Title: The Gods of Asphalt
Author: H.E. Ellis
Series: The Gods of Asphalt book 1
Published: Aug. 22/11
Page Count: 358
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fiction
Shelf: Review Copy
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Fearing he’s doomed to follow the same life path that defeated his father, a promising high school basketball star leaves home to make his own way only to discover a fate worse than failure: success.
Seventeen year-old Sawyer Hayden is the younger of two brothers who, having been raised by their truck driving father and bounced around the country at the whim of their flighty, non-maternal mother, decides enough is enough, he wants to put down roots and get into college. A gifted athlete with less than stellar grades, Sawyer sees a basketball scholarship as his only way in. With time running out he breaks away from his family in order to finish his senior year with his retired roadie grandfather, Gus.
It isn't long before Sawyer wins a new best friend and a sweet spot on the Varsity team. But life in his father’s hometown isn’t as easy as he imagined, and Sawyer finds himself faced with the same romantic challenges that forged his father’s destiny. Does he follow his dreams and pursue the college future within his reach, or does he throw it all away for a shot at love?
Right from the first page Ellis drops his audience into an emotional rollercoaster that does not let up until the final word of the novel. Twists and turns abound in this extremely realistic, very vivid journey through the life of a teenage boy who cannot come to grips with the forces driving his life.
The characters and setting of this novel were both very well developed. These were people that you wanted to, or felt like you already did, know in your real life. You wanted to root for them, or against them, depending on which characters were involved. They were not flat characters either. Each of them was well rounded and lifelike.
There were some very intense moments within this story. Ellis grabs a hold of the English language and twists it in such a way that the audience is kept riveted and feels exactly what the character is feeling. That said, there were also a great deal of moments when I found myself laughing out loud, rather uncontrollably at times. The author manages to use words to evoke very strong emotions in the reader.
On this surface this novel is about secrecy driving a family apart, but it is also about truth bringing them back together. Although it is a gripping tale it also contains a great deal of realism regarding difficulties within families. The characters need to learn to accept others and themselves the way that they are. There is a great deal of fighting, both verbally and physically, between the characters in this novel. There are also a large number of “bro-mance” moments that counteract them.
I quite enjoyed the fact that each chapter had a song assigned to them. These songs complemented the chapters that they were associated with. Picturing or listening to the song enriched the chapter, giving it a deeper meaning.
Above all, what I found the most interesting about this novel is reading about high school and high school relationships from the perspective of a guy. It was interesting to see how a situation that I would have reacted to in one manner was dealt with very differently.
This book as a whole was very well written. It kept me captivated while grounded in reality. The author did not need to use any supernatural forces to keep me tied to these pages. I will definitely be checking out future works by this author in the near future.
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