Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Review: Take Me There by Carolee Dean

Title: Take Me There
Author: Carolee Dean
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release date: July 1st 2010
Pages: 325
Genre: Young Adult contemporary
Source: Bought
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Dylan has a bad-boy past and a criminal record. He knows that rich, beautiful Jess is way too good for him—but she has always been the one person who sees through his tough exterior and straight to his heart, and he has been hopelessly in love with her from the first time they met. He would change his life for a chance with her.
But trouble follows Dylan wherever he goes, and a deadly mistake soon forces him to hit the road and leave his dreams behind. He’s on the run and in search of answers—answers to questions he wishes he’d never asked.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Why oh why was this book marketed as romance? The cover and description basically guarantee that this book will never get the recognition it deserves, which makes me really sad. I was expecting a Simone Elkeles-esque romance, but that is most definitely not the case. Take Me There is a dark, gritty story with a smaller romance storyline that somehow became the focus of the marketing team.

The story is so, so good. Maybe it makes sense the synopsis focuses on romance, because there's so many facets of the story, you couldn't possibly fit them in into a paragraph or two. There's the family storyline - Dylans' father is on deathrow for a murder he may or may not have committed, and Dylan goes to visit him for the first time, causing him to try to figure out what really happened eleven years ago. And there's the more recent drama: Dylan and his friend Wade are on the run from the cops as well as members of a gang they got wrapped up in. Both storylines are full of suspense, making Take Me There read, in parts, like a mystery or action novel, and it is impossible to put down.

Even more captivating than the action, though, is Dylan's character and the emotional side of things. I loved Dylan so much; he has definitely made some mistakes, but his flaws only make him more loveable. Carolee Dean's writing blurs the lines between good and bad - honestly, none of the people in this book are all good, but the horrible situations they've gotten themselves or each other into makes it easy to understand where all of them are coming from. My heart broke for Dylan, Wade, and Dylan's father so many times.

The only aspect of the story I didn't love was the romance. I understand why Dylan's relationship with Jess is necessary for the development of the story, but I just didn't feel it. I did not think that the development of their relationship felt realistic, and their feelings for each other felt melodramatic, considering how little time they've actually spent together. I didn't mind too much, though, since it really is necessary for the story.

Take Me There is a powerful novel; it sends an important message about a number of issues, while also presenting a captivating story for readers. Dylan's story is one I know I won't soon forget. I highly recommend Take Me There!


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