(Review) Joyride

Joyride by Anna Banks
Publication Date: June 2, 2015
Pages: 288 (Kindle)
Genre: Young Adult
My Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis:
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.

My Review: 
I actually had no idea what I was getting into with this one. I thought it was going to be some cute "popular boy falls for nerdy girl" kind of book, but it turned out to be way, way more than that. 

Don't get me wrong, the popular boy still fell for the nerdy girl but the circumstances are a little different than the norm. 

Carly works graveyard shifts to help give money to a fund that's going to help smuggle her parents back from Mexico while Arden fools around and does whatever he wants. At first Carly is reluctant to become friends with him because she doesn't want to draw any attention to herself, but Arden is pretty relentless. 

Their friendship/relationship starts off, well, I was going to say "innocent" but that doesn't really work. They start off being friends and pulling pranks on other people,which is pretty much Arden's favorite thing. See, Arden's dad is the sheriff and he also kind of hates his dad. Honestly, his hatred is completely justified. Sheriff Moss is a huge jerk, but I can't get into that without spoiling the whole book. 

I really love how Carly changes when she's with Arden. She's spent so long being responsible and trying to bring her parents back that she hasn't had time to be a kid. It's a tough look at the life of immigrants, especially knowing that these things are actually happening to people who are looking for a better life for their families. 

Eventually Carly comes to realize that she cares for Arden as more than a friend and she also notices that she's different when she's with him. It's a good different, though. 

I feel the same about Arden's character. He was broken in a way that Carly didn't know and she, in her own way, brought him back to life. It's always nice to see that characters can build each other up and it isn't always one leaning on the other. 

There was, of course, major drama in this one. Most of it revolved around the MC's families and was tied together in many ways. The way it all unfolded was interesting, to say the least. Things took a dramatic turn about three-quarters of the way through and it got tough to read. 

Everything turns out in the end but I felt a little beat up afterwards...and it made me wishing for an Uncle Cletus.