Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Hey, It's A Review Blitz for "Back of Beyond" by Neeny Boucher

by Neeny Boucher

Book 1, in the Complicated Love Series
"Back of Beyond"
Genre: Young Adult, Coming of Age, Contemporary, Humor, Romance. 316 pages.
Price: $0.99 ebook (at time of post)
Book Link: Click Here

Dina Martin and Nicholas Riley are total opposites.  She’s the good girl with the perfect grades and he’s the bad boy with the reputation.  Growing up together with close family ties, they have been at war for as long as they can remember. When the unthinkable happens, neither of them wants it. 

 Set in a small town at the turn of the millennium, this story is about family and friendship, the love of music and how sometimes who you don’t want, is exactly who you need.
My Rating:  📔📔📔📔 📖
My Thoughts: When Loathe Turns to Love
       This was probably one of the strangest most entertaining yet insightful reads this year. The story is told in third person alternating dual narrative, which threw at first but after the first few chapters I quickly fell into the story and characters. The novel is young adult, but is filled with many issues such as self insecurities, family and social problems in a fun, and at times, very deep ways. 
        In this little town of Shanwicks the back of beyond place in nowheres land a place where people think highly of everyone's opinion of each other. So when Christina 'Dina' Martin is taunted and teased mercilessly by the "Anys" aka the it or cool girls in school, Dina's best friends Mandy and Bonnie decide the time is now to hatch a plan. Their trios mission is to become just cool enough to be above the Anys but not too bad; The problem is Dina needs to get into her brother's band and one member really hates her. Nicholas Riley is part of the Outcast Crew, though he comes from old money, Riley likes to be on the outside. Not one for rules or much of anything, Riley is the bad boy of the town who isn't to be messed with. Which is why he and Dina clash, she is Perfect and he's everything but. So when Dina sings and Riley realizes she is so much more than meets the eye, things for them just get a whole lot more complicated. Especially with his troubled past and her families expectations. 
        Overall, loved this book. I'm Fully surprised by how much depth there was sprinkled into moments here in and there. Dina is not your typical female lead, she never wanted the guy or anyone for that matter yet found herself falling for someone she should resent. Riley is the bad boy turned good, but was secretly always the good boy who just became bad because that's what people labeled him. The subject of bullying in this book tackles many aspects of the issue but one was highlighted pertaining to Dina being slut shamed, the way Dina talked it through was brilliant and had me bring it up as conversation amongst my friends. Oh and I loved how fierce Dina's friends were when it came to anything, I'm a huge fan of best friend power in literature, Mandy and Bonnie are amazing support even if only there to gossip with sometimes. Actually, the whole Martin family was supportive and a great cast of characters, who reminded me of my family, minus the parent with the accent. Now the only thing I had an issue with was there was a moment of assault, that should have been dealt with more in a legal way or at least with parents. Anytime a woman is assaulted it needs to be dealt with not hidden. Apart from that the only other issue I could see is if readers do not get comfortable with the narrative form and switching perspectives. So if you are looking for a story about a town bad boy falling for schools quirky but new hot singer while everyone and everything comes between them, then you'll enjoy this book. 
“Prissy. What are you doing here?”
Dina Martin’s heart sinks. Nicholas Riley’s unnerving green cat eyes measure her and find her wanting. Pretentiously called by his last name, Riley lounges on the door of her family garage with one leg up behind him. Dressed for the river with a towel wrapped around his neck, his long dark hair is tied up on his head.
Avoidance competes with irritation. “I live here,” Dina sighs. “What are you doing here?”
Peeling his lanky frame off the garage, Riley stands in front of her. “Waiting for Johnny, your cool brother. You didn’t think we were here for you?”
His words leech confidence, but Dina’s mind focuses on the plural. Cars are parked on the side of the road, filled with the beautiful people from high school. She shrinks.
Lighting a cigarette, Riley blows smoke at her through his pouty, sullen lips.
“Um, health,” Dina snaps. She waves a hand, but the smoke keeps billowing. “You look like a blowfish.”
Riley laughs, a real one. Her internal alarm rings. Narrowing his eyes, he jabs a finger. “There’s something different about you.”
Dina does a quick tally. She’s gotten taller and is nearly fifteen. Her opinion of Riley is low, but he isn’t stupid, and his powers of observation are acute, albeit cruel. “Really?”
“Yeah,” Riley grins. He points at her chest. “It looks like your boobies finally came in.”
Heat bursts on Dina’s face and her palms go sweaty. Puberty was monstrous. One moment she was as flat as a board and the next, “C” cups sprouted like giant fungi. She cried and tried binding them in the hope they’d go away, but Mom made her stop.
Dina’s mind shies away from the next scarring encounter. The one where she was marched shame faced and head down to be poked and prodded by old ladies. When she returned home with bras, no one was allowed to mention it.
Defensively folding her arms across her chest draws a derisive snort from Riley. Tears start at the corners of Dina’s eyes, but she blinks them away. “Snitched on anyone lately?”
Mirth is in Riley’s eyes. His mouth quirks up at the corners. “Are you still pissed about this summer? I saved your life.” He winks, tapping her on the arm. “You can thank me later.”
Dina’s hand tingles as Riley bats his eyes at her. “Pissed? I’m not sure that fully encompasses the depth of my annoyance and your hypocrisy.”
Oh,” Riley mocks. “You’re a little grudge holder, aren’t you? Was it the grounding?”
Very bad words are on the tip of Dina’s tongue, but she swallows the obscenities. Her father is strict on matters of propriety and she is in enough trouble as it is. “Ironic, isn’t it? You, the juvenile delinquent. The worst behaved person I know, snitched on us. Shouldn’t you be getting ready for juvie right now? Does it have semesters, or does it go all year round?”
Riley’s eyes narrow. He bites his bottom lip. “I didn’t get you grounded for the other stuff. Who are you going to blame for that?”
Dina’s head rocks up and their eyes lock. Her heart beats a steady drum against her ribcage. The urge to somehow hurt him dances in her mind.
“Back off my sister, Riley,” Johnny warns, hitting Riley on the arm. Lithe, unruly, black hair with a Celtic cross tattoo that got him grounded, her big brother is one of her favorite people in the world. He’s also Riley’s best friend.
“And, you.” Johnny grins, wagging a finger at Dina. “Stop picking fights.”
He charges down the driveway, but Riley loiters, walking backward. His cat eyes glitter and he drops his index fingers. “See ya. Wouldn’t want to be ya.”
Dina glares. His words hurt. She doesn’t want to be her either.
Neeny Boucher
Author Links: Amazon PageFacebookTwitterGoodreads.

Neeny Boucher is a nom de plume because my real name sounds like a 19th Century suffragette. Originally from New Zealand, I’m a long-time supporter of the All Blacks. Currently, I live in Europe and am trailing spouse, following my husband all over the world for his work. This not only gives me the opportunity to write, but also, experience the world and indulge in one of my favorite past-times: people watching. My own employment history is varied and ranges from the sublime to the ridiculous. All of those experiences and encounters, however, have allowed me to collect amazing stories, which now form the basis of my writings. I have always loved the weird, the outcast and those on the margins of society because they see the world in a different way. These are the people my characters are based around. I have a BA, BA Honors, and a PhD in Sociology/Indigenous Studies. The Complicated Love Series, books one to three: Back of Beyond, Lost in Flight, and Ties That Bind.

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