by Allison van Diepen
Publishing date: November 25th 2014
From Allison van Diepen, author of Snitch and Street Pharm, comes a sexy, dangerous novel about a teen who witnesses a murder and gets caught up in the seedy world of Miami’s gangs.
Maddie Diaz never should have taken that shortcut through the park. If she hadn't, she wouldn't have seen two members of the Reyes gang attacking a homeless man. Now, as the only witness, she knows there’s a target on her back.
But when the Reyes jump her on the street, Maddie is protected by a second gang and their secretive leader, Lobo, who is determined to take down the Reyes himself. Lobo is mysterious and passionate, and Maddie begins to fall for him. But when they live this close to the edge, can their love survive?
On the Edge is a compelling story about fighting for what’s right and figuring out where you belong. The novel showcases a gritty, realistic voice and earth–shattering romance that will intrigue readers of Simone Elkeles and Paul Griffin and captivate fans of Allison van Diepen's other novels.
I had high expectations from this book, and usually when I have high expectations from a book it doesn't deliver. On the Edge was no exception to that rule. I really wanted to love this book. It had every potential to become a book that I loved, forbidden romance - check, crazy gang business - check, action - check, but even all that wasn't enough. All I kept thinking is how Simone Elkeles managed to create so much better and much more enjoyable book with all the same elements.
But, let's get back to On the Edge. We have Maddie Diaz as our main character. One night as she takes a shortcut through a park, she witnesses something terrible. A couple of guys from Reyes gang attacked a local homeless guy, who died afterward and Maddie was an only witness. She decides to identify the guys who attacked the homeless guy, even though she knows that she put a target on her back and is just waiting on when they would get her. When they finally do, she is rescued by the secret rival gang Destinos, whom everybody thought was a myth. The only thing Maddie remembers from when she was rescued is Lobo, the guy who helped her, and as she later finds out is the leader of the Destinos, but he can't reveal his true identity and Maddie also likes this one guy Ortiz who works at the store nearby her place.
I can't say that I didn't enjoy the book as a whole, but there are a lot of things that just didn't sit good with me. I was actually struggling quite a bit in rating On the Edge, but then finally decided to give it 2 stars as I just couldn't get over some of the things, even though I did enjoy some parts as cliche as they were.
The main problem I had with this book is the unrealistic gang scene. This is mostly WHY I have been excited about On the Edge, because it featured gangs, an element which I don't think is used enough in YA novels. There SHOULD be more books that feature gangs! But, like I said, Allison van Diepen didn't do it the right way. The reason why I thought the gang scene is unrealistic is this: how can 12 guys, who call themselves Destinos and work as an "undercover, secret gang (?!)", stir up so major shit that they mess up with everything that Los Reyes do, and we're talking here about the leading gang of Miami, which means they have a well-established business in dealing drugs and girls trafficking. Also, the leader of Reyes, Salazar, was so easy to find and take out. It all sounds a little bit unbelievable to me. Had this part been a little better I am sure I would have loved this book.
Another thing that I kinda had a problem with is the romance. This should have been a type of a forbidden romance where they can't be together, but want to, and they'd do anything to be together. At least, that's what I thought this book should be. But instead, what we got is pretty much an insta-love hidden by the words of forbidden romance. Let me explain it to you. So we know Maddie had this connection with Lobo when he saved her (this was around 35% mark) and she can't stop thinking about who he could be behind the mask (but, really, it was obvious immediately). But, already somewhere around 50% into the book, they can't be apart anymore, the real identity is revealed and Maddie is totally in with the Destinos. WTF?
I had a few more things that I wanted to mention, but this review is already getting too long, so I am only going to mention one more thing. There are two characters in the book, Eric & Julia, for whom I felt like there is something I'm missing. So I went looking into other books by Allison van Diepen and found out there is a book named Snitch which features the two characters mentioned. I WAS MAD when I found out about that! It's like they wanted for us not to know about Snitch, because they didn't mention it anywhere. It's like if you'd read Isla and the Happily Ever After without reading Anna and the French Kiss. It doesn't work that way because the information we get isn't complete and we always feel like we're missing out on something but we can't put our finger on it. It's huge to do something like that to some people!
With all of this said, I cannot say I enjoyed this book. Were there moments I really did like? Yes, there were, but everything else prevails. I would say if you want to read a great book that features gangs, you should try with Perfect Chemistry series by Simone Elkeles. If you already read the Perfect Chemistry and you still want to give this one a try, well nothing is stopping you, and you may even like it.