Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Review: The Lure by Lynne Ewing

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I received this book for free from Balzer + Bray in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Lure by Lynne EwingThe Lure by Lynne Ewing
Published by Balzer & Bray on February 11th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Source: Balzer + Bray
Buy on Amazon

From the bestselling author of the Daughters of the Moon series comes a gritty, sexy novel about a teen who is forced to become a "lure"-a beautiful girl who is used to lure victims of gang violence.

Fifteen-year-old Blaise Montgomery lives in the gritty outskirts of Washington, DC, where a stray bullet can steal a life on the way to school. Drugs and violence are the only ways to survive, so Blaise and her friends turn to gangs for safety, money, and love. When Blaise is invited to join Core 9, one of the most infamous crews, she jumps at the chance. Though her best guy friends, Rico and Satch, warn her about the danger, she agrees to be beaten for a minute straight as part of the gang's initiation ritual.

Now Blaise is finally part of a crew. A family.

But things get only more dangerous when she becomes a member of Core 9 and tensions with a rival gang heat up. Trek, the head of Core 9, asks Blaise to be his "lure," the sexy bait he'll use to track down enemy gang members and exact revenge. Rico and Satch tell her it's a death sentence, but Blaise can't resist the money and unparalleled power. As Trek puts Blaise in increasingly dangerous situations, she begins to see that there's more to lose than she ever realized-including Satch, the one person who has the power to get under her skin. With death lurking around every corner, should Blaise continue to follow the only path she's ever known, or cut and run?

The Lure and I went through a tumultuous relationship. I started out in love with it and that love slowly declined as the novel went on, eventually leading me to be pretty angry at where we ended up. See, in the beginning it was gritty, authentic and raw, but by the end I didn’t know if I was reading a contemporary novel or the screenplay for a daytime soap opera.

As the novel starts out we meet Blaise and her friends Melissa, Ariel and Kaylee as they are making their way home one night. The atmosphere is set right from the beginning and we realize that these girls don’t come from a good neighbourhood. Seeing a group of people drinking on a stoop and then hiding in the trees while a car rolls down the street with the headlights off presumably in the midst of a drive-by shooting lends a definitely feeling of uneasiness. I felt this novel, I really did. I saw a lot of reviews from people that thought Blaise was dumb for wanting to join a gang but I thought the novel did a good job of painting the picture and enforcing that this is just the way of life where these girls live. Growing up and joining the local gang was like being initiated into royalty for them. Along with initiation came respect, money and a way at surviving the rough streets they live on.

The characters in the novel weren’t really ones that I could relate to, but because the author did a really good job at vividly describing the setting and lifestyle I found myself emotionally invested in them. Blaise’s intense need to provide a better life for her grandmother made me sad as she had a sugar packet for breakfast just so her grandmother could eat. I understood why she was making the choices that she was making, even though I didn’t agree with them. I also found myself invested in her relationships with Satch and Rico. These three knew everything about each other and sure their little three way friendship looked weird from the outside but they all looked out for each other so I found some of the happenings in the novel crushing and did drop a tear here and there.

What didn’t work as the novel wore on was how dramatic, to the point of bordering on unrealistic, things got in the end. I started to feel less like I was reading a gritty story about street kids and more like I was watching a soap opera unfold on TV. Ewing did a fantastic job of writing the action scenes and getting my heart pumping but the conveniences that occurred started to make the novel feel less authentic. Along with the conveniences, some of the dialogue started to feel awkward and forced in these dire situations Blaise was finding herself in. I’m not sure if my mood had just changed in the final chapters of the novel but things really shifted and it took my enjoyment of the novel down a few pegs.

This is still an intense story and a look at a world that I have never encountered in YA. While I’m not happy with every aspect of how it plated out, I think this is a worthwhile read for anyone looking for a contemporary with some edge to it.


3 Hot Espressos

20 Responses to “Review: The Lure by Lynne Ewing”

  1. Lisa @ Lost in Literature

    Hmmm. I’ve actually never heard of this one before, but I’m not sure it’s for me. To me, a good ending brings the entire story together and makes it worth reading. A frustrating, unrealistic ending pushes me toward the not-for-me side. Great honest review, Jenni!

  2. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    That’s such a shame that the book started off strongly but ended up disappointing you towards the end. I can understand how unrealistic scenes might have butchered the book. At least the characters were interesting.
    Great review, Jenni.

  3. Maya

    It’s always so disappointing when a book starts out well then just goes downhill, and The Lure sounds like it could have been really good. It annoys me when an author throws in lots of action and unrealistic situations just for a bit of drama. Thanks for the review!

  4. Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain

    The characters in this book look fantastic because of how the author can make you care about them even though it’s hard to relate to them. However I hate when a book gets way too dramatic for me and I end up almost hating the book itself. From the way that you described it, it seems like the author does really well with the action and fast-paced parts but lacked in the actual pacing. I’m sorry that this one wasn’t amazing for you but I’m glad you still enjoyed it. Fantastic review, Jenni! <33

  5. Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

    I hate it when a book starts strong, only to disappoint me terribly later on! And when I read contemporary (which I so rarely do), I want it to be realistic, and not some overly dramatic, soap opera. I really, really wouldn’t like that.
    Sorry you were disappointed, Jenni!

  6. Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed

    Bummer, I was excited for this one. I was worried about the MC’s age, I don’t usually like books with MC’s that young because I feel like everything has to be ‘dumbed down.’ I think this concept is great, it would have made a good adult book…

  7. Savannah

    An author that takes time to build up the world around the reader does help me invest more as well. It’s like I have been put into the story and can understand better. Thanks for the great review!

  8. Melliane

    oh it’s rare when I start a book loving it and change after that, it’s ofthen the contrary… or not. I can understand it’s difficult when things are unrealistic because at the end it’s often annoying. thanks for the review, I didn’t know this one.

  9. ShootingStarsMag

    I do like books that focus on the darker side of the world, and this is a topic I haven’t really read much about. However, it’s never good when a book starts to become LESS enjoyable as you go.

  10. Precious

    I love how you mentioned the ups and downs of the novel. And I’m pretty sad that you were angry by the end. *pats* It happens sometimes. Although I’m interested in the dark edge of the novel, I believe that this might not be for me. Thanks for the great honest review!


  11. Melanie (YA Midnight Reads)

    OMG! I just noticed the dude hidden underneath the words “The Lure” I’ve read a lot of 1 star ratings for this book, so I’m not sure I’ll bother with this one–especially since you mention it gets a little unrealistic.

    Brilliant review, Jenni! <33

  12. Charlotte @ Thoughts and Pens

    Daytime soap opera? Hehehe. For that reason alone, I am going to avoid this book like a plague. Soaps are quite abundant in our local channels that I am already so tired of watching them. There’s just a lot of melodrama to last me a lifetime.

    I am really sorry that your enjoyment for this book greatly waned towards the end. Like you, I also don’t like unrealistic events and too easily resolved conflicts.

    Great review, Jenni! I hope your next read will be better!

  13. Pili

    Sounds like it’d be a great read, or at least at first. It is quite an unique approach to a contemporary novel, and I’m sorry to hear that the ending was too much soap opera like!
    Great review, Jenni!

  14. Amy @ Book Loving Mom

    I still need to read this one. I hadn’t really seen any reviews for it yet so I didn’t know what to expect going in. It’s too bad that it kind of went downhill, but I’m glad you still liked it. I have found that a lot of books start out strong for me, then feel like just random words on a page by the end. Maybe it’s my focus getting lost… Either way, this still sounds like a book I will like and I definitely need to get to it soon. Lovely review hon!