I received this book for free from Amulet Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon
Published by Amulet Books on March 7th, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Source: Amulet Books
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Tourmaline Harris’s life hit pause at fifteen, when her mom went to prison because of Tourmaline’s unintentionally damning testimony. But at eighteen, her home life is stable, and she has a strong relationship with her father, the president of a local biker club known as the Wardens.
Virginia Campbell’s life hit fast-forward at fifteen, when her mom “sold” her into the services of a local lawyer: a man for whom the law is merely a suggestion. When Hazard sets his sights on dismantling the Wardens, he sends in Virginia, who has every intention of selling out the club—and Tourmaline. But the two girls are stronger than the circumstances that brought them together, and their resilience defines the friendship at the heart of this powerful debut novel.
Motorbike clubs is always a good way to get a person’s attention but I honestly did not expect what I got from Done Dirt Cheap. I assumed there would be an element of fluff to the book but instead, what I got was a complex, thoughtfully crafted novel with words that just jumped off the page. There are some books you finish that will oddly make you feel nostalgic for something you don’t even quite remember and Done Dirt Cheap was that book for me. In some ways it was reminiscent of the contemporary YA novels I grew up on.
I think part of the nostalgia for me came from the focus on female friendships in this book. Like both the main characters have their love interests and those relationships are important (and thoughtfully developed) but the way Tourmaline and Virginia interacted WAS the highlight of the novel. It is what breathed life to it and what made it such a compelling piece of work. It kind of reminded me of the powerful female friendships I read about in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants when I was a bb8, growing up.
The romantic relationships ~are~ important in the novel but only so much as how the main characters are defined by them (but also, those boys were both cute and IDK which one I liked more.) I love that they don’t necessarily read like an after thought but the novel doesn’t center around them. It only uses the relationships as a way to further character development.
There are more than just compelling female friendships in the novel though. THERE ARE GOOD FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS. Good in that they are well developed. They are not at the front and center of the novel bu they linger in the background in ways you can tell are important and that the book wouldn’t be the same without them.
Honestly, this book is like a 7 layer bar. Its got subtle details that might not work on their own, but together, ITS A FEAST. But maybe that’s not the best simile. There are just a lot of complex layers to the book that make it what it is. Details that shouldn’t matter but the book wouldn’t be the same without it.
The reason why this book doesn’t get all five stars though is that I felt like the plot was missing something. It is a character driven book and there is nothing wrong with a book being character driven but plots are equally important and I wish I had been able to see more of a definite plot arc.
Overall though, Done Dirt Cheap is a book you will want to have on your TBRs if you love character driven contemporary novels with pretty covers.
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