Joyride by Anna Banks
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.
I’ve been really wary of Anna Banks’s Syrena Legacy Trilogy because I’ve heard mixed things about it. Despite that, I jumped at the chance to read Joyride early because contemporary is my favorite, and I was intrigued by the premise. I am so glad I did because I loved Joyride.
Joyride was hilarious and entertaining and oh so sweet when it needed to be, but it was also very honest and insightful for me. I’ve never read a YA novel with such a real feeling look into immigration like Joyride. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever read a YA novel that deals with immigration at all, but it’s a very real thing that so many families deal with. It was refreshing to see it represented in a novel. I also loved how it portrayed racism because I feel like a lot of people choose to refuse to acknowledge that racism exists in this day and age when in fact it’s, unfortunately, a very prominent issue. (Speaking of, Arden’s dad is a loser and I hate him BYE.) So, like, you go, Anna.
Going back to the ‘hilarious and entertaining and oh so sweet that I mentioned before, OMG Joyride had a lot of that. Arden and Carly’s relationship was largely centered around the fact that Arden needed a pranking accomplice, so obviously there were fun times there. Some of their pranks were seriously gold. Also, the banter between those two was so funny, as was the banter between Arden and his Uncle Cletus. I loved both of those relationships. But especially Arden and Carly’s, who am I kidding. It was sweet and swoony and basically everything you could ever hope for from a story about first love.
“I just don’t want you to have any regrets with me. I don’t want to hold you back.”
“You’ve filled a hole I didn’t know I had in me, Carly. What is there to regret?”
*swoons* *sighs* Arden might have made my list of book boyfriends. Hmm…We’ll see. Anyway, Joyride was an honest and delightful read that everyone should have on their TBR.