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Speed of Life

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  320 ratings  ·  74 reviews
Twins Crystal and Amber have the same goal: to be the first in their family to graduate high school and make something of their lives. When one gets pregnant during their junior year, they promise to raise the baby together. It’s not easy, but between their after-school jobs, they’re scraping by.

Crystal’s grades catch the attention of the new guidance counselor, who tells
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 11th 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Joelle Anthony Sorry, I just saw this question! Nope, no sequel, planned. Although, it is always hard to leave characters behind! Cheers, Joelle (J.M. Kelly)

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Average rating 3.80  · 
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Joelle Anthony
I wrote know...I like it. I hope you do too!
Julia (Shakespeare and Such)
Oct 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: readers tired of trite YA romances
Shelves: ya, contemporary

This is the best YA contemporary I've ever read, period.

I'm both exhausted from the week and emotionally drained from finishing this tonight (basically I read half of the book today) but I need to write this review ASAP because the book is coming out so soon and I just need to share my feelings with prospective readers.

This is probably going to get long and rave-y so here's a quick overview of what made this book such an incredible standout for me:
- Feminist without being preachy
- A stunning
This was a fast read with really clear positives and negatives, and it made me wish it were possible to hand a book back to an author and say, "You have something so good here; please just rewrite the last quarter or so." This is the first YA I've ever read where the main character is taking care of a baby in a maternal capacity from start to end, and I really loved watching her balance the challenges with school, work, sharing the responsibilities with her sister, coming from a very low-income ...more
Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries)
Oct 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
Wholly unremarkable other than a poorly pulled off twist and a nasty instance of fat-shaming. There are good things, like how the sisters' relationship develops over the course of a year, but there's just nothing to say about the book.

Diversity: just diversity in class status because everyone in the novel is poor as dirt. No racial-ethnic, QUILTBAG, or disability rep anywhere.
May 26, 2018 rated it liked it
2.5 stars.

This wasn't my cup of tea for a boatload of reasons. I think I'm just going to leave it at that.
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Huge thank you to Raincoast for this ARC!

It upsets me how much this book isn't being talked about. This is one of those contemporary gems that has no buzz behind it, and it's just such a genuine and thoughtful read. Speed of Life is about two twin sisters who share everything, are dirt poor, and are looking to get out of their backwater town and make real lives for themselves and the child that one of them has had out of wedlock. While this doesn't sound like the most original plot line, there i
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I am not sure if there will ever come a time in my reading life when I am able to pass up a book about twins… And with a long love of Sweet Valley High, I particularly cannot pass up a book about identical twins set during their high school years. Although, this Washington state town is a far cry from Sweet Valley – and these twins don’t live in a split-level ranch with a kidney shaped pool. No, these red-headed twins live in a bedroom made illegally out of a garage, and the book opens with the ...more
BookChic Club
Sep 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book by Kelly, and I was surprised at the twist toward the end of the book. I don't usually expect twists in my contemporaries. This offers a glimpse into the life of two small-town teen sisters who are raising a daughter together after one of them gets pregnant. They're part of a low-income family and doing their best to give the baby what she needs and working hard to a better life together. It's one of the most realistic books I've ever read- every character has flaws an ...more
Jamie (Books and Ladders)
Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book. I chose to review it and this in no way impacts my opinion of it.

DNF @ 82%

To be fair, I wasn't enjoying this novel at like 20% but decided to continue on because I had nothing better to do but now I'm SO MAD that I did. I just can't after the "plot twist" that is shitty writing tbh. The first plot twist was stupid but meh, but the second?? I basically rage quit. Full DNF review tomorrow on Books and Ladders.
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 stars.

The pacing and story was great, but knocked off a star because of fatshaming and the twist wasn't done very well.
Jan 13, 2018 rated it liked it
“I drop off Natalie at the school's daycare and head to the lab to type Amber's paper for her.
We're both going to graduate, even if it kills me.”

The Speed of Life shines incredible insight on the realities of living in predominantly low-income neighbourhoods and the adversity faced by our fiercely loyal and dedicated sister and co-parent protagonists, Crystal and Amber, in taking care of their infant daughter Natalie.

The events of this novel are followed from Crystal, who is often portrayed
Aug 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Crystal and amber are twin sisters. They make a perfect plan between them to graduate high school and find a cozy place to stay. But things don't go according to plan as one of them accidentally pregnant and had a baby. The biggest problem of all is went one of the twin decide to go to college. Living behind the baby and broken promises.

How do you react to that? Dream or sister?🤷‍♀️ I'm totally torn. But there's a tagline said, “Do what makes you happy. Follow your dream.” Lose something in ord
Sep 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Twins Crystal and Amber have a clear plan for their future, which includes graduating high school and leaving home for an apartment of their own. The baby was a speed bump, but nothing can stop the sisters from fulfilling their promise to each other. When Crystal's grades catch the attention of the guidance counselor at school, she suddenly has a chance at a future that has the potential to help them. Will Amber be on board with the college plan, or will Crystal be on her own for the first time? ...more
Cynthia (Bingeing On Books)
I received this ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

For the first part of this book, I wasn't totally sure I liked it. Crystal and Amber are raising a baby. One of them got pregnant (the author doesn't let us know who the mother is at first) and they make a promise to each other that they will raise the baby together. They have a plan. They both work their butts off to pay for Natalie ("their" baby) and they are STILL in high school. Amber and Crystal are determined to be the fir
Michelle (FabBookReviews)

You may already be familiar with author J.M. Kelly, a Canadian writer, as she has authored a few books under her name Joëlle Anthony! Her newest YA novel, Speed of Life, has been well-reviewed and received in journals ranging from Kirkus and Publisher's Weekly to School Library Journal, and it is indeed a terrific addition to the genre of realistic young adult lit.

Speed of Life is told through the strong, candid and revealing first-person narrative of Crystal Robbins, a high school senior in Por
Carly J
Dec 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways, stand-alone, ya
Rating: 3.5/5

Review posted on my blog, The Basic Bookworm

Crystal and Amber are twins who want to be the first in their family to graduate high school, despite their poverty and family circumstances. When one of them gets pregnant and has a baby, they agree to raise it together and not reveal who the mother is. They have a plan for their future, where both of them use their part-time jobs to move into an apartment in a better neighbourhood where they can raise their daughter Natalie. During their
Stephanie A.
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Cover love AND incredible writing. I honestly felt like I was there, experiencing the day to day life of a blue collar family, namely hardworking twin sisters who, for lack of knowing the baby's father, have made a pact to raise her together with equal love and responsibility, like two aunts, without even acknowledging which one is her biological mother. Sounds strange, but it made total sens as I was reading it.

Given their parents' fiscal irresponsibility and general lack of involvement -- step
Jul 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Connected since birth, twin sisters Crystal and Amber have always done everything together. They share a bank account, finish each other's homework, and will be the first in their family to graduate from high school. After adding a newborn baby to the list, they devise a plan to finish school, save their hard-earned money, and get their own place. At least, that was the original plan, but after a meeting with the new guidance counselor, Crystal realizes that she might actually have the chance to ...more
Kayelina Publico
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who want their hearts warmed
Shelves: reviews
a spoiler free review

Speed of Life is an honest YA novel about two twins, Amber and Crystal, that plan to be the first in the family to graduate high school and not get pregnant young like all their relatives before them. But when just that happens, the sisters still become determined to make something of themselves, including new little baby Natalie into the picture. But when Crystal gets the opportunity to apply for a college in Kansas and gets in, suddenly, things don’t seem as simple as
Interesting (I need a new word), though I think maybe not entirely successful. I thought Crystal was being selfish and unrealistic and the book didn't explain her reasoning well enough until something like the 80% mark. Which was a bit too little, too late.

I'm also think the book should've talked more about why they decided to keep Natalie (in either an adoption or abortion scenario).
Oct 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I am still reeling from how much I absolutely loved this book. I want more of the characters' stories immediately. My single complaint is the way the mother was treated for being overweight, but I'm going to assume that was Crystal's voice and not the author's. Other than that, everything was perfect. I'd read 3 more books about Crystal, Amber, Han, and Natalie.
Nov 12, 2017 rated it liked it
*3.5ish/5 stars*

13/01/18 Quick, easy read; full review here!
First 2018 White Pine book I read -- I plan to write a full review (for this book + the last two books I read), which will probably be done sometime later this week!
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was such a beautiful book! When I was in the library, I felt drawn towards this book because the cover was just so beautiful. Then, I read the synopsis and I loved it even more. Finally, I read the book and it was literally as good as I imagined! The character development is perfect, the story unravels nicely, and it makes you feel so good at the end. When you look at the cover, you think it's the story about a girl growing up but it's a lot more than that. There's these twins, who live in ...more
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Highly enjoyable read, but the "big twist" wasn't all that shocking. I think I might have read a spoiler about it here, promptly forgotten about it as I read the book, and recalled it once again once it happened.

Crystal's situation was pretty interesting. I spent a lot of time judging Amber, for sure. This story was a good way to see what it's like on the other side of the tracks. I've never really understood people who dropped out so close to the end of high school. You're almost there! And...
One Anjana
Like the title, it was a speedy read for me. Speedy and meaningful. This book was so light yet so deep in life meaning. It’s a very real problem, more into feminist issue but not so serious talk.

So first, let’s meet the twins, Crystal as narrator here and Amber her twins. They’re 18 and have a baby named Natalie. Natalie was unwanted, a shame result from getting drunk and doesn’t know who’s her father. As time went, they both agree to take care Natalie fairly. They even have a plan to have a se
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Speed of Life is about twin sisters sharing the raising of a baby. They live with their dirt-poor Mom and Stepdad, both useless parents who actually beg-borrow-steal money from their daughters!
At first I was rather put off by the language and poor grammar, considering that I had purchased this for my 16-year old niece – but once I realized it is simply how these sisters talk (yup, real-world, can’t escape it) I accepted it and enjoyed the story.
The girls have a realistic plan to improve their s
Enid Wray
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful book about two sisters, you’ll fall in love with this book right off the bat.
Nice easy flow - and conversational style - to the writing. Well developed character, plot and setting.
Wry, witty humour underscores the pretty crappy life situation the two sisters find themselves in. The girls are living in grinding poverty, their subsidised/free lunch plans the only decent meal of their day, with little parental support to help them out.
That one sister ends up as a teen mom could be the
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Eighteen-year-old twin sisters, Crystal and Amber share everything, their bank account, their room, their homework, their hopes for a better future, and even the child born to one of them from a one-night stand. Despite all they share, they are opposites. Crystal loves cars. Amber loves girlie dresses and family. One day, Crystal is introduced to a solution to all their money problems and an escape from the poverty that has haunted them their entire lives. Although it is a brilliant solution, sh ...more
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J.M. Kelly is the YA pen name for the children's author Joelle Anthony. She loves the rain, which is good because she was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and now lives in British Columbia, Canada. She spent her childhood with her nose in a book, often in the backseat of whatever old car her dad had at the time. She's worked as an actress, a Minor League Baseball souvenir hawker, the Easter Bun ...more

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