Danielle (Love at First Page)'s Reviews > Joyride

Joyride by Anna Banks
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3.5-4 stars

Joyride by Anna Banks gave me lots of feels! I've been looking forward to reading it all year, and I'm happy to say it didn't disappoint. It's got a really fun romantic set up, plus a deeper, heartfelt message at its core. I think it's fairly unique for a contemporary romance, even providing a twist at the end I didn't see coming and a scarily intense finish. I expected the swoons, but everything else was a fantastic bonus.

Let me get my main criticism out of the way first. The book is told in dual point-of-view between Carly and Arden, which I usually love, but the switch from first person (Carly's chapters) to third person (Arden's chapters) is very awkward. I have no idea why the whole book wasn't written in first person; I can't make any sense of it, unless the author was worried about their voices sounding too alike. But doing it this way made it feel almost like two different books, and it keeps Arden at an unnecessary distance.

Otherwise, the characters are great. Carly is living with her brother Julio, and both of them are working themselves to death so they can smuggle their parents back into the U.S. She misses them and wants to do what's right for her family, but she also values her education and longs for a much brighter future than working in menial labor. But Carly's parents and brother push her to think of the family first, always, so she's having trouble balancing such a full load. Her social life is basically non-existent at this point. Though I didn't feel an amazing connection to Carly, you can't help but to admire her determination and independence. Despite the hard life she's been given, she still dreams big. I sympathized with her frustrations with her family but at the same time loving them more than anything.

Arden is one of the popular boys in school, but ever since his sister died he hasn't been the same on the inside. He's hurting and, unable to sleep, takes to causing mischief throughout their small Florida town. It's a way for him to be close to his sister again, while also filling a void. After a crazy encounter with Carly, a girl he's never paid attention to before, he recognizes a kindred spirit and vows to make her his partner in crime. I think the set up to their friendship and eventual romance is all sorts of adorable. At first Carly completely - and understandably - hates his guts, and it's funny to see him try to win her over. He's relentless. Eventually Carly realizes that she needs this in her life as much as he does; these late night pranks aren't just an escape, but a way to feel alive again. I really enjoyed the progression of their relationship and didn't feel like it was rushed at all. They make a cute pair and are equally smitten with each other.

Outside of the romance is a strong family theme. Arden's father is, in a few words, one of the worst characters I've ever met. Seriously, you will hate him and want to do more than kick him where it hurts. I felt so bad for Arden, but it was great seeing him stick up for Carly (his father is racist) and get out from underneath his shadow. With Carly's family, Anna Banks explores issues of immigration and human smuggling with complexity and heart. There's no easy fix, and it's a horrible situation for everyone. When we learn Julio has been negotiating with a human smuggler, I just knew things were about to go from bad to worse. It's quite the heart-pounding finish, but I'm more than satisfied with where we leave Arden and Carly.

With a romance centered around small town pranks and strong themes of family and love, I definitely recommend Joyride. It's just what the title suggests, with a little bit of heartache sprinkled in as well.

***Thanks to the publisher for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!***

This review can also be found at Love at First Page.
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Reading Progress

October 3, 2014 – Shelved
October 3, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
October 3, 2014 – Shelved as: 2015-releases
January 20, 2015 – Shelved as: tbr-adult
January 20, 2015 – Shelved as: tbr-arc
January 20, 2015 – Shelved as: arc
January 23, 2015 – Shelved as: tbr-next
January 24, 2015 – Started Reading
January 24, 2015 –
page 36
13.04% "I don't like that Arden's chapters are 3rd person. :/"
January 24, 2015 –
page 54
19.57% ""Find something that matters to you. Even when it's gone.""
January 24, 2015 –
page 181
65.58% ""Bad. Really bad." SWOON."
January 24, 2015 –
page 200
72.46% "Oh my GOSH!!! I did not see that coming."
January 24, 2015 –
page 228
82.61% "Okay, but this book needs to stop with the "he and I", "you and I", "she and I" crap."
January 24, 2015 – Finished Reading
January 25, 2015 –
page 288
January 25, 2015 – Shelved as: contemporary
January 25, 2015 – Shelved as: cover-love
January 25, 2015 – Shelved as: crush-worthy-boys
January 25, 2015 – Shelved as: favorites-young-adult
January 25, 2015 – Shelved as: read-in-2015
January 25, 2015 – Shelved as: extra-swoony
January 25, 2015 – Shelved as: genre-young-adult
June 6, 2015 – Shelved as: own-kindle-book

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Racquel (new)

Racquel I've seen that in a few books & ITS THE WORST!!!! I don't know how editors let that slide.

Danielle (Love at First Page) It doesn't work at all here. Very awkward. :(

message 3: by mo (new)

mo what's awkward ?

Danielle (Love at First Page) The switch from first to third person.

Lindsay Fouts I thought the POV switch was odd also

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