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Wanted Hardcover – May 1, 2012
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
“Ayarbe does not shrink from the gritty, depressing reality of twenty-first-century American race and class issues .... Michal emerges as a clear voice in an important conversation. With just enough romance and a fair amount of suspense, this realistic story prompts dialogue about a difficult topic.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))
“Wanted is a well-written, suspenseful, even violent book made more troubling by the authenticity and likability of its characters. Readers will ache as they read this page-turner.” (ALA Booklist)
“Teens will be drawn in by the action, but the larger issues will linger after the last page is read.” (School Library Journal)
Praise for COMPULSION: “Ayarbe exercises both enormous skill and restraint getting to the root of just how debilitating OCD can become .... A gripping, claustrophobic read.” (Booklist (starred review))
Praise for COMPULSION: “A compelling entrée into the claustrophobic world of an OCD teen. Taut, suspenseful and well-realized.” (Kirkus Reviews)
Praise for COMPULSION: “Ayarbe gives Jake a compelling and convincing narrative voice that is both poignant and earthy. This achingly believable novel is highly recommended for libraries serving young adults.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))
About the Author
Heidi Ayarbe grew up in Nevada and has lived all over the world. She now makes her home in Colombia with her husband and daughter. She is also the author of Compulsion, Compromised, and Freeze Frame.
Top customer reviews
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First 50 Pages: This book begins on the slower side, giving the reader plenty of time to be absorbed into the setting and the characters. With contemporary novels, I don't mind if they begin a little slow. Truth be told, I wasn't expecting a heavy read when I picked up Wanted because from the synopsis, it sounded like it would be a fun, heist-ish book, maybe with some romance thrown in. That wasn't what I got at all. Instead, this book explores some difficult topics, such as race. The author can be very gritty at times, as well as a little blunt. I have to admire her for that! She kind of reminds me of Ellen Hopkins or maybe Mandy Hubbard.
Characters & Plot: Wanted was full of surprises, including heavy emotions. This book explores themes such as racism, gang violence, and Mexican immigration to the United States. The topics that were explored in this book seemed very true to live and reminded me a lot of the problems that are going on in places like Arizona. It was pretty obvious to me that the author did her homework or drew from life experiences when she was writing this story, because everything seemed believable and realistic.
Michal is our main character and she is a bookie, not to mention very tough and rough around the edges. She has her tough girl image to uphold and lives to her own set of rules and regulations. All of that begins to change and her emotional walls begin to crumble when a boy named Josh moves to town. Michal has an important rule when it comes to gambling, to never actually play herself. Josh convinces her to break her rule, and when she does, the book becomes very interesting.
Okay, I hate the main character's name (Michal, really?) but her personality was so layered and wonderfully entertaining. Her inner thoughts and emotions were expressive and there were moments in the story where I really felt for her. I'm still not sure how I feel about Josh because it took me a while to warm up to his character and it bothered me a little bit when Josh tried to change Michal to someone that she was not. There is some romance between the two characters as well, but it isn't the main plot focus. It was fun to watch these two characters grow and evolve.
Final Thoughts: This was a clever book with a unique plot line that I found difficult to put back down once I began to read. Although I don't really agree with the ways that Michal and Josh decided to solve their problems, they stood up for what they felt was right. All in all, I definitely enjoyed Wanted much more than I expected to and would give it a good recommendation to check it out.
From beginning to end I just had a hard time wrapping my mind around the bookie part of the story. I guess I just don't see it in the high school setting. Is this something new? Is it common? I guess maybe it's a new kind of rush for teenagers, but it just seemed weird. It wasn't even the fact that a female ran it. It was literally just the bookie part. And that it was right under everybody's noses. How the hell did nobody pick up on that fact? No one thought "Hey...isn't it a little weird that this group of kids is all together when none of them normally hang out?" I would have thought that.
Aside from all that, I really like Michal. She's interesting to me because she honestly thinks she nobody. When obviously she's chosen to facilitate an activity that more than just gets her noticed. It really causes her unwanted attention. I think she thinks that because she's a spectator, that it makes her less than those who participate. Which is interesting when Josh shows up. Josh is bound and determined to make her feel something. I think he wants her to see herself a little more like those around her see her.
I also really enjoyed the portrayal of the gangs in the area. I really felt the intensity of the situation. It was threatening and realistic. I also liked how Michal and Josh push the envelope. I don't agree with the way the went about their escapades. After all, two wrongs never make a right. But, I really agreed with the overall message.
The ending floored me. It wasn't at all what I was expecting. I closed the book with unanswered questions. I also drew some similarities with a high profile case in Florida at the moment. I wondered though, if it was just timing. Overall and interesting read that I had a little bit of hard time filtering out. It won't stop me from reading her next book though!
Most recent customer reviews
I was so excited to read Wanted once I heard about its release. Heidi Ayarbe is one of my favorite writers and she really impressed me with her previous...Read more