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I Belong


Review: On the Edge by Allison van Diepen

On the EdgeTitle: On the Edge

Author: Allison van Diepen

Genre: YA Contemporary

Series: N/A

Publication Date: November 25, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062303449 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062303448 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Bridget

Synopsis:

From Allison van Diepen, author of Snitch and Street Pharm, comes a sexy, dangerous novel about a teen who witnesses a murder and gets caught up in the seedy world of Miami’s gangs.

Maddie Diaz never should have taken that shortcut through the park. If she hadn’t, she wouldn’t have seen two members of the Reyes gang attacking a homeless man. Now, as the only witness, she knows there’s a target on her back.

But when the Reyes jump her on the street, Maddie is protected by a second gang and their secretive leader, Lobo, who is determined to take down the Reyes himself. Lobo is mysterious and passionate, and Maddie begins to fall for him. But when they live this close to the edge, can their love survive?

On the Edge is a compelling story about fighting for what’s right and figuring out where you belong. The novel showcases a gritty, realistic voice and earth–shattering romance that will intrigue readers of Simone Elkeles and Paul Griffin and captivate fans of Allison van Diepen’s other novels.

Quick & Dirty: An intriguing story that felt very realistic and had interesting characters, cute romance, and lots of action. I had a few issues with it, but overall I really enjoyed it!

Opening Sentence: “HOW ARE WE CELEBRATING TONIGHT?”

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Things are finally going right for senior Maddie Diaz. She just got a full ride scholarship to the school of her choice, which means she will get to leave Miami behind. She loves her mom and friends but she has always wanted to get away and now she will finally be able to. In celebration of her good news her group of friends put together a little party. Maddie has a great time but on the short walk home her life changes forever. She witnesses a brutal crime being permitted by members The Reyes, one of the most dangerous gangs in the area. She is the only person to see the two gang members attack a helpless homeless man. Most people in her shoes would keep their mouth shut, but Maddie decides to do the right thing and tell the cops what really happened. This causes her to have a huge target on her back because the Reyes’ are not to be messed with.

Soon Maddie finds herself in another bad situation but this time she is the one being attacked. Luckily another local gang comes to her rescue, and ends up saving her life. The leader of this mysterious new gang goes by the name of Lobo, and Maddie finds herself very attracted to her savior! He seems determined to bring down the Reyes, and the more Maddie gets to know him the more she finds she can’t stay away. But Lobo is living a very dangerous life and if Maddie’s not careful she will be dragged into the middle of a gang war that could cost her life!

Maddie was a great character, but there were some things about her that I struggled with. First let’s talk about what I liked about her.  She is a sweet, smart girl that tries to live a good honest life. She has always been poor, and the neighborhood she grew up in isn’t the safest. But she is a resourceful girl, and for the most part she has been able to avoid getting into any serious trouble. I would like to think that most people in her situation would be honest and tell the truth, but in reality most people would probably just keep walking to protect themselves. I truly admired how brave Maddie was and I loved that she stood up for those less fortunate then herself. I also respected how hard she worked. Not only did she do well in school, but she also worked part-time a McDonald’s to help her mother out. She didn’t ever complain about being poor. Maddie was just grateful for what she had.  Now for the things that bothered me. The first thing I didn’t like about her was how cliché her character felt at times. I get that she is in high school and does stupid things sometimes, but I thought that this aspect of her character was a little overdone. The other thing I didn’t really love was how fast she became obsessed with Lobo. It just felt weird and unnatural to me. But to be honest her flaws were pretty minor and overall I ended up really liking her character.

Ortiz was a really great bad boy that I easily fell for. He is brave, loyal, kind, and totally gorgeous! He has that dark mysterious vibe going for him, but he also is a really nice guy. The life he lives is a dangerous one, and the risks he takes to try to make the world a better place made me respect him.  While I really liked his character I had a hard time with his romance with Maddie. It was complete instalove, which was so frustrating because it started out with so much potential. Their first interactions are full of flirty moments and great tension, which was really fun to read. But as soon as they start dating things just develop way too fast. It made me feel a huge disconnect with their relationship. I did still end of enjoying their romance. I just wish it would have been written better.

On the Edge is a bold story about gang violence, and what can happen to those that get caught up in it. To be perfectly honest this was not at all what I was expecting going into the story. I thought that it would be more of a fluffy love story that glazed over most of the more brutal parts of gang violence, but it actually felt very realistic. Personally, I was lucky to grow up in a small town in Idaho, so gang violence was pretty much non-existent, but reading this story really opened my eyes to what it is like for those that are less fortunate then myself. I found the entire atmosphere of the book to be not only intriguing but also educational. The romance did feel rushed, so I had a few issues with that and there were also a few things that felt slightly cliché. But overall I thought that this book was very well written and I really enjoyed reading it. This is a story that left an impression and it is one I will not soon forget. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a thought provoking contemporary read with sweet romance.

Notable Scene:

And I could tell that he was. Whatever was between us, he must’ve felt it too. He wouldn’t be here if he

didn’t.

We were quiet then. Crickets came alive in the silence. I saw him get up, adjust the cap over his eyes and move toward me. I sat as still as a statue, afraid to move.

I closed my eyes and felt warm lips touch my temple. But it wasn’t enough for me. It wasn’t close to enough. I turned in my chair and reached up, guiding his head down to mine.

He groaned. We caught our breaths, kissing hungrily, starved for each other. My hand curled in the silky hair below his cap, and he moved back sharply, turning away and pulling up the bandanna in one quick motion.

I supposed I should be embarrassed that I’d grabbed him like that. But I wasn’t. That kiss was all I’d have to remember him by. And I knew he’d wanted it just as much.

“Good-bye, Madeleina.” He moved away.

I was alone again. And I’d never felt so lonely in my entire life.

“Goodbye, Lobo,” I whispered into the darkness.

skull4

FTC Advisory:  HarperTeen provided me with a copy of On the Edge.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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