Thursday, October 3, 2013

Review: The Vow by Jessica Martinez

Title: The Vow
Author: Jessica Martinez
Release Date: October 15, 2013
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Received from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary from Goodreads: No one has ever believed that Mo and Annie are just friends. How can a guy and a girl really be best friends?

Then the summer before senior year, Mo’s father loses his job, and by extension his work visa. Instantly, life for Annie and Mo crumbles. Although 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 returning to a world where he no longer belongs terrifies him.

Desperate to save him, Annie proposes they tell a colossal lie—that they are in love. Mo agrees because marrying Annie is the only way he can stay. Annie just wants to keep her best friend, but what happens when it becomes a choice between saving Mo and her own chance at real love?


The Vow combines so many of my favorite things into one well written package. There's dual narration, done well and uniquely. There's an honest to goodness friendship and it's the focus of the book(!!!!). There's a steamy romance on the side. And all of that combines with characters that feel real and situations that make you ache.

I've read a lot of YA Contemporary, but never have I read a book about two best friends who get married so one doesn't have to be deported. If the situation had been approached any other way I'm not sure if I would have liked it. The way Martinez tells Annie and Mo's story is perfect.

Though the title, cover, and even summary lead the reader to believe the majority of this book is about Annie and Mo's marriage lie, really only about half of it is. The first half of The Vow is similar to most other contemporary novels. It introduces us to the characters-to their life, their feelings, their hopes and dreams. The second half of The Vow, where the marriage comes in, would not have been nearly has enjoyable if Martinez hadn't take the time in the first half to ease us into the conflict.

I got really emotionally involved in The Vow, especially from Annie's point of view. She has to make decisions that are impossibly difficult, and I could feel her pain. I do wish the story of her relationship with her parents would have had an actual resolution. It is a good way to help the reader understand Annie better, but I didn't like the way it wasn't fully resolved.

I would have liked to see the secondary characters in The Vow be more developed. Some of them, like Mo's sister Sarina, were fantastic. Others didn't serve much of a purpose. I'm always a fan of the well-developed secondary character, so I was a little disappointed.

The Vow is novel about friendship, loyalty, and love in all of its forms. Martinez knows how to work a reader's emotions and keep them engaged in the story. Thoroughly enjoyable and original, though not altogether unpredictable.

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