I found Ali after reading the first book in this series, Char, which I had picked up for nadda and read in hyperspeed. Mercy Amare has that spooky finger on the pulse of teen behavior that makes me cringe since my sister is an 18 year old who only last week I recall was entering pre-school; time seems to be a treacherously speedy bitch. Before you yank my review for that teen realism, I am not saying that the situation of a girl dumped in NYC and set up in a Gossip Girl episode is a reality. My go on this book is that I have to worry about my impressionable baby Jelly Bean walking into peer pressure, low self esteem, questionable, wtf judgement calls, hormones, drugs, drinking, insta-love, lust puppying, and overreacting as a daily experience. It is a frightening echo of every text, Facebook post and story my mom has to relate to me. There is a lot of Chuck Bass in the Beckers but not a helluva lot of sugar coating as far as being an adolescent or teen as far as Mercy Amare and how she writes out the inner hell that is a girl’s brain and how she relates to her friends and the general bullshit of growing up–which is pretty much the same no matter where you live.
Christian Becker is a NYC icon and dreamiest boy of all dreamy boys. As son of Charles Becker, Christian, and his brother Tristan, are heirs to Becker Industries, a multimillion dollar company, that the Becker men have plans to expand into other parts of the country when the Becker Boys get some finish on themselves. These aren’t your normal guys and Christian Becker isn’t an average NYU Freshman, he has plans. Once he sets his sights on Ali not only do those sights include making his mark on the world, taking his place in Becker Family Inc., he is planning on acquiring Ali in a long term capacity as well. Seeing Tristan with Char all flowers and hearts has left Christian with an itch to find himself a good woman and he knows the second he sees Ali that she is it for him.
Between us… I think this is a little carriage before the horse but I remember thinking my Mike M. (I won’t give you his last name because he and his mom are on my Facebook and it wouldn’t be right to out someone who could publicly chastise me for it) was it for me forever and ever and ever too! This isn’t really cray cray thinking for a high schooler. Or a college person… or a married person. But it is wrong for a woman and a dead person. Please people, Damon Salvatore is dead. Vampires just aren’t marriage material.
In this book and Char both heroines have the same circumstances: moved to NYC and a Becker boy leeches to them like a shadow at high noon. Okay, situation is not EXACTLY the same. Char is a little bit of a scandal starter in a celeb family and Ali is tossed into a wealthy and affluent social whirl when her mom marries a politician with some suddenness. Ali and her sister, Alexa, have just arrived to the big city and the culture shock is nothing compared to the rolling evolution in their household has Ali’s mother begins to become a Stepford Wife. Ali’s friends all have warned her that parents in East Wood Prep world tend to disappear and become remote but she never thought her mom would become one of them. When she catches the eye of world class playboy, Christian Becker, Ali’s Twilight Zone episode is almost complete. But soon she is finding Christian is her anchor, sisters are forever and in this place where all the parents are pod people–his parents seem to be the one couple who defy the societal norm. By the way guys who treat their moms well are winners.
There were a lot of parts of this book that made me growl and beat my head against a wall… a proverbial wall, then I would step back and urge myself to stop being a logical, forty year old woman and be an emotional, scared, end of her rope pair of teens and stop judging so reactionarily as an adult. I think a lot of times I have those years of experience behind me when I read a YA book like this and I can’t reconnect to that ‘holy crap, what now?’ mindset. It makes me useless for reviewing a YA book. As a book reviewer I can’t only read books and say I like this, I don’t like that. I have to know what works and why. If I can only know what works for a certain demographic than it really limits me and that is sad for me and for books I think I can review but I’m not doing justice.
There is a part of this book where Ali’s mother is talking to her about Ali’s choice not to have an abortion and how she didn’t take the easy way out. This is a personal thing for me and my first reaction was to defend the act of abortion and say there is nothing easy about it. But for many it really is an easy thing to do. C’est trés facile and forgotten. Especially for those who are young, frightened, have an abundance of money on hand and want to never think about it again. It would have been easy for Mercy Amare to have written this book and the abortion route wouldn’t have been out of character for the group of people at East Wood Prep, nor would it have been a hiccup in the nature of the story. Ali isn’t one of those people that is such a goody two shoes that her heart and soul is whiter than snow; it is not impossible in that story that that Ali could have had a moment when it might have just been easy. It very well can be a platform for the author to make her own view known but really there is so much murky going on in the East Wood Prep books that coming out as a Pro-lifer is quite honestly the least to get your panties twisted about.
These books are sort of like crack. I have no idea what happened to the time between when I began reading Char and when I swiped that last page that was Mercy Amare’s bio. I read that first book so quickly I think I may have traveled backward in time. After reading Ali I went and picked up the Rock Star Series to read next and saw Ultimatum and The Fab Life were free. ‘You should get things when they are free… it’s dollars and cents!’ That comes from a news show back home, please–it’s time. Shoot me now. That woman is 190, has a smile glued to her face that is bigger than the Jokers’, and I’m pretty sure she snorts confectioners sugar because the makeup on her upper lip always looks like she’s going to exhale it off. Mockery might be flattery but when it sneaks out it is the first signs of you becoming what you hate.
“You know I’m not going to sleep with you tonight.”
“And probably not Friday either.”
“And you still want to go on this date?” I ask.
“Have you ever had a girlfriend?”
“Never,” he answers. “Have you ever had a boyfriend?”
“Not unless you count the fourth grade. I had a couple boyfriend for about two days.”
“Then, no. I’ve never had one.”
“What if I wanted to be your boyfriend?” Christian asks.
“I’d have to decline,” I answer. “I’ve known you a total of two days, and this is our first date. Relationships should be built on friendship not feelings. Even if there was a really, really hot kiss involved.”
“I want to be your friend.”
“Friends don’t kiss.”
He ponders this for a couple of seconds. “We probably shouldn’t kiss anyway, because I never want to stop. And I definitely don’t want just a one night stand with you.”
“Okay, so is this a date? Or is this just two friends hanging out?”
“Why can’t it be both?”
“It can, I suppose.”
“Okay,” he says. “Then it’s both.”
“I like that.”
“Me too. But I think I’d also like for you not to be friends with anybody else while we’re friends.”
I laugh. “That sounds an awful lot like an exclusive relationship.
“Well, you said we can’t be more than friends until we’ve become friends. I just don’t want somebody else to become more than a friend to you,” he says. “And I didn’t mean you couldn’t have other friends… just not friends. Wow, this is kind of confusing.”
“No, I understand,” I tell him. “But if that’s how this friendship is working, it has to work both ways. No one night stands with anybody. And no… friendships…“
“Okay,” he says. “Is this normal?”
“So what are you? My non-girlfriend girlfriend?” he asks.
I shrug my shoulders. “It’s complicated.”
HE grins. “I’ve always wanted to put that as my relationship status.”
Christian picks up his phone and click the screen a few times. A few seconds later my phone vibrates. I bust out laughing and accept the complicated relationship status.
Meet Mercy Amare:
I am twenty-five years old. I live in St. Louis with my extremely-nerdy husband. <3 We’ve been married for almost four years.
I am the best selling author of The Kihanna Saga, The Rock Star Trilogy, Dirty Secrets, The East Wood Prep Series, You Got Me, and Don’t Tell.
Mercy Amare on All The Things Inbetween:
Mercy Amare East Wood Prep Books:
I’m Charlotte York, but you can call me Char.
My life is perfect. Except for the fact that my older sister is posing naked for Playboy. And my mom wants me to be just like her. Oh, and I caught my boyfriend cheating on me. But other than that, it’s definitely perfect… Until the paparazzi publishes a picture of me smoking weed.
Now I am being forced to move to NYC with my dad. Too bad I hate New York.
At least there is Tristan Becker. He makes NY better. But he won’t date me because he thinks my best friend is in love with me. Which is absolutely not true… Or at least I don’t think it is.
My name is Alison Smith, but you can call me Ali.
I’m okay with my normal, boring life. I have good friends, and I know exactly what I want in life. But my whole world is turned upside down when my mom gets married and moves us to the Upper East Side. I just have to survive my senior year, then I can go back to Florida… back to my life.
And that is the plan.
Until I meet Christian Becker.
He changes everything.
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