Ripple by Heather Smith Meloche
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Rating: 4 Stars
When their too-adult lives lead them down self-destructive paths, these broken teens find a way to heal in this YA novel perfect for fans of Ellen Hopkins.
With her impossible-to-please grandmother on her back about college and her disapproving step-dad watching her every move, Tessa would do anything to escape the pressure-cooker she calls home. So she finds a shot of much-needed power and confidence by hooking up with boys, even though it means cheating on her boyfriend. But when she’s finally caught red-handed, she’ll do anything she can to cover up what she’s done.
Jack is a prankster who bucks the system every chance he gets—each transgression getting riskier and riskier. He loves the thrill, and each adventure allows a little release because his smug smile and suave demeanor in the face of authority doesn’t make life at home with his mom any less tough. He tries to take care of her, but the truth is he’s powerless in the face of her fragile mental health. So he copes in his own way, by defacing public property and pulling elaborate pranks, though he knows in the end this’ll only screw up his life even more.
As they both try not to let their self-destructive patterns get the best of them, Tessa and Jack gravitate toward one another, discovering the best parts of themselves in the process. An honest portrayal of the urges that drive us and finding the strength to overcome them.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with an advance copy of Ripple for an honest review.
Ripple is an emotional, heartfelt story about struggling with dysfunctional situations and how to cope with them. This book is from dual POV, that of Tessa and Jack. There is a great chemistry between Tessa and Jack. Jack is definitely book boyfriend material and swoon worthy.
Tessa’s father is no longer in the picture. Tessa’s mom and stepdad do not have the money to pay for the college of her choice, so they put pressure on her to attend the college her grandmother wants her to go to. This way, her grandmother will pay for her education in full. Tessa does not want to attend this college to focus on business, as her parents and grandmother expect her to, because she wants to pursue art. This leads to Tessa’s wanting to rebel.
Jack’s father left him and his mother for a different, “better” family when he was little. This left Jack on his own to take care of his schizophrenic mother. Since Jack is the man of the house, it his duty to work for money to pay the bills. This puts a lot of stress on 17-year-old Jack.
Both Tessa and Jack’s poor decisions bring their lives to a crossroad. Jack and Tessa try to learn how to help one another through the struggles they face.
Will Tessa find comfort in Jack? Can Jack be what Tessa really needs?
Ripple was a very hard book to put down, although slightly predictable. Overall, I did really enjoy this book. I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.
Heather Smith Meloche has had the honor of winning the Katherine Paterson Prize and the Writer’s Digest National Competition for her children’s/Young Adult writing. She studied video production and poetry at Michigan State University, and then got her Master’s in Teaching English as a Second Language at Bowling Green State University. She spends her days in her home in Michigan sampling a wide variety of chocolate, letting her dogs in and out constantly, and writing and reading as much as she can.
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