Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Review: Joyride by Anna Banks

Joyride by Anna Banks
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: June 2, 2015
Rating: 2 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

What I Liked:

I think I liked this book? I'm honestly not sure. It's one of those books that you think you enjoy the story, but other things bother you and it leaves you confused as to whether or not you actually liked what you read. I liked Banks' debut, Of Poseidon, wasn't crazy about Of Triton, never read Of Neptune. But I LOVED Anna's adult book, Degrees of Wrong. I think Banks is a talented writer, but I'm not sure if her books work for me.

Carly is the daughter of an immigrant family from Mexico. She works during her free time and gives the money to her older brother, who is saving his and her earnings to pay for their parents and twin younger siblings to come to the United States (illegally) across the border. Carly doesn't have time for boys or friends, and doesn't want to be bothered. But Arden Moss, the sheriff's son, is the exact opposite - he wants to do crazy pranks and as little school and work as possible. Carly and Arden meet in a strange situation, and soon, Carly finds herself doing pranks with Arden. But not everything is fun and games when so much is at stake for Carly.

On the surface, this is a very humorous and fluffy read. Carly doesn't like Arden at first - she knows him as the popular, charming, good-looking sheriff's son who always has his pick of girls. Carly has zero time for boys or friends, and what's more, she doesn't want the attention. But a situation happens and Arden wants to see her again, and he wants them to hang out and do obnoxious pranks. Arden helps Carly find a better, higher-paying job, and drives her to and from the job. It's not long before Carly's walls come down, but Carly doesn't dare tell him about her family.

Arden isn't the manwhore Carly thinks he is. Sure, he's popular and charming. But he's been different since his sister died. No more football, no more ambitions, no more pranks. Not until what happens with Carly - and then Arden decides he wants Carly to join him in his pranking, But he doesn't expect to fall for Carly.

I liked Arden for sure. Banks constructs this backstory that is so sad and heartbreaking, and yet Arden is very lifelike and real, even with the emptiness he feels after his sister's death. Arden isn't some rich spoiled boy - he's a sister-less, pretty much father- and mother-less boy. I felt bad for Arden! Also I liked him a lot. 

I didn't really LOVE the story - it didn't quite hold my interest and attention. Same goes for the issues in the book - I have opinions on immigration and whatnot, but I'll keep them out of this review. For the most part, I really didn't want to read about these issues, one reason being that I knew these would end up cookie-cutter perfect in the end (that's how these books always end). Fiction isn't always realistic, and I know the author wanted a fluffy ending, but meh. 

What I Did Not Like:

Meh. That's kind of the overall feeling I have about this book. I could have not read it and have been neither worse off nor better off. It didn't do anything for me. The hero isn't totally swoonworthy, the heroine isn't someone I'm rooting for. Heck, I don't even like Carly.

Carly works and works and works and gives all of her money to her brother to bring her parents to the United States. No offense, but this has always boggled my mind: you're willing to pay someone $20,000+, just hand over that money, for the CHANCE that you'll have someone smuggled over the border? It doesn't seem worth it, especially since most immigrants don't make it over the border. Total waste of money. Of course, we all have opinions of immigration. My point HERE is that a teenage girl in high school should NOT be responsible for bringing her parents and siblings to the United States. Absolutely not. 

Carly is so passive! She just goes along with it and works herself to death for the slim CHANCE that her parents and siblings will come to the United States (illegally). Seriously, she's working until 2 am at a convenience st
ore, bikes to the trailer park, and then gets up to go to school in a few hours. Not a way to live. Look, I understand this - I work part time to pay my expensive-as-sin tuition bills. My parents don't contribute to my education (they can't afford to do so), so I understand. But there are lines to be drawn. Carly didn't (and doesn't) draw any. I seriously don't understand why she doesn't stick up for herself, to Julio (her brother) or to her parents! My parents were immigrants too! Not from Mexico and not during these tight times of immigration laws, but trust me, I know all about their struggles of having to work weird jobs and try and get citizenship and all that. There's no excuse for her parents FORCING her to work in the United States so they can come back to the United States after being deported. Ugh!

Okay I said I would keep my opinion of immigration out of it and I still have... sort of. That was more of my opinion on Carly's role in the immigration thing. She's too passive. Too pushover-y. Too cowardly to actually do what she wants to do.

I just didn't like Carly, cover to cover. Not to mention Arden's fascination with her was instant. I don't get it! 

Ehhhh. Meeehhh. Honestly I should have skipped this one. The ending is so sappy and sugary and perfect and GAG. I really wanted certain things to happen but NOPE, that wouldn't have been fluffy enough! Sometimes I really do not understand contemporary fiction.

Would I Recommend It:

No. Not really. This book did nothing for me. I didn't root for the protagonist, I wanted there to be a cruel ending, I didn't care for the male protagonist... the romance was okay and the humor was refreshing but this book wasn't necessarily worth the effort to read, to be honest. At least, not during finals week. I thank the publisher for sending me a copy though, I appreciate it.


2 stars. 2.5 stars? I feel like I didn't do a great job of explaining why I didn't like this book. I just didn't connect with it, or feel some type of way about it. It was just there. 

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!


  1. I just read this and I loved it. Being a hispanic girl myself, I was so happy to finally read a book with hispanic characters that didn't involve gangs or drug cartels.

    There wasn't much romance in this but I really liked what we got.

    As for the immigration stuff, I found it completely realistic. I have relatives and family friends that have family members that are departed and they are more than willing to waste that kind of money (and more)for the CHANCE to get to see their families again. You can pay less, but they dump them in the desert and let them fend for themselves. For Carly being so young, I understood that she didn't know any better than what her brother and parents told her.

    I do agree that her brother and parents guilting her so much was a shitty thing to do, but it was part of the story, her finding herself.

    I was happy with the ending because her family (SPOILER) stayed in Mexico (as mean as that sounds). If they would have gotten citizenship, it would have been to easy and it would have annoyed me.

    Sorry you didn't like this one...

    1. I'm so glad to hear that! I imagine it's quite realistic, but it still bothered me SO MUCH, that she's so young and was pretty much forced to work like that. I personally think it's unacceptable, despite knowing that it happens often. I'm also really happy about her family, in the end! Thank goodness, because that would have been the last straw, if they came to the USA. Too cookie-cutter perfect -_-

      Thank you, Nereyda! <3

  2. Sorry this didn't do well for you, though I'm still so intrigued to read this. Thanks for sharing! :)

    Blessie @ Mischievous Reads

    1. I hope you enjoy it when you read it, Blessie!

  3. This probably won't be one of the few contemporaries I pick up, but I could see it being good book club material--a conversation starter on immigration, families, children's roles in contributing to family wealth past and present, etc. Wow, I sound like an English teacher... :P Thanks for the lovely review!

    1. YES! Definitely great for discussions!

      Thank YOU!

  4. This is a disappointment o.O I haven't read this one although I have heard of it. I find the immigration part fascinating though - thank you for the helpful review<3 Benish | Feminist Reflections

    1. It bothered me so much, that she had to work like a slave in order for her parents to come to the United States. They're the PARENTS - take care of your children! Ugh! -_-

      Anyway. Thank you, Benish!

  5. I just started this one, curious to see what I'll think. Sorry to hear you didn't like it :(

    1. I hope you like it more than I did, Eileen!

  6. I wasn't 100% sold on this one to begin with, and I'm not sure if I'll be giving this one a try...
    I'm sorry to hear this wasn't exactly your cup of tea, if you don't root for the characters, a contemporary book is not gonna work for you at all!
    Thank you for your very honest review!

    1. Meh. Yeah. You would live and breathe just fine without this book in your life.

      Thank YOU, Pili!

  7. Ah, I love love love your review Alyssa. <3 I also gave this book two stars. I was just.. really disappointed by it. I didn't like the plot at all :( Sad face. And I wanted to love it so badly. But I didn't. Not at all. Sigh. But I also really love Anna. She's an amazing person :D And so kind. <3 But yeah. This wasn't a book for me either :( I love that we both didn't love it, lol. <3 Thank you for sharing sweetie :)

    1. That's terrible to hear, but at the same time, I'm glad I'm not the only one! Anna is an amazing person! Her books don't always work for me though.

      You're welcome, Carina! And thank YOU ^_^


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