Review: Spiked by Jennifer Lane

30165905Spiked
Series: Blocked, #3
Author: Jennifer Lane
Publication Date: October 1, 2016
Publisher: Psyched Publishing
Genre: New Adult, Sports Romance, Political Romance
Note: I received this book from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

They say
University is the time
To find yourself
But I don’t need to find myself
Just want to find you

After watching his older siblings find their love matches at Highbanks University, Mateo Ramirez feels unlikely to follow in their footsteps. What girl would want him? Unlike his brother and sister, he battles diabetes and chooses music over sports. But at least he can write songs about his life—and the girl who caught his eye when their parents ran against each other for US President.

Hey, chica! Come conmigo
And baby, why don’t we go
Down under the bridge to the water
With you it can only get hotter

Jessica Monroe is a talented swimmer who dreams of representing Team USA at the Olympics. When she earns an athletic scholarship to Highbanks, she’s excited to attend the same school as the cute boy she met two years ago: Mateo. Too bad he’s not around when a teammate spikes her drink. Jessica may never trust men again.

Trust
Is a hard-to-earn thing
Just
Try to keep listening

Swallow
Down all of the unjust
Hollow
My chest, my heart will bust

College years are the time to shake off the past and find your future. But will that future find Mateo and Jessica together? Dive in and immerse yourself in the eagerly anticipated conclusion to Jennifer Lane’s Blocked trilogy.


Don’t judge Spiked by its cover.

That’s the first thing that came to my mind when I sat down to write this review. Yes, the shirtless man is what most of us have to come expect when we pick up a new adult romance novel, but Spiked isn’t your normal new adult romance. It’s layered, honest and complicated.

Jennifer Lane’s writing was stellar. Her knowledge of psychology and politics continued to shine in the newest addition to the Blocked series. Spiked was the fastest paced book in the series. There weren’t as many political situations to complicate the story. The focus of Spiked was Jessica and Mateo’s struggles and how they build and shape their relationship. I loved this change.

It’s easy to guess from the blurb that Jessica is raped. I don’t think I’m spoiling the story by putting that out there. What I loved about Jessica’s story is the way the entire rape situation was handled. It was done in a matter that felt real and honest. Jessica’s suffering after the incident was what would be expected. What wasn’t was the way Jennifer Lane dealt with it. I’ve read several books with rape in them recently. Spiked is the only one that dealt with the therapy aspect of overcoming the horrible experience. I loved that because I was able to get a feel for how Jessica was able to slowly recover.

Mateo’s story was also an important one. It put a spotlight on being a young person with diabetes. Mateo struggles with his illness was very relatable. I loved his thoughts and feelings about what getting an insulin pump meant to him. I also loved the way he responded to any political question. Mateo felt like a man who wanted to make his own decisions and not let his parents shape his decisions.

Their personal struggles were enormous in Spiked, but Jessica and Mateo’s relationship was simple. I really enjoyed how their relationship grew over time from attraction and friendship to love. The support they gave to each other was so sweet. Their relationship just felt so natural. Spiked cemented Mateo and Jessica as my favorite Blocked series couple.

Overall, I truly enjoyed reading Spiked. It was such a deep new adult read. I was so caught up in Jessica and Mateo’s love story that I was sad when it ended. I would have loved to have known more about the progression of their relationship.

Review: Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider

23149128Title: Extraordinary Means

Author: Robyn Schneider

Publication Date: May 26, 2015

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance

Goodreads Synopsis:

From the author of The Beginning of Everything: two teens with a deadly disease fall in love on the brink of a cure.

At seventeen, overachieving Lane finds himself at Latham House, a sanatorium for teens suffering from an incurable strain of tuberculosis. Part hospital and part boarding school, Latham is a place of endless rules and confusing rituals, where it’s easier to fail breakfast than it is to flunk French.

There, Lane encounters a girl he knew years ago. Instead of the shy loner he remembers, Sadie has transformed. At Latham, she is sarcastic, fearless, and utterly compelling. Her friends, a group of eccentric troublemakers, fascinate Lane, who has never stepped out of bounds his whole life. And as he gradually becomes one of them, Sadie shows him their secrets: how to steal internet, how to sneak into town, and how to disable the med sensors they must wear at all times.

But there are consequences to having secrets, particularly at Latham House. And as Lane and Sadie begin to fall in love and their group begins to fall sicker, their insular world threatens to come crashing down.

Told in alternating points of view, Extraordinary Means is a darkly funny story about doomed friendships, first love, and the rare miracle of second chances.


★★★★★


I just finished Extraordinary Means and I’m feeling so much right now. (I may or may not have shed a few tears recently.) This book was simply beautiful in all ways. The writing was phenomenal and had me hooked from the first page. Robyn Schneider somehow managed to show the reader the severity of Lane and Sadie’s illness and situation, while giving it a touch of humor. She was also able to take a really crappy situation for Lane, Sadie and their friends and make it fun…until it wasn’t. But even then, it was brilliantly beautiful.

Extraordinary Means was inspirational, heartbreaking and joyous all wrapped up in one incredible package. I would recommend it to YA readers who enjoy novels such as The Fault in Our Stars by John Green or If I Stay by Gayle Forman. I loved it so much I didn’t want it to end. I think I found another new favorite author.