Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Egmont USA and NetGalley.
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Raised by Wanderers, sixteen-year-old Tal travels the roads of the southern wild in her Chevy by day and camps in her tent trailer at night. Hustling, conning, and grifting her way into just enough cash to save her fifteen-year-old brother, Wen, from bare-knuckle fighting was once enough to keep her dreams of traveling the whole world at bay. Everything changes when the Wanderers set up camp in a little town called Cedar Falls. There, Spencer Sway, a boy Tal tried to hustle at a game of billiards, keeps popping up into her life—and worst of all—into her scams. Buttoned-up, starched-and-ironed Spencer talks of places where Tal’s truck can’t take her. His promises of traveling across oceans are almost enough to shatter her love of the Wanderer life. When a boy shows up at camp, ready to make good on a nearly-forgotten arranged marriage to Tal, Tal and Wen make a pact: No matter the cost, they will use their limitless skills of grift to earn the bride price and buy back her future—even if Spencer Sway gets used along the way.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Egmont USA and NetGalley.)
“I’m in love with the sound of turning wheels. My brother, Wen, says I’m crazy. He hears only the gravel kicking up on the battered doors of our Chevy. Nothing else. He doesn’t hear what I do. To me, wheels sound like new places, unknown riches. They sound like possibility.”
This was an interesting story about a gypsy girl who suddenly wasn’t sure if wandering was what she wanted her future to be.
“What if I won’t marry him?”
“Your marriage has been contracted for years. They gave good money for you.”
The same way they’d buy a truck, a sandwich, or a dog, they bought me, too. “Give it back then.”
I liked Talia in this story, and I felt quite sorry for her. Her upbringing hadn’t been average, she had no mother or father, and lived in constant fear of not being able to hustle enough money to feed herself and her brother. When it also turned out she’d be forced to marry someone she didn’t want to marry because it had been arranged and she’d been paid for, I understood why she was more desperate than ever to change her life.
“You want to end the arrangement, Talia, you’ll have to pay the bride-price back. And I sure don’t think you can raise all that money.”
The storyline in this was pretty good, but I did think the pace was a little slow. I did get a bit bored in places, because not a lot seemed to be happening. I got a bit annoyed over the hustles that Talia and her brother did, but that was because they were conning people out of their money when they’ve done nothing wrong, it seemed unfair! But I suppose the fact that Talia was being sold was unfair as well.
The rest of the story revolved around the romance between Talia and Spencer, and they were quite sweet together. No matter what happened though, I did have problems seeing a future for the relationship, especially considering that Spencer’s parents were wanting him to go to college!
“The balance shifts, and he pushes me against the siding instead. I’m not the one kissing him anymore. Spencer is kissing me, and he’s slowing it down. Way down. It’s softer, easier, rhythmic, pulsing through me.”
The ending to this was good, although I’m not 100% convinced how realistic it was. (view spoiler) It would be really good if there was a sequel to this to let us all know how everything worked out for Talia, her brother, and Spencer.[ would Spencer and Talia’s relationship have lasted? How would Talia and her brother manage to support themselves? What about all the people in town they’d hustled? (hide spoiler)]
Overall; wandering wild, but not wandering free,
6.5 out of 10