Review: The Rebel of Raleigh High (Callie Hart)

The Rebel of Raleigh High
Series: Raleigh Rebels, #1
Author: Callie Hart
Publication Date: April 27, 2019
Genre: Mature Young Adult, New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

* The Rebel of Raleigh High is the first book in the Raleigh Rebels Series. Please be advised, this book comes with a trigger warning. Intended for readers 17+ *

Silver

Hit me.
Kick me.
Hurt me.
Hate me.

There’s nothing that the students of Raleigh High can do to Silver Parisi anymore. Over the past year, she’s had to endure more pain and suffering than most people are asked to bear in their lifetimes. She’s a pariah, an outcast, a ghost. She’s also never been one to take shit lying down, though…despite what half the football team might say.

With only one hundred and sixty-eight days left of the school year, it won’t be long until graduation, and Silver’s planning on skipping town and leaving Raleigh firmly in her rearview mirror…

Until he comes along…

Alex

Orphan.
Degenerate.
Reprobate.
Deviant.
Alex Moretti’s earned most of his labels, and he’s not ashamed of a single one of them. He’ll earn far worse before he’s finished with his new found ‘friends’ at Raleigh High. Having spent years being ground down under the boot heel of society, it’s time for a little payback. And if exacting revenge upon the heads of the Raleigh elite means he can also help the beautiful girl who hovers in the shadows, then that’s all for the better.

Oil and water. Fire and ice. The differences between Silver and Alex are broader than any chasm. To reach one another, they must take a leap of faith and fall into the divide.

And falling?

Nothing good ever came from falling.


Ever since I finished the Fallen Crest High series I have been looking for a book that gives me the same combination of drama and feels. While I have found ones that capture the same level of drama, I haven’t found one that captured the feels. The Rebel of Raleigh High is the first one that’s not only captured all of the drama, but also the feels.

Silver is the girl who was once at the top of the popularity chain, but now is considered dirt at her high school thanks to the friends she once reigned with. She terrified every day she goes to school. Silver’s perfected keeping her head down until new bad boy Alex comes to town. Alex sees her in a way she doesn’t want anyone to.

I think this was supposed to be kind of a bully romance, but it wasn’t at all. It was actually a really sweet story about a girl who has been through hell and is trying to make through each day until she can get out-of-town. She’s in a lot of emotional pain, so she doesn’t realize just how strong she is. Alex is the one who shows Silver she’s got more backbone than she knew. He’s got problems of his own, but that doesn’t stop him from taking on hers. Silver and Alex have this really sweet romance.

The Rebel of Raleigh High isn’t all sweetness, though. There is a TON of drama. It’s peppered throughout the story. Some of it was typical high school popularity stuff. Much of it was much more than that. There is more than one situation that could be a possible trigger for someone. There’s a least two different ones. The last one came out of nowhere and shocked the heck out of me. It’s pretty timely with the state of the some things, but it also was hard to read. I was very surprised the author chose to go this direction. It felt more like shock and awe than a learning moment, which bugged me a bit. This book would have been at least 4 stars for me without that whole thing.

Overall, I did enjoy reading this one. I got swept away in the emotions and story. I am glad the author has decided to give us a second book about these characters. I wish it would hurry up and get here!

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: The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

Title: The Way I Used to Be

Author: Amber Smith

Publication Date: March 22, 2016

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books  

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Goodreads Synopsis:

Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.

What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.

Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year.


  ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Powerful. Tragic. Devastating. Haunting.

Those are all words I would use to describe Amber Smith’s debut novel, The Way I Used to Be.

The Way I Used to Be is the story of Eden, a shy and quiet fourteen-year-old who is raped by her older brother’s best friend. Eden, always the good girl, can’t find a way to tell anyone. The secret she keeps drastically changes and shapes her life over the next four years.

This book was heartbreaking and painful to read right from the start. I felt horrible for Eden and I just wanted her to tell someone — anyone! The secret she carried ate at her and started to destroy a part of her. It was so frustrating to watch her self-destruct.

But, even though it was painful to read, I couldn’t put it down. I was blown away by the writing. There was a reality and an honest feel to Eden’s story. I could imagine a real live girl out in the world somewhere reacting the same way. It made this story all the more tragic and necessary.

If this is how amazing Amber Smith’s debut novel was, I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us in the future.