Author: Beth Ann Bauman
Genre: contemporary, drama
Published: May 8, 2012
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Source: Publisher - I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
"It’s the summer before senior year and the alluring Angel is ready to have fun. She’s not like her best friend, Inggy, who has a steady boyfriend, good grades, and college plans. Angel isn’t sure what she wants to do yet, but she has confidence and experience beyond her years. Still, her summer doesn’t start out as planned. Her good friend Joey doesn’t want to fool around anymore, he wants to be her boyfriend, while Angel doesn’t want to be tied down. As Joey pulls away, and Inggy tours colleges, Angel finds herself spending more time with Inggy’s boyfriend, Cork. With its cast of vivid and memorable characters, this tale from the Jersey shore is sure to make some waves." - Goodreads
This book is really not like anything I've read lately in YA lit. It is both refreshing and disturbing. Refreshing, because the main characters voice is so clear. Disturbing, because it is so sexually explicit and, at times, shocking. Angel is not really your typical YA protagonist. At 17 she lives away from her family in her own house and pretty much does what she wants. She drinks, smokes weed and sleeps around casually with really no thoughts of the consequences (she says throughout the book that she gave up smoking four years earlier, apparently pot doesn't count). These are not normally traits that a parent would want their teenager reading about. However, coming from an adult's perspective they make for an interesting and thought-provoking read. Angel's voice seems very genuine throughout the book, you really feel that you can see how her thought process works and while she isn't a very likable character most of the time, she can be a sympathetic character. I sort of liked that the author didn't make excuses for Angel's behavior because, well, there really isn't one. Angel acts how she wants to regardless of how it effects other people. While this isn't a desirable trait in a human being, it is true that some people behave this way and it is interesting to see inside the mind of such a person. I also liked that the "Jersey Shore culture" is explored without being mocked. There is no Snookie, no fist pumping, and while there are various "situations" The Situation is thankfully absent. This book is serious without being message-y and I liked that.
Now lets talk about the controversy, and there is plenty of controversy, surrounding this book. Basically there are a lot of people who are concerned with the explicit sexual nature of this novel. There are several scenes in the book that were gasp-worthy, not because of what was actually happening, but because of the language that was used to describe it and the casual attitude with which it was approached. I get it, teenagers have sex, and I think that the topic is certainly fair game. However, I also think that the topic should be approached in a responsible manner and that the vocabulary used, while it doesn't need to be clinical, also doesn't need to sound like the dialogue from an "adult" film. I mean seriously.
Overall I gave the book three stars because it was thought-provoking and real. I also did a video review which will be posted below if you want to check it out.
I received this book from RandomBuzzers.com as part of their Summer Ambuzzadors program and they very nicely sent me two ARCs so I will be giving one of them away to one of you fabulous people. This giveaway is only going to be open to my US followers because I'll be shipping it myself and international shipping costs are crazy! But have no fear, there will be two more contests coming up in the next few weeks and both of those will be open internationally!
Just fill out the rafflecopter below and good luck!!!