Love is a dangerous thing// ON THE EDGE by Allison van Diepen

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

ON THE EDGE by Allison van Diepen
by Allison van Diepen

Expected publication: November 25th 2014
advanced review copy received from HarperTeen c/o Edelweiss

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?
"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." -extracted from book's blurb

Things were looking good for Madeleina "Maddie" Diaz. Her mom was finalizing her divorce with her stepdad from hell, she got accepted to her first choice college on full scholarship, and her friends threw her a party to celebrate. All of that came crashing down when she sees a homeless man getting attacked by the Reyes gang- and decides to get involved by testifying in court. Maddie quickly becomes known as a snitcher, and we all know what happens to people who snitch on gangs.

Truth be told, I had a really hard time getting into this book. The beginning dragged on a bit too much and never really set the pace 'til near the end. It was supposed to be thrilling from the beginning, what with the whole plotline of being involved in gangs and all, but I never really felt my heart beat faster than the normal rate. And the fact that Maddie was kind of a dull character didn't help either. She was made out to be this headstrong student journalist who was smart and sexy at the same time but it just didn't seep through. Her character sort of fell flat for me. She was kind of like a transient being robotically interacting with the other characters and moving from scene to scene. The pacing was choppy too- the transitions between scenes wasn't smooth and it made me confused.

There was one thing that made Maddie come to life though: romance. She became animated and flirty (in a cute, awkward, nice girl way) when it comes to boys. Three of them come into the picture: Manny, her funny, reformed ex-convict co-worker; Ortiz, the quiet, kind, and mysterious boxer who oozes sex appeal; and the gang leader Lobo, the unknown gang leader who saved her life. I only ever liked Maddie when she was talking to either one of the three. The author definitely knows how to develop subtle chemistry and sexy banter. The backstory behind the rivalry between the two gangs was incredibly well plotted though. It was the main reason why I kept reading- it was interesting, dark, and made my arms tingle with excitement. Too bad that it was only made evident in the later part of the story. I would have liked to know more about the two gangs and their members, especially Lobo's partner X.

All in all, On The Edge had the promise of a great plot and well thought-out storyline. However, a story like this needs a main character with strength and conviction, and Maddie unfortunately fell short. 

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