Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, Joyride by Anna Banks.

I'll give the book this, it sounded interesting.

The story follows 16-year-old Carly, an American-born Mexican who, with the help of her older brother, is trying to smuggle her recently deported parents back into the US. One night while working the graveyard shift at a convenience store, Carly meets Arden, the sheriff's son and last person she wants to associate with. Arden eventually convinces Carly to become his accomplice in his pranks but the two soon realize that being the sheriff's son has benefits that don't extend to Carly. In fact, Arden's dad's re-election campaign is centered around tightening restrictions on undocumented immigrants.

I'm so torn because I really enjoyed the storyline of this book - I haven't had the chance to read a lot of books on undocumented immigrants and deportation, the only other one I can think of being The Sun Is Also a Star - so I was really invested in Carly's story. But I just found some parts were slow and not really as enthralling as the title seems to suggest.

Firstly, I want to preface this review by saying that I am not an immigrant. I am not the child of immigrants. I will never know, on a first-hand basis, what the situation like what Carly's family goes through will feel like. Any analysis on that topic that I give should be taken with a grain of salt, as I am not the best person to verify the situation.

I will say, however, that the story Banks writes seems very plausible and remains heartbreaking. I cannot even imagine what she is going through. It's books like these that really put my own life into perspective and show that no matter how bad things get, they could always be worse.

In terms of characters, I really liked both Carly and Arden. I'm kind of sick and tired of the womanizing jock trope and while Banks shows that Arden is not that fairly quickly, I just felt like that cliche wasn't necessary to enhance the story. Carly is strong and smart. She knew her situation and the cards stacked against her but she didn't let that get in her way. I will say there were a few times where she just kind of went along with Arden's pranks even though she knew they might get caught. Part of me thinks she was reckless, but then the other part of me thinks that she shouldn't have to worry about what happens if they get caught.

I think aside from the obviously horrible situation I didn't really feel anything in this book. The romance was lukewarm for me, it seemed a little too insta-lovey and convenient for my tastes and I never really felt the spark between the two. I think this might be the biggest fault of this book, at the end, I just feel meh because of that ending.

Overall, the storyline of this book was really great but I just felt like the execution was a little lacking.