Grit is a debut novel that started a bit iffy for me but soon gathered momentum, and before long I was reading straight through to the end. I liked this one a lot and a lot of that has to do with the characters. Darcy is the protagonist, a girl who knows how to have a good time, but underneath her hard drinking exterior is someone who has taken some hard shots and is stronger for it. Darcy has a reputation and doesn't really care- her mom is permissive and her aunt hates her, but she has a good relationship with her sister Mags and her cousin Nell. She has a good heart but is also carrying around a lot of baggage- something happened the summer before between her and Rhiannon Foss, a girl who used to be her best friend- and when Rhiannon disappeared people think she had something to do with it. Or that she knows more than she is letting on.
The disappearance of Rhiannon has affected the town in a big way- this is set in rural Maine- and in many ways this is an exploration of what it's like to grow up in a small town, with the petty jealousies and everyone knowing everyone else's business. As the story unfolds we find that not only is Darcy carrying around guilt for Rhiannon, but there are other secrets she is carrying around- and they may hit close to home. I don't want to say much else on that front, but I thought the author skillfully unveiled this realization as the book progresses, so that a story that seemed to have one mystery going on really has two. And not only that but Darcy has her own personal issues to resolve, not the least of which is her relationship with Jesse.
I liked Jesse and it was nice to seer him develop. We all know how guys can be in high school, and this story looks at hook up culture and all the ways that girls have to struggle with coming of age, slut shaming, and everything else. Jesse seemed at first like he might be another guy just out for a good time, but he cares about Darcy and has her back. The only thing I didn't like was at one point I thought Darcy took offense at something in a ridiculous way, and it felt manufactured. But other than that the relationships seemed real and I really cared about Darcy's dysfunctional family.
One thing I also enjoyed was the writing style and the narrative voice. There's a wry awareness here of life in a small town, how it can affect those living there, and she gets the little details of daily life right in a way that feels very real. I thought a few times that the descriptive voice and the feeling of recognition I got with some of her characters really enhanced the story. And while I thought this would be more of a mystery or even a YA thriller it had enough mystery, especially as it moves along, to keep me reading.
Grit is a book that I liked more and more the farther along I got. I wasn't sure about Darcy and some of her choices at times, but the author really sold why she did what she did, or at least I thought she did. I cared about the family and was anxious to see where things would go, and there were genuine moments where I felt awful for Darcy and the things she had been though- things that anyone who has lived through high school and adolescence can relate to. That's the true beauty of this one- it makes you think, and remember- I was really touched by one scene in particular- and this is one of the better, more thought provoking YA stories I've read.
If you liked it more and more while reading then it certainly was well written :DReplyDelete
I did think it got better...Delete
I have this one to get to still. I thought it was more a YA thriller too but glad to hear it is still good. Great review!ReplyDelete
I kinda thought it was a thriller but it was more of a contemp with a mystery, if that makes sense...Delete
This sounds good and I love a setting in rural Maine. I need to put this on my list. Thanks for sharing your great review!ReplyDelete
I liked the setting, and it was pretty good!Delete
It's interesting that you mention Jesse's development. Too often in YA books where the main character is a female, the male characters aren't developed at all. They walk into the story fully formed as either perfect creatures or straight up asshats and they stay that way. I'm happy to hear that this isn't the case here.ReplyDelete
Annette @ http://www.shesareader.com
I wasn't sure about Jesse. At first I thought he was just a rogue with a heart of g0ld, but as time went ob he got a little deeper than that.Delete
I like the idea that the book actually has two mysteries going on instead of just the one you expect going in. I also like that it's a book that makes you think. Those are always winners for me. I hadn't heard of Grit before so thanks for putting it on my radar :)ReplyDelete
It was deeper than I thought it would be- slut shaming, family issues, lot of stuff going on underneath.Delete
Oh! Oh! I am reading this right now. I am in need of a YA thriller. This surely is good bc of your review. Your review is brilliant!ReplyDelete
Ooh I hope you're liking it!!!Delete
Interesting! I felt the opposite. I loved it at first then less as I went on.ReplyDelete
I did love Darcy though. She was a really messy, flawed, but realistic character that meant well and took the hit for others.
For What It's Worth
Aw, sorry it didn't quite work for ya. Darcy was messy and flawed though and I loved how tough she was.Delete
I'm not much for YA but this sounds like a really good thriller. I like that Darcy and Jesse aren't quite what they seem to be and I'm curious about what's going on here.ReplyDelete
There was a lot of family stuff here, Darcy's aunt hated her and thought she was trashy (and from her perspective she was right) but Darcy had reasons, she wasn't just trashy for no reason. The family was quite complicated.Delete
Glad you stuck with this and it paid off! Love it when that happens.ReplyDelete
I'm glad I did too, I wasn't sure at first.Delete
I'm really interested to pick this one up. I grew up in a small rural town where everyone thought EVERYTHING was their business. This sounds like a book I'd enjoy. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and glad you stuck this one out.ReplyDelete
I think anyone who grew up in a small town could probably relate to this.Delete
I might have to pick this up too. I love books that feature complicated characters. Great review!ReplyDelete
Darcy was a bit complicated, and there was a lot going on w/ the family.Delete
I love thought provoking and sometimes that is hit and miss in YA. I will look for this one.ReplyDelete
I thought it was one of the better YA's I've read of late.Delete
Maybe not my kind of book, but this sounds really well-written! I like the sound of Darcy, I like characters who are a little rough around the edges but have a good heart. In small towns can make for great settings. Seems like the author really used that small-town feel to their advantage. I'd never want to actually live in a small town though, wouldn't want everyone all up in my business lol. Glad you found this one so gripping and thought-provoking!ReplyDelete
I liked Darcy, she didn't take shite you know? She was definitely rough around the edges and I loved her for that. The smal town really came alive too. And yeah I'm not a small town person!Delete
Your last sentence pretty much sums up why I love YA so much. I get most nostalgic with some books than others, but I love taking that trip back. Great review!ReplyDelete
Sam @ WLABB
Exactly. It's nice sometimes to remember just how fragile, and DRAMATIC that time is. There's a reason I guess we look back at our teen years as so formative- as immature and screwed up as we may be at that age it is definitely formative!Delete
I really like the sound of this one! I think books set in small towns always make me thankful that I have never lived in one (are they really that petty? I obviously don't know, haha).ReplyDelete
I really like stories where as the reader you don't know EVERYTHING about the main character because it gives that edge of un-trustworthiness that makes you question them!
Even if this one isn't a typical mystery/thriller I still think I'll give it a go since you touched on a lot of elements I like to see in books! And besides, that cover is gorgeous. I cannot resist covers like that, haha.
Great review, Greg!
Yes I don't think small town life would be for me! I don't know for sure, but from what I've heard they can be that way! And I agree- Darcy was like that, you never really knew WHY she did things, or hid things, not for sure, and that felt real.Delete
I hope you like it! And that cover works for me too.
I agree, the characters were very strong in this one. And you have such a good point about some of the things Darcy does, even if they don't make sense to us, they make sense to her character. I liked how important the family dynamics were too, even the extended family. I think the only issue I really had with the book was that I kind of thought it was going to be more thriller-y and less contemporary, but it was definitely still a solid book. Great review!ReplyDelete
I thought Darcy made sense, she wasn't sugarcoated. The author wasn't afraid to say here she is, this is what she does, deal w/ it. And I agree with you- I wanted more of a thriller type mystery.Delete
I'm thinking that I'm very glad I didn't grow up in a small town! I like keeping my business private! Nice review!ReplyDelete
I love books that make me think---I'll have to check this one out!ReplyDelete
Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction
I'm not too familiar with this one, but you have me curious, Greg. It sounds like it is well written with characters that really get under your skin. Thanks for bringing this one to my attention!ReplyDelete
I am glad this one built up and become more enjoyable the further in you read. If it stays bad, I usually end up putting the book down. It sounds like Jesse's character was also a big part of the enjoyment you got out of reading. His character development sounds detailed and written incredibly well :)ReplyDelete
I liked Jesse, he grew on me after initially seeming a little jerkish. There was a jerk though so we didn't need another lol. But yes this definitely got better for me as it went.Delete
Sounds like a great cast of characters. Flawed to the point they feel real. Being able to understand a characters actions even though you may not agree with them is important, too. Wonderful review, Greg! :)ReplyDelete
They were quite flawed, and did feel real to some extent. Lots of fractures in the family, the aunt kinda hated her, it seemed realistic. And absolutely- if I didn't feel for the characters, the book wouldn't have worked nearly as well.Delete
I love books that sort of grow on you as you read. It sounds like there were some good characters in the book and the story sounds good too. I think you're allowed to have a few doubts about character decisions but Darcy seems like a character who is quite real, even if you don't always like the decisions made you get why.ReplyDelete
I kind of missed even hearing about this book but I am definitely interested in reading now. Great review.
This sounds like its worth checking out, I've avoided YA for a while as a lot of the time the books where samey but I think I'll check this out!ReplyDelete
You made this story sound great. I am going to check it out. :)ReplyDelete