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Cover: Love it. Pickup trucks are driven by a lot of people in this novel. Nighttime scene is perfect, since MCs are night owls.
Deeply moving, revealing, touching, painful, romantic, and heartfelt. I highly recommend this novel for all YA contemporary fans.
Even though I personally don’t know of anyone who has experienced a family member who has been deported for being in this country illegally, Anna Banks brought this issue and these characters to life! I fell in love with Carly and Arden. Carly has such incredible strength and fortitude. Arden becomes a better person because of this beautiful Latina. Family, friendship, love, betrayal, racism, suicide, depression are some of the themes of this novel.
What I love about this novel:
1. Carly is a really strong person, and she stands up for others. She carries a burden that no teen should ever have—supporting her family. She’s had to grow up way too fast, and I love that Arden brings out that “fun” part of her.
2. Anna Banks shows racism for exactly what it is – UGLY, disgusting, filthy!
3. The fun, practical jokes!
4. Carly’s relationship with her older brother. It’s complicated, but it makes Carly grow as a person and forces her to gain her independence.
5. Arden – G-d bless that boy! He sticks up for Carly when most would bury themselves in a hole because they wouldn’t defy a parent.
6. The portrayal of Arden’s parents and the fact that he found a way not to sink with them!
7. What a sweet romance between Arden and Carly!
8. Arden’s uncle! What a fascinating character!!!
9. Possibly one of the best kisses in a novel! Swoon!
I found JOYRIDE deeply moving, heartbreaking, inspiring, and swoon-worthy! Add this to your to-read list!
Thank you so much to the publisher for the review copy.
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Q: Living in Wisconsin, a vastly different environment from where JOYRIDE’s Florida setting, illegal immigration issues are rarely discussed in the local news. What is the biggest misconception about illegal immigrants you hear and what would you like people to understand?
A: In this area, the biggest complaint is that Mexican immigrants are “stealing” all of the jobs—because they’re willing to work for less money than most people to do the same job. I hate this logic. The thing is, Mexican immigrants are the hardest working people I know, and most employers know this too. It’s just natural to want to hire the best employee you can find—no reason to bring race into it at all.
Q: In JOYRIDE, Carly and her brother Julio work nearly around the clock to pay to illegally bring their parents and their twin siblings back to the US for a whopping $60,000 with no guarantee that they’ll arrive safely!!! What kind of research did you do to find out about the illegal operations?
A: From the time I started waitressing as a teen, I worked with some undocumented immigrants, and they told me their stories. Many left families behind to come here and provide a better life for them back home. Some brought their families with them—a dangerous risk to be sure. They would pay people who they called coyotes to get them across the border. Sometimes the coyotes would only get them as far as the desert, and they had to walk for days in those conditions with the little food and water they could bring with them. They were devastatingly unprepared for their journey.
Unfortunately, their stories are just a few of the many which are just a Google search away. Responsible journalism paints a truly horrific picture of what these people go through to improve their circumstances—it’s heartbreaking and inspirational at the same time.
Q: Arden’s father, the town sheriff is a raving bigot and racist jerk. Arden not only sticks up for Carly, but defies his father. What do you think is the most important lesson teens can take away from this, especially since going against their parents can be so hard!
A: In general, I don’t advise teens to go against their parents. But if we’re being honest here, teens know the difference between right and wrong. It’s as simple as that. I didn’t write JOYRIDE to be a teachy preachy book. What I want to get across is that you HAVE to find your own identity, separate from your parents, and I think the teen years are the beginning of that process.
Q: Arden finds not only a partner in mischief with Carly, but a true and loving friend. Still, both Arden and Carly have issues that cut them to the soul. What qualities did they possess for each other that helped to heal their internal wounds?
A: For Arden, Carly offers stability and consistency and unmoving strength. For Carly, Arden offers a sense of humor, and relief from how overwhelming life can be.
Q: What was your favorite scene to write and why?
A: The poopy purse scene! Mainly because I’ve done it before and it’s freaking hilarious in real life and, I hope, just as entertaining in the book.
Q: In JOYRIDE, Arden and Carly pull some pranks. They were all in fun. When does fun cross the line and become a problem?
A: It crosses the line when someone could get hurt, or if someone feels bullied. For instance, scaring old people is not recommended.
Q: You address the mental illness of schizophrenia in Joyride. The illness has painful consequence to Arden and his family. Share one or two things that you want readers to know about this illness.
A: I think I want to share something about mental illness in general:
- It’s not your fault. Don’t feel guilty if you suffer from a mental illness, and don’t give anyone the power to make you feel ashamed about it.
- For those who don’t have a mental illness, don’t assume you can look it up on Wikipedia and understand what a person with the illness goes through. You can’t.
- If you’re suffering from a mental illness, speak up. There is support for you out there. Reach out, grab it, and don’t let go. You deserve happiness just like everyone else.
Tea, coffee, milk, or hot chocolate? Yes.
Onion rings, french fries, or sweet potato fries? Yes.
Romance, comedy, horror, suspense thriller, documentary, or action film? Romantic documentary.
Snakes, rats, spiders, or bats? Which one would make you squeal/squirm/freak out the most? Snakes scare the bejesus out of me. There. I said it.
Ski vacation in Aspen, Caribbean beach vacation, shopping excursion to Paris, or safari in Africa? I would be deadly in skis, I already live near one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and my huge meaty butt would be entirely too appetizing for a lion to resist—so shopping in Paris seems like the logical choice.
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