Hey guys and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Girls Love Travis Walker, an NA contemporary novel. Below you can find more info about the book as well as my review and an excerpt :)
Format: Kindle ebook, 323 pages
To nineteen-year-old high school dropout Travis Walker, women are like snowflakes--each one different, but beautiful in her own way.
He can charm any girl he meets, and yet down deep he fears he'll always be a loser like his jailbird father. As the landlady threatens to evict him and his sick mother, Travis takes a job he hates and spends his evenings picking up girls at a nearby night spot.
When he enlists in a teen program at the local fire station, he finds out he’s amazing at it. Then he meets the smoking hot Kat Summers, enlists Kat’s friend Zoey to help him woo her, and falls in love for the first time ever.
But he keeps the details of his life secret. His girl will never love him back if she knows the truth about him….
The following review is based on a copy I got from the tour organizer in exchange for my honest opinion.
Travis Walker can charm his way into any girl’s pants. Alongside his best friend DJ, he hangs out at bars to pick up women so he can forget about his problems for a couple hours. But those problems continue to grow until they can no longer be ignored, not even temporarily. Threat of eviction and homelessness for you and your sick mother will do that to you. Travis is forced to drop out of high school and work full-time in order for him and his mum to survive on a day to day basis. When he meets a girl who is different and realizes that there is a career path that he might be great at and feels passionate about, will he be able to keep his life together or will the pressure become too much?
Travis isn’t the type of guy I usually tend to like, but I really clicked with his voice and the realness of his problems when I read an excerpt of the book a couple months back. Travis, despite his rugged look and shitty life situation, is a good guy. He works his hands to the bone to take care of his mother, who does nothing but lie in bed sleeping almost 24/7 (I flip-flopped between hating and pitying her character). They cannot afford a doctor. She can’t work. His dad’s in jail, there’s no money, and Travis is the only one who can at least try to keep up appearances, somehow hold on to their flat, and put food on the table. And yes, he has a way with women, but he never lies to them or makes them believe there will be anything more than one night. Also, he changes a lot over the course of the novel. He wants something more, wants to evolve, wants to find a way out of the dirt back to a life worth living instead of just surviving one day at a time.
The novel does a good job discussing themes of poverty and homelessness. I haven’t seen that to this extent in a New Adult book before. Anne Pfeffer really lets her main character take a plunge down to the very bottom, and shows the paradoxical interrelation of needing an apartment to get a job and needing a job to pay for an apartment in a striking way. Lose one, lose the other.
The unfairness of it all was striking – you can try all you want and work very very hard, but you might still not get anything for it, while others have it all and don’t need to lift a finger. I think this aspect of the novel also rang with me because it’s something I’m not familiar with from my own country because it wouldn’t be possible here in this way (our health insurance/social security system is very different). Travis’ alternating feelings of anger, despair, hope, ambition, and pride were credible and tangible as the only thing that gives his life purpose is slipping away from him. I really rooted for Travis despite or maybe because of his character flaws.
I also liked his love interest a lot, though for spoiler reasons I cannot talk about her by name or reveal too much. She was kind and understanding and I thought they were evenly matched. They’re relationship was slow-building and gave them time to get to know one another as friends first. Some of that plot line was a bit predictable, but that didn’t make it any less enjoyable. There were steamy scenes, but nothing too graphic that would overstep NA boundaries.
The pace was good, the plot- and romance arch well balanced. Pfeffer knows how to write great dialogue that can also lift the mood and keep the story from becoming too depressing. One point of critique for me is that the ending felt a bit rushed and some things resolved a little too easily. Don’t get me wrong, I like the note on which the story ended, but it somehow happened a bit fast.
All in all, Girls Love Travis Walker is a great NA contemporary, especially if you enjoy authentic guy POV. The writing is fluid and very compelling; I read the book in a day. It tackles basic life problems and issues in a very realistic way without becoming too bleak and not offering a way out. Travis’ persistence was inspiring and also made me gain a new appreciation for things I tend to take for granted. The romance is important and has great chemistry but it’s by no means the only focus of the novel, as the title might make you suspect. I’d recommend it to anyone who is ready for a different set of characters than you’re usually confronted with and who is in the mood to dive into the world of struggling guy wanting to rise above his lot.
Only fifteen minutes since I’d entered the halls of Perdido High School and already the beady eye of authority was upon me. I hadn’t even done anything wrong.
“Travis!” Ms. Valenzuela called out to me from the door of the guidance office. Although she was getting old, maybe into her early forties, she hadn’t let herself go. She had great legs, which were hidden today by her lime green pants.
“Yo.” I loped over and unleashed a grin that combined sincere remorse for my failings with my irresistible charm.
She pursed her lips. “Don’t start with me, Travis.”
I led the way to her office and took my usual chair while she sat at the desk across from me. “New picture,” I said, nodding to the updated photo of her two daughters. “Kelsi and … Julianne, right?”
She struggled to keep back a smile. “Yes, Travis. Those are their names.”
“Fifth and seventh grade, right?”
“Yes, Travis.” Now she was smiling for sure.
Maybe it was my blue-green eyes, or maybe my granite abs, but I could always get women to smile at me.
Ms. Valenzuela opened my folder. “Six more absences since your last visit to my office. Plus numerous missed homework assignments. You’re this close to suspension.” She held up her thumb and index finger a millimeter apart.
“I have to work, Ms. Val,” I said. “Gotta get ahead, you know.” I had a promising position as a bus boy at Jake’s Burgers.
“How many hours are you working these days?”
“As many as I can get, whenever I can get ‘em.”
“You can’t cut back?” She knew she couldn’t push me that hard. My family’s sudden move to Los Angeles in November of my junior year, coupled with my erratic attendance at Perdido High, had screwed up my graduation credits. With all my former classmates in college, I was starting my senior year, again, at age nineteen.
“I can’t get weekend shifts at Jake’s,” I told Ms.Val.
She didn’t like me working there, but she should just be glad I wasn’t following in the path of my father, who knocked over a convenience mart a year ago and ended up in prison for armed robbery. Mom had gone to visit him, but I refused. He could rot there for all I cared.
“You’ve got one school year left to graduate. I want to see you get that high school diploma, Travis. Or a GED at least.” Between her fingers, she rolled a pen. It was the cheap kind the school district bought that wrote for about five minutes before it crapped out on you.
“Yeah, well, we’re about to get evicted,” I said, “so that’s kind of rearranged my priorities.”
Follow the tour and check out interviews and guest posts:
May 2 - My Bookmark Blog - Review
May 3 - Bean Counting Mommy - Review
May 4 - Flirting With Romance - Review/Interview
May 5 - Andi's YA Books - Review/Interview
May 6 - The Avid Reader - Review/Interview
May 8 - Gimme the Scoop Reviews - Review
May 11 - Please Another Book - Review/Interview
May 13 - Alway's YA at Heart - Review
May 15 - A Bibliophile's Thoughts - Review
May 16 - My Cozie Corner - Review
May 17 - Total Book Geek - Review
May 18 - Books and Needlepoint - Review
May 20 - Faerie Tale Books - Review
May 20 - Owlnestly Reviews - Review
May 21 - Up All Night Reviews - Review
May 22 - Read-A-Holicz - Review
May 23 - Shelf Space Needed - Review
May 24 - Bookishly Devoted - Review
May 25 - Doodles Book Blog - Review
May 27 - Love, Laughter, and Friendship - Review
May 28 - Reviewing Shelf - Review
May 28- Pixie Dust Reviews - Review/Interview
May 29 - YA Book Addict - Review
May 30 - LovLivLife Reviews - Review
May 30 - Addicted to Books- Review
What do you guys think of my review, the excpert, or the general premise of the book? Is this something that would interest you? Let me know in the comments :)