Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: February 11th 2014
by Balzer & Bray
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?
-A copy was provided by Balzer + Bray for review-
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.