Author: Anna Banks
Rating: ★★★★ 1/2
Synopsis: It’s been several years since Carly Vega’s parents were deported. Carly lives with her older brother, studies hard, and works the graveyard shift at a convenience store to earn enough to bring her parents back from Mexico.
Arden Moss used to be the star quarterback at school. He used to date popular blondes and have fun pranking with his older sister. But now all that’s changed, and Arden needs a new accomplice. Especially one his father, the town sheriff, will disapprove.?
All Carly wants, at first, 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 the wishes of others. Carly and Arden’s journey toward their true hearts – and one another– is funny, romantic, and sometimes harsh. Just like real life.
Huge thank you to Feiwel & Friends and Netgalley for this ARC!
Joyride‘s cover was very deceiving to me. It looked like it could have been a fluffy romance, and it wasn’t! Actually, I gotta hand it to Anna Banks, because Joyride‘s opening chapter is easily one of the most memorable and even quotable moments of the book.
Who doesn’t love a young Latina welding a shotgun to protect her cheesy Breezy Mart? And that’s just it, Carla is hard damn core, but that’s actually not even the reason to love her. Carla is one of those heroines who gets labeled by others as being a certain way and she’s anything butt. Her encounter in the beginning of the novel is an interesting one, as I admit, I didn’t care for Arden much. He grew on me though.
The roots of Joyride really are an old fashioned immigration story, the kind where some are fortunate to be in one place, wanting to bring the rest of their family over. Carla and Julio break their backs, and pour their blood, sweat and tears, to make it so their parents can cross the border, and let’s just say the siblings face far more obstacles than is easy to deal with.
And here’s the thing, there’s a romance in this story. However, it’s an insanely well developed, organic kind of romance where you see the tensions rise between Arden and Carla — they start off completely on the wrong foot! Yet, Banks develops their relationship into something you can cheer for. Arden and Carla’s relationship felt very real and it was tested in so many ways. I found myself turning the pages because I wanted to see how their relationship would grow and mature, and I feel like Banks nails it.
The characters in Joyride are fantastically well developed considering how short the novel is. You understand every character’s motive, their reasoning and rational for their behaviour, and while it isn’t always pleasant, Banks keeps you guessing when it comes to building a resolve for each one. You want to read about Carla’s successes and failures, you want to see Arden discover who he wants to become, and you care about Julio’s dreams and desires because it’s realistic.
The writing in Joyride is punchy, humorous, and Banks really knows how to balance the humour from the seriousness of the main storyline. If there’s any small criticism I have of the book, it took me awhile to deal with the going back and forth between first and third person, but Carla and Arden have very unique voices and descriptions, so as I eased into it, the more it started to work for me.
Joyride is the kind of book that starts off with a bang, and ends with an even bigger one. It’s a page-turner with well developed characters and an interesting story about love, family, and making tough decisions in a situation where you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I absolutely fell in love with Carla, and she’s the kind of heroine that her flaws are as wonderfully well developed as her strengths. Joyride is a roller-coaster from beginning to end and the ride is crazy from the get go.