Feiwel & Friends
June 2, 2015
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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.
Carly doesn't have time for goofing around. Since her parents deportation a few years ago, she and her brother have been pooling their money to smuggle them back into the U.S. Carly works the graveyard shift at a local convenience store - it leaves her exhausted by t is easy and provides time to study.
It's after a particularly eventful night at the Breeze Mart that Arden Moss begins talking to her. Arden, the high school playboy, hasn't paid any attention to Carly before and she wonders why he'd start now.
Arden, the sheriff's son, is a prankster. He spends his free time - which he has recently gained a lot of - pulling pranks. After his sister Amber's death, Arden has given up everything that made him the high school star and is trying to do nothing anyone expects of him.
He's missed having an accomplice in his pranks and knows the perfect person: Carly.
Neither knows what the other is dealing with: Arden doesn't know all of the pressure Carly is under from her parents and her brother, the secrets she's keeping and Carly doesn't know about Amber.
At times I loved Arden and Carly's interactions. The blend of tension, humor, and attraction was nicely done. They seemed like complete opposites - and in more than a few ways there - but they were also quite complimentary.
They were other times, though, that the characters, their choices and actions were frustrating. Carly has a goal of being the first in her family to go to college, to have a career. It's something she works hard towards - the long hours at work, her good grades, but she also seemed too ready to possibly throw it away. There's no doubt she could have fun with Arden, but it was fun that could possibly put her goals, her future, in jeopardy.
She's stuck to what she wanted despite what her family might want, so I wanted her to stand up for herself a bit more with Arden. Or for him to 'see' a bit more and give some more.
It worked well for the story that they were each so stubborn, so secretive, but it was frustrating, too.
I liked that we slowly found out more about Carly, Arden, their pasts and their families. Neither of them has a simple, normal background and it was nice seeing their stories unfold and how they came together.
I am still not sure if I like the characters, their decisions or what they did to/with each other, but they and their story are original, thoughtful, funny and memorable. (Even if I didn't love them, I did care enough to be frustrated.)
NetGalley review copy received thanks to the publisher