Book Review: On the Edge

On the Edge
Published By: HarperCollins
Publication Date: November 25, 2014
Page Count: 304
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via Edelweiss
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary

I'm not typically a reader who will pick up a novel about gang violence, but the comparison to Simone Elkeles made me linger over this one until I decided to give it a chance. Luckily, my gamble paid off and On The Edge joins my other 2014 favorites.

Maddie Diaz has lived in Miami all of her life; she knows about the violence and gangs that lurk within her city, but they have never directly touched her life. One fateful night will turn Maddie's world upside down and thrust her smack in the middle of Miami's dangerous underground.

I loved that Maddie was different from most of her friends. They were more concerned with boys and partying, but Maddie has a good head on her shoulders. She has big goals and a bright future, but her decision to intervene when two gang members attack a homeless man in the park muddies the waters of her life. I admired Maddie for standing up for someone who couldn't fight for himself. It was a terrifying and vivid moment in the story and I can only hope I would have had the courage to step in like Maddie. This one moment becomes the turning point for Maddie; I loved watching her evolve throughout the course of the story.

In addition to being a big fan of Maddie, I loved the romance in this one. It's swoon worthy and epic. I don't want to ruin anything, but her love interest is sure to become your next Book Boyfriend. This is the walk through fire sort of love. These two will truly do anything to be together and keep one another safe.

I also enjoyed that there was a strong emphasis on friendship in this novel. Some of Maddie's friendships are mature like the one she has with Julia, but some of them are still fairly immature like the one she has with Iz. I felt like this was an excellent example of the growing pains of the transition from high school life to college life. Iz has always been Maddie's best friend and she can't handle the fact that Maddie will be moving on once senior year ends. There were moments I felt sorry for Iz, but for the most part I found her annoying. I much preferred the friendship between Maddie and Julia. A lot of this story centers on Maddie being on the edge of adulthood; I felt that added a realistic layer to the story.

In addition to the female friendships, I was also drawn to the friendship between Maddie and Manny, her co-worker at McDonalds. Manny's flirtatious banter made me smile and it was obvious that he had a thing for Maddie. It was nice that he kept it plutonic when he realized that her affections were aimed at another target. He never tried to interfere in her romantic relationship, but made it clear that he would always be there for her if she needed him. I liked that Manny is the ultimate friend in the ending chapters. He shows that some people can change their lives for the better. I think we all need a friend as loyal as Manny.

I still don't think I'm the sort of reader who will gravitate towards books with violent undertones, but I am glad I made an exception for this one. I can't imagine living in a place that is so dangerous, but I had to applaud the courage of Maddie and the Destinos. Not many people would be able to stand up for what's right in the face of such brutality.  I saw Lobo and the rest of the Destinos as Arrow like characters. They wanted to right the wrongs that had been done against people of their city. It's heartbreaking to think about these situations happening in real life. 

On The Edge will give you heart palpitations of both the good and nerve wracking variety. There were moments when I cheered and moments when I felt like the anxiety would overwhelm me. I was glued to my Kindle and the edge of my seat from the 60% on mark. I couldn't put the novel down. The twist at the end also caused my mouth to fly open. I never saw that coming. If you're a fan of the Fuentes brothers or are looking for a realistic, gritty romance - you must pick this one up.

On word of caution, this is certainly a novel I wouldn't recommend to younger teens. There is violence, language, innuendo, and teen drinking.

P.S. - I also just saw on the author's website that Eric and Julia are characters in one of her other novels, Snitch. That one is going on my TBR list. I loved those two and want to know more about their backstory.

P.P.S. - Allison is working on a companion novel to this one. I am ecstatic!

One Last Gripe: Carmen seemed like an unnecessary character. 

Favorite Thing About This Book: The romance - sigh

First Sentence: "How are we celebrating tonight?"

Favorite Character: Maddie

Least Favorite Character: Salazar

From Allison van Diepen, author of Snitch and Street Pharm, comes a sexy, dangerous novel about a teen who witnesses a murder and gets caught up in the seedy world of Miami’s gangs.

Maddie Diaz never should have taken that shortcut through the park. If she hadn't, she wouldn't have seen two members of the Reyes gang attacking a homeless man. Now, as the only witness, she knows there’s a target on her back. 

But when the Reyes jump her on the street, Maddie is protected by a second gang and their secretive leader, Lobo, who is determined to take down the Reyes himself. Lobo is mysterious and passionate, and Maddie begins to fall for him. But when they live this close to the edge, can their love survive?

On the Edge is a compelling story about fighting for what’s right and figuring out where you belong. The novel showcases a gritty, realistic voice and earth–shattering romance that will intrigue readers of Simone Elkeles and Paul Griffin and captivate fans of Allison van Diepen's other novels.


  1. I definitely agree with you on not liking stories with so much violence in them. It's kind of how I feel about movies with A LOT of violence. I cringe inwardly and outwardly because it just makes me uncomfortable. But ever since I read the synopsis for On The Edge, I too knew I had to make an exception. The story just sounds amazing and I love a guy character who is set on protecting his girl :D Great review Andrea!

    1. It is well worth the exception. You will adore Lobo!

  2. I am so freaking stoked to read this one. It was my WoW a couple weeks ago. Maddie sounds like a heroine I will really like, one with a good head on her shoulders! I'm so glad you loved it! November has so many great book releases!

    1. Maddie is awesome. She's smart, driven, and not easily swayed by a pretty face. It was nice to see a girl with some backbone driving the story.


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