From Allison van Diepen, author of Snitch and Street Pharm, comes a sexy, dangerous novel about a teen who witnesses a murder and gets caught up in the seedy world of Miami’s gangs. Maddie Diaz never should have taken that shortcut through the park. If she hadn't, she wouldn't have seen two members of the Reyes gang attacking a homeless man. Now, as the only witness, she knows there’s a target on her back. But when the Reyes jump her on the street, Maddie is protected by a second gang and their secretive leader, Lobo, who is determined to take down the Reyes himself. Lobo is mysterious and passionate, and Maddie begins to fall for him. But when they live this close to the edge, can their love survive? On the Edge is a compelling story about fighting for what’s right and figuring out where you belong. The novel showcases a gritty, realistic voice and earth–shattering romance that will intrigue readers of Simone Elkeles and Paul Griffin and captivate fans of Allison van Diepen's other novels.
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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.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. There was a lot of action, interesting characters, and it was pretty fast-paced.
I liked Maddie as a character. I liked that she refused to let the gang members go free after the murder even though talking to the police put her in danger. I really liked that she wasn't a pushover. She could be very go-with-the-flow when it came to her friends, especially her best friend Iz, but when she needed to, she would stand up for herself. Her interactions with her mother were great. Maddie got a lot of freedom to stay out late or party as long as she was responsible but if she screwed up, she had to face the consequences and I liked that. I also enjoyed the cute flirty moments between Maddie and corner store clerk Ortiz. So cute. And the banter between Maddie and co-worker Manny, they could be funny together.
I liked the chemistry between Maddie and Lobo but I do wish the romance had been a little slower paced. It was a little too instant for me, especially considering the extreme danger Maddie was putting herself in by getting involved with a gang leader without a second thought. The mystery of Lobo's identity was also predictable for me.
There was some violence, as to be expected with the murder and gang story lines, but it wasn't overly graphic. The suspense was there but not to the point where I was holding my breath waiting to see what would happen, more like I was pretty sure what was going to happen and I was waiting to see if I was right. There was also one major thing that kept throwing me off. Early on Maddie mentioned losing her phone at the park during the murder and not getting it back and yet she kept mentioning texting her friends after losing the phone. So did she end up getting hers back somehow? Did she use someone else's? How was it happening? That kept popping into my head every time she used a cell phone so it took me out of the reading zone.