Review: The Weight of Destiny by Nyrae Dawn13:27
Author: Nyrae Dawn
Genre: YA/NA Romance, Realistic fiction
Release Date: 18 Nov 2014
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My rating: 3 Stars
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When “crazy” runs in your family and your namesake is known for walking into a river with a pocket full of rocks, a girl kind of wants to avoid tempting fate at all costs. For Virginia Nichols, the only way to dodge that bullet is to be perfect at everything: school, student council, life. Too bad it’s all a lie, and underneath the perfection...Virginia is lost.
Ryder Blackstock knows a thing or two about being born into fate. The talents passed down from his father aren't exactly normal; instead of learning how to throw a fastball, he was taught to hot-wire a car like a pro and pick any pocket in sight. He’s got criminal blood, just like his old man. And as soon as he turns eighteen, he’ll be living life on the run with his dad.
When Ryder and Virginia meet on the beach, it seems they couldn't be more different. Soon they discover they’re both trapped in their lives—Virginia denying her fate, Ryder embracing his. Like the rocks in Virginia Woolf’s pockets, the weight of their destinies will pull them under. But being together brings out pieces of themselves they didn't know existed—pieces that make them want to take fate into their own hands and rewrite their destinies...if it’s not too late.
I loved her Games series and was intrigued by the blurb of this one but in the end I liked it but expected more. It was not as good as I hoped it would be. It's YA/NA realistic fiction/romance a and I liked the idea of exploring what it's like for a child of a parent with a personality disorder but I felt the story lacked depth and was rather casual.
I found Virginia/Lulu an interesting character - her struggles with her mother's illness and her fears for her own mental health all felt real and easy to understand. This lead to an unhealthy need for control which also seemed realistic. I felt deeply for her struggles between what's right and should be done and her desire to be free, to find who she is, to explore the world - just like any other teenager at the cusp of adulthood.
Her romance with Ryder was sweet and tender but it didn't strike me as outstanding in any way. It was an opposites-attract kind of story and bore the marks of first (teenage) love.
My main issue with the story was Ryder. He was a typical bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks, convinced that he is destined to be a thief just like his father. I found his certainty in his criminal fate confusing and unrealistic. He was dreaming of becoming a criminal because he thought that was the only thing he was good at. It felt forced and unconvincing. He had a caring older brother, a tight group of friends whom he could rely on, so I really didn't see him as doom or desperate.
It was his relationship with Virginia that helped him believe more in himself and ultimately act right and recognize the chance he had of being something more than a small-time criminal. Graduating high school and preparing for college and being adult can be scary and confusing, still I felt Ryder was acting rather childishly most of the story.
On the plus side, I did like a lot his friends and the way Ms Dawn explores the complex relations between them - love and hurt and betrayal and loyalty. I really enjoyed this aspect of the story.
This is the first book in a new YA/NA series by Nyrae Down and even though I didn't like it as much as I hoped, I'm curious about the rest of the books and very much willing to give them a try.
Purchase links: Amazon