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I Belong

Review: Emancipated by M. G. Reyes

EmancipatedTitle: Emancipated

Author: M. G. Reyes

Genre: YA Mystery

Series: Emancipated (Book #1)

Publication Date: May 26, 2015

Format: Hardcover, 400 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062288954 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062288950 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Zed


Fans of Pretty Little Liars and L.A. Candy will devour this fast-paced series from a writer New York Times bestselling author Michael Grant raves is “an amazing new talent!”

Six gorgeous teens, all legally emancipated from parental control, move into their dream house on L.A.’s infamous Venice Beach only to discover their perfect setup may be too good to be true. The roommates—a diva, a jock, a former child star, a hustler, a musician, and a hacker—all harbor dark secrets but manage to form a kind of dysfunctional family. Until one of them is caught in a lie and everyone’s freedom is put on the line. How far are they each willing to go to hide the past? And who will they betray to protect their future?

Told from alternating points of view, Emancipated is the first book in a blistering guessing game of a series packed with intrigue, romance, and scandal.

Quick & Dirty: Six teenagers discover that freedom comes with a huge price.

Opening Sentence: It happened like this: Candace needed to leave home and Grace found the solution.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

If you’ve watched Pretty Little Liars (yes, I’m guilty), then you’ll have an inkling of the kind of feeling I got when I read this book. There’s lots of drama, teenagers with dangerous secrets and suspense. In Emancipated, six teenagers move to LA to live under the same roof, most are emancipated of their own free will but others aren’t as lucky. At first it feels like a massive holiday, all the freedom they could want without the nagging parents, but soon enough they realise that emancipation / moving out isn’t all it was cut out to be.

Underneath their teenage lives are secrets, lies, hidden identities and a lot of twists! None of the characters of the house are who they seem. Lovely, innocent Grace is scheming to get her father out of prison, sweet, smart Maya turns out to be a spy (!) And John-Michael is anything but a cliche gay guy.

Maya said, “If he bought him H and gave it to his dad, knowing that he was gonna kill himself, that’s a crime. I don’t know what level of crime it is, but I’m pretty sure that’s illegal.”
Grace could barely conceal her scorn. “Of course that’s illegal! It’s assisted suicide. Second-degree murder. You do prison time for that.”
“That’s insane,” Candace said. “No way should you do time for assisted suicide.”
“Are you kidding?” Grace countered angrily. “What if I come round and ‘assist’ you to death, huh? Or your little ol’ grammy? That okay by you?”

The story is deliberately confusing, with the intermittent conversations between Ariana and Charlie separating the actual events taking place at the house, which starts to have a ‘big-brother’ type feel to it. The reader knows that Charlie isn’t a real name but is left guessing who it is and why Ariana is so involved in ‘Charlie’s’ life.

I felt like Paolo was a bit of a waste; he was a pretty boy who falls in love with a girl that won’t look at him twice and is left pinning for her. The author tried to make his character more interesting with the Darius-related events but I still felt that his entire character lacked spark.

“No, but really.” He managed to bring his chuckles under control. “Look, you guys must have an opinion: Does Lucy like me?”
A little too quickly, Grace answered, “No.”
He sighed. “I was afraid of that.”
Candace said, “Did she ever act like she likes you?”
“No. Kind of the opposite.”
Grace rolled her eyes. “There’s your clue.”
“I guess.”
She continued. “I hope you don’t want to be a detective when you graduate.”
“It wouldn’t be my first choice.”

John-Michael on the other hand was such an awesome guy to read about. I could feel the pain, guilt and relief his father’s death had on him, and it was clear from his past that he has seen some dreadful things. I loved his dependable character, and the struggle he’s gone through for being gay made him even more loveable.

She placed a hand on his. “I’m sorry.”
Candace chimed in, “Yeah, John-Michael, me too. Not everyone gets along with their parents, but it’s got to be hard to lose one.”
“Then I must be pretty careless,” he replied with a bitter chuckle. “Because I’ve lost two.”

Lucy was kind of frustrating, I mean if you know that a man is on death row for murder, and you have insider knowledge that the murder was committed by a woman, surely you would speak up about it? I can imagine it’s difficult for her trudging up memories of a past she’s tried to forget but seriously, someone’s going to die because of her silence! She acts like she’s so tough, but it’s clear that it’s just a facade and underneath it all she’s scared.

The ending has a cliffhanger but I think emancipated is a series I would like to continue reading, just to find out what/who actually killed Tyson (I have a hunch) and what happens about John-Michael’s court issue. I do hope that Paolo gets a more interesting role though because right now, he doesn’t seem to be adding much.

Notable Scene:

So far, life kept handing him the fuzzy end of the lollipop. Tonight had been John-Michael’s chance to change that. His father’s exact words had been, “You’re a screwup, son. For once, I want to see something different. Prove to me that you inherited some balls.”

Now John-Michael would finally have the opportunity, maybe even the upper hand. Freedom had come at last. The price had been high.

But then, wasn’t it always.

Emancipated Series:

1. Emancipated


FTC Advisory: Katherine Tegen/HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Emancipated. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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