Book Review: The Lonesome Young

The Lonesome Young
Published By: Razorbill
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
Page Count: 336
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary

I originally was over the moon excited about reading this one: a Kentucky feud, a family with criminal connections, starcrossed lovers - sign me up! My enthusiasm began to wane a bit when I saw some of the mediocre ratings on Goodreads. I should have trusted my first instinct and read this one when I originally purchased it in April. I ended up loving The Lonesome Young and I cannot wait to have the next installment in my hands.

The Lonesome Young focuses on the romance of Victoria Whitfield and Mickey Rhodale. The two face their fair share of problems - mainly a decades long feud between their two families. Nobody wants to see these two together, but I couldn't help rooting for them. I loved them both! I also enjoyed the rotating chapters so I could get both perspectives. It's nice to be able to roam around more than one character's consciousness.

Victoria is ripped from her Connecticut boarding school and forced to return home to Kentucky after financial trouble forces her family to move in with her grandmother who owns a successful horse farm in the country. Victoria doesn't know what to expect from the town or its residents, but she knows it will be nothing like what she was used to at boarding school or in Louisville. To make matters worse, Victoria's family is self destructing before her eyes: her parents are on the road to divorce, the family is drained of financial resources, and her older sister is quickly becoming an addict. Victoria is left to clean up the pieces each time someone makes a mess in their lives. As a result, Victoria has grown up quickly. I was sad that her childhood wasn't a pleasant one, but I did admire her strength and resiliency. 

In addition, I admired and respected Mickey as well. He hasn't always been given a fair shake due to the actions of his brothers and father. Mickey is seen as a violent troublemaker. He is never given the benefit of the doubt and often suffers because of the choices his family makes. My heart broke each time Mickey was treated unfairly because he is a good guy; he only wants to protect those he cares about from harm. Mickey helps me to remember not to judge a book by its cover (or its relatives). I have always been drawn to the misunderstood, bad boy types in fiction. I loved watching this character evolve over the course of the story.

The emphasis on familiar relationships in this novel struck a chord with me. Most of the relationships are dysfunctional in many ways, but there are also others that serve as positive models. The relationship between Mickey and his mother as well as the one between Victoria and her grandmother stand out in my mind because they are supportive and loving. These are the sort of relationships that I admire. The older women support the younger person even when they don't agree with their decisions. That is something I find hard to do in my own life, but seeing it play out so beautifully in fiction inspires me to make more of an effort.

Lastly, I was swept away by the romance in this one. There were some rough patches that made me cringe, but overall I was lost to the rolling hills of Kentucky and these two courageous, stubborn youths. I thought this one was going to end on a cliffhanger, but thankfully Connors didn't do that to her readers. There is closure, but this story is far from over.

One Last Gripe: The back and forth between Victoria and Mickey gave me emotional whiplash. It also felt repetitive.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: I liked the feud and found the darker elements of the story to help it stand apart from other contemporary romances.

First Sentence: Sometimes even other people's failures can taste like shame in the back of your throat.

Favorite Character: It's a tie between Mickey and Victoria.

Least Favorite Character: Anna Mae

Get swept away in the first book of the sensational romantic drama that is Romeo & Juliet meets Justified.

WHAT HAPPENS when the teenage heirs of two bitterly FEUDING FAMILIES can’t stay away from each other?

The Rhodales and the Whitfields have been sworn enemies for close on a hundred years, with a whole slew of adulterous affairs, financial backstabbing, and blackmailing that’s escalated the rivalry to its current state of tense ceasefire.


And now a meth lab explosion in rural Whitfield County is set to reignite the feud more viciously than ever before. Especially when the toxic fire that results throws together two unlikely spectators—proper good girl Victoria Whitfield, exiled from boarding school after her father’s real estate business melts down in disgrace, and town motorcycle rebel Mickey Rhodale, too late as always to thwart his older brothers’ dangerous drug deals.

Victoria and Mickey are about to find out the most passionate romances are the forbidden ones.

. . . ON A POWDER KEG FULL OF PENT-UP DESIRE, risk-taking daredevilry, and the desperate actions that erupt when a generation of teens inherits nothing but hate.