Against All Odds Review

October 17, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★

Against All Odds ReviewAgainst All Odds by Patricia Vanasse
Published by Pants On Fire Press on 25 September 2015
Pages: 313
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Sometimes boy meets girl, and the stars align, and their future is laid out neatly before them. Together forever. Meant to be. But Max and Loren are not one of those couples.

Seventeen-year-old Max DuPont is on the verge of becoming a ward of the state and foster kid. Contrary to expectations, Max is not from the "wrong" side of town. He's from a good home in a nice neighborhood, but his mother left after his father lost his job and turned to drinking. Max has been struggling to keep his head above water ever since. All he wants is to survive his senior year, play hockey, and move on to college. When his dad lands himself in jail, Max has no choice but to accept an offer to live with his father's do-gooder attorney, Mr. Larssi. The only contingency is that Max must stay far away from Larssi's beautiful teenage daughter Loren.

Loren is aware that she's had every opportunity in her young adult life—at least, that is, every opportunity her parents designed for her. She excels in academics at a competitive prep school, she never parties, she never dates, and she's a budding ballerina and major hopeful for a Juilliard scholarship. But since her best friend Lily died tragically three months ago, Loren is lost. She knows just how precious life is. But she has no idea how to make the best of it. How can she live—really live—with obsessive parents breathing down her neck…and inviting the only guy who never noticed her to live right under their roof?
Loren's first step in living her own life might be to get Max to notice her. Max's only chance at a solid future without foster care is to keep his distance from Loren. But their chemistry is undeniable. And they can't fight the odds forever…

Based on the cover and description alone, I could tell that this book was for me. If you can’t already tell from the type of books that I usually review on my blog, I love YA contemporary romances. Not all of them always work for me, but this one fortunately did. I believed in Lo and Max’s relationship, and I also felt like it was a well developed story that handled real world issues with extreme ease.

Max was a dreamy character who had a heartbreaking past. I know I’ve read a lot of books lately that have had this, but I still found this to work due to how charming Max is. He isn’t your typical bad boy, but he still has a little bit of a past with being a womanizer and having problems with drinking too much. However, he got his act together once his mother left him with his drunk father and he began to completely apply himself in school and get perfect grades. It always breaks my heart when the main character is forced to mature and take care of their parents, despite the fact that it should be the other way around. I found Max’s passion and love for hockey to be very convincing, although I kind of would have liked to see even more of that, but I know that the story needed some room for other important plots as well.

Loren is a character that I related with on a personal level. Like Loren, I also lost my best friend, even though the death happened differently and I was much younger at the time, but it was still very difficult. Some people might read this and feel like Lo was overly dramatic about it, and shouldn’t have thrown a fit about going to counseling. Speaking from experience, I know that it’s hard to admit that you need help when experiencing that level of grief. I liked how Lo would knock off items on her bucket list that she created with Lily because it felt like each item reminded her of Lily. That’s something that I also understand because there are many things that I would do when my best friend died that made me feel closer to her and helped me grieve all at once.

The relationship between Lo and Max was obviously totally complicated. Max felt like he had to stay away from Loren due to her fathers huge rule. I thought it was even more complex how Max wouldn’t tell Lo the real reason why he couldn’t be with her in public was due to that rule, but it also shows what a good guy he is since he didn’t want to come between her and her dad. The romance moved fairly slow which made it feel even more real. Despite his initial attraction, it’s pretty clear that nobody would get involved with someone right away when so much was at stake for them. Once it did finally happen, I was more than ready for it. I feel like the author wrote this extremely well.

All in all, this was a fabulous book that I was impressed with. I was beyond excited to read it when Patricia Vanasse contacted me and asked if I would review it. So thank you to Patricia for allowing me to receive a copy of your incredible book! I really felt like Patricia handled tough issues like alcoholism and social work in a real way. I also loved how both Max and Loren had a sport that they were passionate about. Like I already said, Max had hockey, but Lo had ballet. Dance isn’t something that I’m an expert on, but I loved reading about it and felt like the imagery was extremely well done. In general, this was a quick read and I was immersed in their story.

I recommend this for fans of:

Click on the covers in order to go to my review of these books.

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