What I loved:
The setting. The hardcore, gritty, and dangerous world of inner city Miami contrasts with the nostalgic neighborhoods of Maddie's home. It's clear that the city is a place constantly on the edge - but not just because of violence. There is excitement in the clubs, where young people dance until they drop from exhaustion; in the passionate nature of the people in those communities and the loyalty they feel to each other. Yet there is something safe and calming, too - knowing that there is someone who will always have your back, that your neighbors are watching out for you, and that you belong there. It's the type of setting that is unusual for current realistic YA fiction, and that is so refreshing.
The reality of the violence in Maddie's world. It's so real for this girl and her family, her friends. We all see gang violence, street shootings and rape in the news. Maddie sees it in her day to day life. And then she gets involved in it, personally. I think it's important for readers to see just how real this violence in for modern teens, in our country, living and fighting right here and now.
The openly sexual nature of Maddie and her friends. They are passionate about guys, and they own it. These girls think about sex regularly, they want it and they are not afraid to want it. After finding out the secret identity of her mysterious and dangerous rescuer, Lobo, Maddie can't stop thinking about him. "In the darkness of my bedroom, I knew that it wasn't just answers I wanted. It was him." Maddie's friends are the same way, and it's a great change from contemporary YA fiction in which girls are scared of their sexuality.
What some readers might not love:
The insta-love between Maddie and Ortiz, the hot and untouchable corner store guy. It is immediate, and it is fierce. If you're looking for a strong and fiery romance, that is definitely going on. If you're looking for a slowly developing, smoldering kind of relationship, this book will frustrate you.
The verdict: ON THE EDGE is a strong story with suspense, drama, and romance, that will keep readers turning the pages long into the night. Highly recommended for fans of Simone Elkeles and Katie McGarry.