Monday, March 26, 2018

REVIEW: "The Trail Rules" by Melanie Hooyenga (YA Romance)

by Melanie Hooyenga

Genre: Young Adult, Romance
Publication Date: March 9th 2018

Series: The Rules Series, #2
Standalone: Yes

High school, sports (mountain biking), love triangle, finding yourself
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Description from Publisher:

Junior year’s looking up for sixteen-year old Mike. Her new BFF isn’t a sadistic control freak, her boyfriend adores her, and she’s learning to bike in the mountains without decapitating herself on a tree.

Well, almost.

When she meets a group of riders who welcome her into their pack, she feels like she’s finally found where she belongs. One particular rider—a boy with an amazing smile and an even more amazing ability to see what she’s truly capable of—gives her the confidence to go after what she wants: her own life with her own rules.

There’s only one problem—he’s not her boyfriend.

Just as things seem to be falling into place, her parents put on the pressure to figure out her future—one that doesn’t include riding. Mike soon realizes that having everything isn’t that great when she’s not the one choosing it. She needs to decide if she’s going to continue to be a follower or step out of the shadows and find her own trail.

My Rating:
Heat Rating:

This was a cute YA romance, with a fun cast of characters. Mike, our heroine, is a confused 16-year-old who is trying to figure out exactly what she wants to do with her life. She is dating Evan, essentially her first love, and meets a group of new friends when adopting the hobby of mountain biking. Part of that new group is Mica, a boy who catches her interest. She is also dealing with having moved on from her "mean girl" friend, Brianna.

This is standalone, but I would really recommend reading the first book, The Slope Rules, to get the backstory to this one.

So this is basically a love triangle story. The first half sort of dragged for me and had me a bit confused myself, as Mike just sort of glides through her non-committal life. There are several make-out sessions and some sweet moments with Evan, which felt a bit pointless. I had a sense of what was to come, so didn't really feel engaged until the last half.

There was also a LOT of teenage angst in the first half, and some awkward "Oh, ha, accidental innuendo! I'm so embarrassed" moments. It still felt genuine most of the time, but definitely very high school.

I was intrigued by Brianna and hope that there is a continuation so that we get more of her story. As it is, we are left with a big question mark when it comes to her.

I appreciated the "I don't know what to do with my life" aspect as being appropriate for the target audience. I do wish there had been a little more resolution though. Things speed up and then just sort of stop.

All in all, a fun YA romance! Definitely a great read for anyone who likes to read romance with sports (the mountain biking aspect was my favorite part).

My Source: I received a digital ARC from the publisher to voluntarily review. This in no way influenced my review. My opinion is unbiased and my 100% own.

About the Author: Melanie Hooyenga
Multi-award winning young adult author Melanie Hooyenga first started writing as a teenager and finds she still relates best to that age group. She has lived in Washington DC, Chicago, and Mexico, but has finally settled down in her home state of Michigan.

When not at her day job as the Communications Director at a nonprofit, you can find Melanie attempting to wrangle her Miniature Schnauzer Owen and playing every sport imaginable with her husband Jeremy.
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