Tuesday, June 17, 2014

TOUR STOP: Ex-Factor/Unbreakable

Pages: 207
Source: YA Bound
Summary: (Ex-Factor)
Nevaeh Evan’s life is uprooted after her father’s death, when she moves in with her aunt and cousin, Livvie. Her plan to lay low at her new high school isn’t working. Her friend’s jerky boyfriend keeps asking her out, the guy she likes treats her like garbage, and the thought of tumbling again makes her want to hurl. 
So when her aunt pushes her into joining the elite X-FACTOR cheer leading squad, Navaeh goes along with it. 
But Nev feels she doesn’t deserve to be happy. Not after what happened the night her father died. 

Bodie Scott knows about grief all too well. Critically injured in an alcohol related accident the year before, Bodie struggles with the fact that he’ll never play football again, and he’s so far behind in credits he can’t see straight. That is, until he meets Nev. Haunted by their bloody pasts and wary of a shared future, Nev and Bodie turn to one another for comfort and support, and realize they’re not so alone after all. And when the party scene at school threatens the life of a loved one, the two stop at nothing to keep the past from repeating itself.

Pages: 223
Summary: (Unbreakable)
Perception is everything to sixteen-year-old Olivia Brown. With her freakishly hot boyfriend, volunteer work at the local animal shelter, successful beauty channel on YouTube, and well-earned spot on X Factor Cheer's elite level five Diamond Girl team, Livvie's the girl every other girl wants to be. At least, that's the illusion she's aiming for. 
But Livvie's seemingly perfect life is anything but. Lying about the bruises her boyfriend gives her, and cowering beneath his raging temper becomes a regular way of life until she unwittingly witnesses her drunken neighbor beating his step-son, the town bad boy, Reid Tate. 
For Reid, vulnerability is the enemy. Opening up, and letting people in gives them the power to disappoint. Growing up with a co-dependent mother and an abusive alcoholic father, Reid has endured all the disappointment he can stomach. 
But when his pretty, do-good neighbor witnesses his step-dad beat him to within an inch of his life, and not only call the cops, but keeps quiet at school about what she saw, Reid wonders if maybe, just maybe, he's found someone he can finally trust. 

Hi Everyone! Welcome to my Tour Stop for the Ex-Factor/Unbreakable book tour. Like always, don't forget to check out the rest of the tour stops by clicking the banner above :)

Ex-Factor follows the story of Nevaeh Evan. Her father was recently killed in a drunk driving accident and her mother suffers from Alzheimer's. With no one really in the position to take care of her, she is sent to live with her aunt and cousin in a brand new town. Initially, Nev's plan is to avoid all forms of contact, keeping to herself and staying below the radar. Unfortunately, her aunt has other ideas when she pushes for Nev to join the Diamond Girls, an elite level five cheer team. On top of that, Erin, the one girl who went out of her way to befriend Nev, has a playboy of a boyfriend who won't take no for an answer. Oh, there's also Bodie, the kid with the "temper issues" that everyone avoids. 

At first glance, Ex-Factor sounds hugely stereotypical. You've got a cheer-leading captain who is 110% Mean Girl material, a playboy who wants the MC, a brooding, "troubled," and mysterious boy who captures the MC's heart. You've technically got it all. But what made this story different was how it addressed the issue of teen alcoholism. At first, you're reading the story and it doesn't sound very unique, but then Elisa Dane takes you down the road of teen alcoholism, how teens are affected by it, how it changes people's lives. She starts revealing secrets, Bodie's secrets, Nev's secrets, and they all build up to that heart breaking ending where Nev almost loses another person she loves due to a drunk teen getting behind the wheel. Ex-Factor is flat out amazing and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys a contemporary with a deeper meaning. The message behind this book was just amazing.

Unbreakable follows Nev's cousin Olivia, aka Livvie. On the outside, Livvie is living the dream. She's got a hot boyfriend, she's part of the Diamond Girls, and she's popular. What more could a girl want? But what other people don't see is that her perfect boyfriend has been taking out his anger and rage on her. She can easily make up the bruises as incidents from cheerleading, but she can't keep it on much longer. Reid Tate is the town's bad boy. He's super drool worthy and has a never ending list of girls who he has fun with. (You know what I mean.) Beneath that hard exterior, is a kid whose been abused by his stepdad for years. One day, he nearly dies from his beatings and probably would have if Livvie didn't call the cops. 

Similar to the Ex-Factor there is a lot of stereotypical elements in the story. From the summary I just gave, I think you all know what I'm talking about so I won't bother going into detail. While Ex-Factor dealt with drinking and driving, Unbreakable deals with abuse in family and romantic relationships. Like the first book, it also holds a ton of rawness and power behind the message that it projects. Livvie and Reid bond over the fact that despite what they show to the outside world, that "person" isn't who they really are. And at the same time, despite being broken from abuse, betrayal, and hurt, they still have their courage and spirit that can't ever be broken.

Okay, so that's my little review on each book. Before I wrap things I up, I want to mention the relationships in each book. Yup, we're talking romance. So for both relationships, it was really cute and touching to see how two people broken in their own way could find a bonding ground between them. For Nev and Brodie, they weren't so different. Both were hiding a past with drinking and driving as well as a grudge toward the world that they use to shroud themselves. For Livvie and Reid, they are complete opposites, but because of the abuse they've both endured, they manage to create a relationship that spites their differences. Also, Reid's got the title of the "bad boy," and for once, Livvie doesn't try to change him. She doesn't go out of her way to make him a "good boy," all she has to do is be herself and Reid pieces the puzzle himself. Instead of Livvie doing the changing, Reid is changing himself because she taught him there are people out there he can trust. 

So, that's a huge review...but in my defense I'm talking two books. Highly recommend both, I really enjoyed both of them immensely and I definitely will be rereading them when I get the chance!

About the Author
I'm a lover of books (YA & Adult romance), chocolate, reality television, and am a proud mother to three All Star cheerleaders. Woot!
I write Contemporary YA romance with cheerleaders. Yep. I write what I know, and it's my hope that my stories will not only take you on a romantic journey that will warm your heart, but that you'll find a new respect and interest in the sport of Cheerleading you may not have had before.

Author Links:
4 out of 5 stars

Foreverly Obsessed,

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