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Estelle: Adrenaline Crush by Laurie Boyle Crompton

Adrenaline Crush by Laurie Boyle CromptonAdrenaline Crush by Laurie Boyle Crompton ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: 9/23/2014
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Pages: 192
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: daredevil, therapy, falling in love, family
Format read: ARC paperback from the publisher. (Thanks!)

Summary: Dyna loves how she feels when she takes risks. When she gets seriously hurt in a fall, her mom forces her into a therapy program that she finds totally laughable. She doesn’t plan on doing anything out of her comfort zone ever again, even if the doctors do say her ankle can get better. But meeting the people in her group especially a war vet a few years older than her makes her wonder if she can find a balance in her life.

So 192 pages is short for a young adult book, right?

The size intrigued me because there’s only one other I can think of (Something Like Normal by Trish Doller) that manages to tell a complete story in a compact book. Could Adrenaline Crush do the same?

For the most part, it did. Crompton gave us a great sense of this supportive and unconventional family, Dyna’s thirst for adventure, and how her fall makes her rethink why she loves to do things that give her a crazy rush even if it means risking her health and her life. She’s never thought about consequences before because she’s never had to. So now what?

Her accident not only changes her own way of thinking but it also alters her mom’s usual easy-going nature. Suddenly, Mom is feeling over-protective and wondering if her and her husband have given their kids too much freedom to pursue what they wanted. The lack of boundaries lands one kid in the hospital and Dyna’s older brother is wasting his time smoking up and avoiding decisions about his own future. On the other hand, Dyna’s dad is confused by this change in his wife and urges his daughter to get healthy and get back on the saddle.

Then there’s Jay — a boy from Dyna’s school who ends up at the scene of the accident, saves her, and becomes her boyfriend. Their attachment to one another is based on Dyna’s accident more so than knowing each other well. Don’t get me wrong — he’s totally devoted but at some point, the two were going to have to discuss how they fell for each other so quickly. Was it a real or was it kind of convenient?

See? That’s a lot for 192 pages and I haven’t even talked about the therapy center yet. An oddball group of people of various backgrounds and ages talking in a circle about their fears and what they want to overcome. Dyna thinks it’s a bit hokey but even her cold heart is melted when she starts to get to know these people and takes part in field trips to help them. The instantly good looking Pierce helps a bit with that too. He was injured in the war, helping out friends and he’s returned to the therapy group to assist. But you can tell he is still healing too.

Obviously, Pierce and Dyna already have more in common than her and Jay. I’m not a fan of love triangle scenarios but I truly believe that you cannot help who you fall for and these two develop a friendship before they are talking about “what this all means”. Crompton handled the boys in this story really well. It was respectful and it felt authentic.

Could Adrenaline Crush worked better as a longer book? In some ways, yes. I would have liked to see a better developed resolution, more dialogue with her family (they are just so great), and more of a glimpse into Dyna’s thinking process as she seesawed between being a risk taker and playing it safe. Interference from her parents would have worked well here too. All in all, the book kept me interested and was definitely enjoyable, even if it won’t be a forever favorite.

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Add to Goodreads | Buy on Amazon | Buy on B&N | Magan’s review of Blazed by Laurie Crompton

October 8, 2014 - 10:54 pm

Alexa S. - The concept of Adrenaline Crush is pretty neat! I like that it really explores Dyna’s understanding of herself, as well as the relationships in her life. Even though the short length still stumps me, and I couldn’t get into the story well the first time I tried, I’m glad to hear that it was pretty good.

September 24, 2014 - 9:44 am

Adrenaline Crush by Laurie Boyle Crompton | Review + Giveaway -Katie's Book Blog - […] Rather Be Reading’s review: “All in all, the book kept me interested and was definitely enjoyable, even if it won’t be a forever favorite.” […]

September 22, 2014 - 3:04 pm

Lea @ YA Book Queen - Glad the author managed to fill those 192 pages – short books always make me nervous (although Something Like Normal managed to pleasantly surprise me – that book is amazing).

Nice review! 🙂

September 22, 2014 - 10:39 am

Jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader - I can still remember how shocked I was the first time I learned how short this novel is but I’m happy to hear that (for the most part) it doesn’t negatively affect the depth and resonance of the story itself. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this novel on NetGalley and now I’m even more excited to begin it having read your review. Any sort of examination of familial relationships in YA literature is disappointingly rare, so I was particularly happy to hear that this was something Crompton touched upon. While it may not leave a lasting impression or prove a book I re-read again and again, I’m still really inspired by the subject matter and I can’t wait to experience it all firsthand 🙂 Thank you for the great, balanced review, Estelle!

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