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Review - Wanted

Sunday, June 10, 2012
by Heidi Ayarbe

Publication: May 1, 2012
Pages: 320
Author: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Publisher: Amazon | KindleB&N | Book Depository

A one-word text message: That's all Michal "Mike" Garcia needs to gather a crowd. Mike is a seventeen-year-old bookie, and Sanctuary is where she takes bets for anyone at Carson High with enough cash. Her only rule: Never participate, never place a bet for herself.

Then Josh Ellison moves to town. He pushes Mike to live her life, to feel a rush of something -- play the game, he urgest, stop being a spectator.

So Mike breaks her one rule. She places a bet, feels the rush. And loses.

In an act of desperation, she and Josh -- who has a sordid past of his own -- concoct a plan: The pair will steal from Carson City's elite to pay back Mike's debt. Then they'll give the rest of their haul to those who need it most. How can burglary be wrong if they are making things right?

What I love about Heidi Ayarbe's writing is that she delves into the human psyche in her books. She poses a question to the readers and explores it. Wanted is a brilliantly crafted novel delving into the psyche of a girl who breaks the rules once and loses. If I were in Mike's position, I would want to stay on the sidelines. She lives in a bad neighborhood and wants to get out of there; she can't afford any major losses. Being a bookie with a close following, she makes a fair amount of safe money. She doesn't need to take any risks. But then a new guy comes to town, throwing off her game and setting into motion Mike's demise.

The tone of the novel is somber. Mike has no delusions about the world around she. She knows that she makes money off people who want to feel the rush of betting, that she creates winners and losers through her deals, and she doesn't baby the losers. She's aware of the dangers surrounding those that she loves, and much of her everyday life is spent worrying of them. She has known innocence, and she yearns for her childhood days when her friend Moch was close to her and not involved with gangs. Mike's world is bleak. It is important in setting up the context for the plot.

As the novel progresses, Ayarbe takes us furhter into Mike's psyche. Even as Josh pulls her deeper into the romance of a modern-day Bonnie-Clyde romance with a Robin Hood twist (that was supposed to make stealing from the rich okay), tragedy strikes and the world moves on. The immensity of Mike's situation is not enough for events to force Mike to question the morality of her actions. There's more to the story. Scattered over the course of the novel are six word phrases from Mike's Creative Writing assignments that describe what's going on in her life at the moment. Many reflect the bleakness of her life.

I was seriously about to cry when I finished this novel. Mike has always been a fairly good girl with a promising future. The only illicit dealing she has done before meeting Josh is playing bookie and encouraging her peers to gamble. Her situation is the perfect example of how one mistake can cost you everything. I admire Mike's self sacrifice for those she cares about. While she makes mistakes, she puts her all into fixing them and making life better for those she cares about. I recommend this for readers looking for a real, gritty contemporary read with a modern Bonnie-Clyde-Robin Hood twist.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher. No payment was received in return for a review. The receipt of the book had no influence on the opinions expressed in my review.
8 comments on "Review - Wanted"
  1. Wow, this book sounds amazing. I haven't heard of it yet, but now I really want to read it. I love reading about how people think and I've been reading a lot of contemporary lately. Amazing review, Kris!

  2. I have been enthralled by Ayarbe's stories-they're so different and powerful in comparison to a lot of other YA. I haven't had a chance to pick this one up yet but it looks like another winner!

    1. They are! If you love her other books, you will love WANTED!

  3. Thanks for the great review, Kris!! You made my day. I look forward to checking into your blog more often to see what I should put on my TBR list!

    1. Thanks for writing such amazing books! Hope to see you around in the future :)

  4. Great review! This book looks great and I'm glad to read that you liked it! Everyone makes mistakes and it makes for such a good story idea to see how the characters handle the consequences. Thanks for the info!

  5. I've always been a fan or Robin Hood & the idea of heists, so this book definitely captures my attention. I agree with you - I would stay on the sidelines & stay safe. However, as your interview stated, certain circumstances make people do things that others wouldn't imagine doing. Thanks for the review!


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