The Blacktop Kings Review!!!
Loved it! 😍
This page-turner leads you through a grungy world of secrets and surprises, seen through the eyes of a teenage girl who loves BMX.
Let me start by saying that I picked this book up on a whim, a long-shot. I received the request from Carter, and I wasn't too sure about it. I do enjoy reading YA, but its been a while since I tackled a purely contemporary YA book (although based on the time period this is set in, I don't know that I can call it contemporary, lol).
What finally convinced me to press the "accept" button was the preview that Carter had uploaded into Reedsy. It starts off with this gorgeous, and mind you, hilarious line. "Liza, you need to get your shit together. You can’t just get this tanked at someone’s house party even if they are your friend.” Amy, that's not even that special of a line. Well, maybe not to you, BUT it made me chuckle and, knowing it was YA, it automatically set in my mind that Liza was going to be the kind of rebellious, snarky character that I enjoy reading about.
And I wasn't wrong! I absolutely devoured this book over the weekend. You've got this majestically woven network of secrets and the frighteningly real, grungy world of Lexington, Kentucky. It's a very immersive environment that Carter has glued together using words. The book gave me Outsider's vibes (you know, SE Hinton) because of how gritty everything is, including the characters. Each one is a creation all their own, even the characters that you want to choke because their being teenage idiots. Everything is so well-rounded.
As far as plot goes, I feel like I answered this already. Every page kept pushing me forward. I was reading way past my bedtime, sneaking up early in the morning to read, and multitasking like no one's business. I HAD to know what Liza's secret was. I needed to know how they were going to get Trinity to fess up to his crime. Were the Blacktop Kings going to win? What would happen if they did? There was just enough suspense to label this as "page-turner."
Now, I've raved enough. Time for my trademark one complaint. I'll try to do it without spoiling the entire book.
Liza's secret was a point of mystery for me through out most of the book. She kept musing about who to tell first and how to really let it out. Looking back, I should have seen it coming, but I didn't. When Carter finally reveals what she's been holding onto, I was actually a bit disappointed. I felt that it was too hyped up for such a secret. I am happy that it was revealed. I'm glad that Liza was able to find a safe place and flourish with this newfound identity. At the same time, though, this book didn't feel like that sort of story. Looking back, I understand why she was nervous and held it in so long; the book isn't set in our current year. Still, though, I was a bit disappoint that her secret was that. I wanted it to be much, much more.
All around, an excellent book and very much worth a read! Thank you so much, Carter, for giving me the opportunity to review it.