Book Review: The Vow

October 24, 2013 book reveiw, Jessica Martinez, loss, Muslim stereotypes, Simon Pulse, young adult 3

Written By:  Jessica Martinez

Published By:  Simon Pulse October 15, 2013

Length:  432 pages

Source: Publisher

Rating: 5/5

Summary:

When two teens with complex motives plan to marry, their friendship is put to the ultimate test in this compelling novel from the author of Virtuosity.
Mo and Annie are just friends. Close friends, best friends, friends who love each other more than anyone else in the world—but just friends. No matter what anyone thinks, there’s simply no romance between them.

Then the summer before senior year Mo’s father loses his job—and his work visa. Even though 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 he’s terrified to return to a world where he no longer belongs.

So Annie proposes they tell a colossal lie: that they are in love. Mo agrees that marrying Annie is the only way he can stay, and Annie is desperate to help her friend. But what happens next may be enough to rip their relationship apart forever. (IndieBound)

My Thoughts:

Mo and Annie first met when Mo, Mohammed, is a new kid in school and Annie is suffering a personal loss, they are 10 and 11 years old.  They understand each other, but no one really understands their relationship.

The Vow is written in alternating chapters in both Mo and Annie’s voices.  The story moves in a logical timeline, and the chapters just flow, moving from his voice to hers and ending and beginning with similar words, the style is amazingly smooth and well done.  It was probably a few chapters in before I noticed it.

While the marriage was Annie’s idea and she keeps insisting it’s what she wants, both she and Mo begin to feel nervous when a law student helping with the forms they must file to grant Mo’s student waivers, points to some issues they haven’t considered.  Marriage fraud is a criminal offense.

I was in love with The Vow from the beginning, Annie sees in Mo what others were afraid of, he is different, both racially and idealistically, than anyone she knows.  He has been raised to excel academically, he’s constantly studying for his SATs and planning on Harvard.  He also loves basketball and he’s dealt with the anti-Muslim racists enough to know the ignorance of others. Mo sees how fragile Annie is, how she protects her parents from any more hurt and pain.  Mo sees Annie trying to live up to an image of something she can’t become.  Annie is creative and artistic, she paints and sees things others may not.  Mo and Annie are two best friends that it’s hard to find any cracks in their love and support of each other.  What they learn is that what you are most afraid of isn’t always the worst thing, and you may be surprised by what you really want.

This is the first book I’ve read from Jessica Martinez, she is the author of two more Young Adult or teen novels.  VIRTUOSITY was published in 2011 and has won several awards and is also a 2013 Florida Teen Read nominee. It’s the story of musically gifted teens, love and addiction. THE SPACE BETWEEN US was published in 2012, it’s the story of sisters.  You can find Jessica on her website and on twitter at @jlmarti1.  Jessica lives in the Orlando FL area and I’ve been privileged to meet her on a couple of occasions.  Since I’ve finished The Vow I’d like to spend a bit longer asking her questions on how she created Mo and Annie and how she imagined the conflicts they faced.   I highly recommend this novel, it touched me very deeply, a few tears were shed at the ending.  I look forward to reading Jessica’s previous novels, and I know book four will be coming our way in a year or so. 

Please stop by my blog tomorrow for a guest post from the author, Jessica Martinez.

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