Ripple by Heather Smith Meloche
Published on September 20th, 2016
ARC from Penguin First to Read
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Picking up a YA book always makes me feel giddy and hopeful, and since Ripple has been on my to be read list for what feels like forever, that was especially true with this one. I couldn’t wait to get my greedy hands on it!
I fell for Jack instantly. He was one of those bad boys you waited to see walk through the classroom door Monday morning, disappointed if they didn’t. You just waited to see what they would do or say next. But Jack had a lot of substance—he was caring and compassionate, as evidenced first with his mother and father, and then again with Tessa and Emma. If he wasn’t working to support his mother and himself, Jack was making sure she was taken care of. His life was full of immense pressure, and he was dealing the only way he thought he could. I loved the evolution of Jack’s relationship with the Officer Fogerty of the local police department, and how at first the officer saw Jack as a punk troublemaker, but once he learned Jack’s story, he was the first to go to bat for him.
I liked Tessa well enough, but she didn’t stand out to me like Jack did. And I think one of the reasons was the first person POV. I really struggle with this POV when a character is so insightful about their own behavior. I can’t always buy it, and that’s what happened with Tessa. Her self-awareness is something I feel would have come a bit later down the road when she was looking back on her past. I did feel for her and her situation – her family really had her between a rock and a hard place, and Tessa just couldn’t see a way out.
I really like the uneasy solace they find with each other. Tessa is weary of Jack because everyone in her life wants something from her, and Jack is put off by the fact that Tessa has a boyfriend. But he can’t stop his attraction to her. I thought the pacing of this one was great. Something was always happening, and the secondary characters really added to the story and told us more about the main characters. My only criticism is that there were too many things wrapped up too neatly in this one. I like some loose threads in my YA, because the characters are just on the verge of adulthood, and there are so many decisions and plans still to be made. There were some surprises I didn’t see coming, and overall I thought this was an enjoyable read. I’d definitely recommend Ripple if you’re a fan of the Young Adult genre.
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