January 9, 2014

Latest Read: The Vow by Jessica Martinez

Here are the basics ...
The Vow by Jessica Martinez
Publication date: Oct. 15, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Borrowed from library

Summary: No one has ever believed that Mo and Annie are just friends. How can a guy and a girl really be best friends? Then the summer before senior year, Mo’s father loses his job, and by extension his work visa. Instantly, life for Annie and Mo crumbles. Although Mo has lived in America for most of his life, he’ll be forced to move to Jordan. The prospect of leaving his home is devastating, and returning to a world where he no longer belongs terrifies him. Desperate to save him, Annie proposes they tell a colossal lie—that they are in love. Mo agrees because marrying Annie is the only way he can stay. Annie just wants to keep her best friend, but what happens when it becomes a choice between saving Mo and her own chance at real love? (Adapted goodreads.com)
My thoughts…
The good: Who else thinks that marrying your best friend so he can stay in the country is a bad idea? I certainly do. (Unless my best friend looked like Ryan Gosling, then I'd be willing to make an exception.)

The Vow isn't about two people making a rash decision and then riding off into the sunset to live their happily ever after. This is about two inexperienced teenagers - Annie and Mo - and the lengths a person would go to for their best friend. And Annie certainly goes the distance when she asks Mo to marry her so he can stay in the country instead of returning to Jordan with his family. Their friendship has always been platonic but now they have to convince everyone that they're actually in love and married for real. And they do this without thinking about the ripple effect their decision will have on the people in their lives or even on themselves. Suddenly they're both learning about what it means to be a grown-up, the lines between love and friendship and the familial ties you can't shake no matter what. But the book also brings up interesting topics about immigration, culture and America. I was surprised, in a good way, by how detailed everything was. 

The chapters alternate between Mo and Annie's point-of-view and I definitely enjoyed Annie's perspective the most. But I want to talk about Mo first. I wasn't sure how I felt about his character in the beginning. His best moments were when he reflected on how much he loved Annie and the type of friend she's been to him. Then the other half of the time, I was struck by how immature he was. Like clean after yourself, get a job, grow up, do something! But in hindsight, he is young. He's 17, married and living on his own without his family and even though it was his decision, that doesn't make it any easier. I definitely felt for him as he realizes the repercussions of separating himself from his family. 

Annie's chapters were like a breath of fresh air for me in comparison. There's something immediately likable about her. She's obviously the bestest friend you could possibly ask for. She's experienced tragedy in her life and doesn't want to be defined by it. She's stronger and more perceptive than most people give her credit for. And when she meets a guy she finds herself genuinely caring for (I loved their relationship!), she's faced with a tough decision. I could easily see anyone avoiding the pain of making a choice but she does. And I admired her all the more for it. 

(Super minor) reservations: As I mentioned before, it's hard not to feel frustrated with Mo at times but I think you have to look at him with the knowledge that he's a young, scared boy. As heartfelt as his and Annie's intentions are, they're doing something really crazy here. 

Do I recommend?: I do! I really enjoyed The Vow and how it all played out. It was something different. 

Happy reading! 

3 comments:

  1. I felt the exact same way about Mo and Annie. I understand why he was the way he was, but his chapters just seemed so stagnant and depressing compared to Annie's chapters. I liked the book overall, too, but part of me wishes it was only from Annie's POV.

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  2. Honestly, this book has intrigued me from the first time I spotted it on a shelf at Books of Wonder. It seriously sounds SO GOOD. I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed it, and that it's a really good story too. I can't wait to read this one!

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  3. This has such an interesting concept, and I'm intrigued by the way the immigration experience is portrayed. I will have to check this out.

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