into the U.S. from Mexico. It gave me a whole new level of respect for the families who are dealing with this in today’s society and it broke my heart in more than one instance to see Carly and Julio go through this. They are just trying to provide all their family members with a better life and be together in one place.
Joyride is a fantastic YA romance that will remind you what it was like to be a teen in love, including all the highs and lows that come with it. As far as contemporaries go, I really had no complaints with this one. The character development was spot on and the plot itself was intense and fast-paced. I read Joyride in a few sittings and the only reason I set it down the few times I did was to get some sleep! This was my first book I’ve read by Anna Banks and after finishing it, I can definitely say I plan to read more of her work in the future.