Saturday, 31 January 2015

Book: Fast by Ryan Ringbloom

I received a copy of Fast from Story Cartel in exchange for my review.

Robin has always been in love with her best friend, the boy next door Kent. But since her Mom's death she's been shy, and barely ever speaks up for what she wants. Ashley has a reputation, her Dad leaving and her Mom's outspoken views against relationships, have led to her to giving guys what they want without actually wanting it herself. Desperately wanting to shed her bad girl image, Ashley makes friends with Kent, who decides to use it to his own advantage and make Robin jealous...

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My main reaction to this book: OH MY GOD I FOUND IT. That elusive book about teenage relationships that actually reflects teenage relationships. I've talked before about how annoyed I get at naive teenage virgins in books, that never talk about sex and don't even think about it in passing, well this book made me forgive all that.

Fast follows two couples, well kind of, Robin and Kent, and Ashley and Patrick. Except it isn't quite as straight forward as that. At the start of the book Robin and Ashley come across as two vastly different girls, with their split POV really showing that. Ashley has the fake popular facade, complete with tattered reputation, whereas Robin is quiet and unassuming, seen as a bit of a loser. Then there are the boys, whose POVs don't come into effect til later in the book (it switches from the girls to the boys), brothers who have some similarities and some differences, but it worked well.

It took a while for Robin and Kent to get together. Though Robin was clearly interested in Kent from the beginning, she didn't have the courage or the guts to do anything about it. It was also pretty clear that Kent liked Robin as well, and he then went about it in a bit of a stupid way and made her jealous, using Ashley to do it. Ashley was trying to use him at the same time, mainly cause she felt she had to have a boyfriend. Patrick and Ashley's relationship also took a while to get going, though there was clearly chemistry brewing there.

The main differences between the relationships was the speed at which they progressed. Robin and Kent, once together, went far too fast, which is something that I think a lot of us were guilty of in our younger years (myself included) and it ended up putting a strain on their relationship. Even before they were together Robin had been thinking about sex, and I liked that a female YA character was going along these lines, it felt realistic. I also liked that it actually affected them, and that not every issue is easily sorted.

Interestingly Ashley and Patrick's relationship went the other way. Despite the fact that neither of them were virgins (unlike Robin and Kent), they took their relationship slowly and built on it as time went by. Not that they didn't want sex, it was pretty clear that both of them did, but there were other things more important. The restraint made their relationship stronger.

I liked this take on teenage relationships a lot. It made sense to me and hit a lot of the right notes, including the awkward first times and break ups. I thought it did this without losing some of the innocence associated with YA books, though it is definitely more mature than general YA!

Fast counts towards Winter COYER and 2015 Reading Assignment Challenge