Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Vow That Can't Be Kept

Expected Publication:  October 15th, 2013
The Vow
By: Jessica Martinez
Simon Pulse
ISBN-13:  9781442458642

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?

     So, the two main characters in this book are best friends and have been for about seven or eight years, ever since the boy (Mo) moved from Jordan to America.  The girl (Annie) is dealing with heartbroken parents who have been distant and yet overprotective ever since her older sister was murdered and Mo is dealing with being an Arab teenager in southern Kentucky (which sucks).  But he wants nothing more than to get into Harvard or Yale, play basketball and be a normal, American teenager.  So when Mo's Dad loses his job and the whole family is about to be deported to Jordan, the two friends decide to get married, keeping it a secret, so that Mo can stay in America.  Then Annie starts to fall in love with another boy and things may not be as simple as they were when the lie began.  Can she save Mo and still follow her heart?  And will Mo come to terms with the fact that going back to Jordan doesn't change who he really is?
     I have majorly mixed feelings about this book.  I didn't really like Annie or Mo all that much, to be honest.  I felt like yes, they were friends but most of that friendship was based on the fact that they needed each other (not that they actually had things in common).  She saved him from a bully and he's the only one who 'gets' her.  It's a really selfish relationship on both of their parts.  If Annie had proposed marriage as a way to keep Mo in the country solely for his benefit, I might have been behind the decision.  But she does it because she panics at the thought of losing her only friend.  Also, they have ZERO romantic feelings for each other and Annie has a major crush on Reed, a boy at work.  After they get married, she starts to date Reed anyway because they keep the marriage a secret from everyone - including her parents.  The fact that they act like 10 year old brats half of the time does nothing to endear them to me as characters. 
     Maybe if they made responsible decisions that they didn't feel like they had to hide, it wouldn't have been such a burr in my backside.  But lies always blow up in your face eventually, and the fact that they naively expected things to be just fine and dandy, despite the fact that they're doing something highly illegal and could go to prison if found out, really made me pissed off as a reader.  For an issue book, it was well written and the look into immigration laws, visas and marriages for green cards was an interesting if intense snapshot.  That said, I hated the characters and found myself skimming my way through the last half of the book.  I seem to be in the minority with this feeling, so if the concept appeals to you I would encourage you to test it out.  Otherwise, avoid it as a lengthy timewaster.  Also, the subplot with Annie's strained relationship with her parents is left hanging loosely at the end of the book with no attempt at resolution.  Seeing as this is a major part of her character's issues and is something that defines her, I found it seriously disappointing.
VERDICT:  2.75/5
**I received this book as part of Around the World ARC Tours, run by the lovely Princess Bookie. No favors or money were exchanged for this review. This book's expected publication is October 15th, 2013.**

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