Lines are clearly marked at South Bay High School. It’s mixed territory for the Crips and the Bloods, which means the drama never stops.
Julia DiVino wants none of it. No colors, no C-Walks—it’s just not her thing.
But everything changes when Eric Valienté transfers to South Bay and rolls into her life. Lines are redrawn. And then they are crossed.
I picked this up because I love the Perfect Chemistry series by Simone Elkles, which also centers around teenage boys in gangs and falling in love with a girl who wants nothing to do with that life. I guess maybe I expected a lot out of this, maybe too much, but overall it didn’t end up being bad.
The thing with this book is that it’s more plot-driven than character-driven. I wouldn’t say there’s much development of Julia or Eric, or any other characters. Nor do they have real depth to them. They were just kind of flat, going along with the events of the story. However, Julia does learn that not all things related to the gangs are black and white – at least when it comes to why some of them join the gangs. So, there’s that, but it’s still not much.
I do have to commend the author for the fast pace of this novel because the story moving quickly along is what kept me reading. There were a couple of times I wondered if I should mark the book as a DNF, since I’m not a big fan of plot-driven stories, but when the whole “snitch” thing came along, I had to see what was going to happen next. I also did come to feel bad for Julia when her friends from childhood/middle school basically turned on her, leaving her with pretty much no one at school and a target on her back.
Another aspect of the book that I like is that Julia and Eric are definitely loyal people, but to certain people. They learn that some loyalties are stronger than others, and it can be a strong motivator for why people do what they do. They have to learn who to trust, though I will say that I think Julia is a little too forgiving at some points in the story.
Overall, it’s a good read, though not my favorite of this urban/contemporary/romance genre. If the characters had some more depth, then I probably would have loved it.
Rating: 3/5 stars
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