Summary (from the publisher):
In Laguna Beach, California, sixteen-year-old Kendra Dimes is preparing for the 2010 USA Surfing Prime West. She’ll be competing this year in honor of her brother, who was a surfer too, but who died from a drug overdose. Kendra has suffered anxiety attacks ever since her brother’s death, and surfing is what’s been helping her heal.
Brock Parker is the new bad boy at school; he deals drugs to the high school clientele for his parents, who work for a Mexican drug lord. Though Brock and Kendra come from two different worlds, sparks fly when they meet at the homecoming dance—their attraction is magnetic. When they start a game of 21 Questions one night, they begin to learn more about each other—and, surprisingly, about themselves too. But some questions aren’t answered with the whole truth; after all, Brock can’t tell Kendra what his parents do for a living.
As Kendra and Brock experience all of life’s most exciting firsts, they prove that even when life throws you the perfect storm, you can make it through and come out stronger than before. 21 Questions is a coming-of-age journey packed with passion and heartbreak, risk and romance.
My Rating: 3/5 Stars
I’m always up for a YA romance, which led me to Alexandria Rose Rizik’s YA debut, 21 Questions. This indie read takes on the forbidden romance & opposites attract tropes, as rising surfing star, good girl Kendra finds herself entangled with school bad boy, Brock, who is known under-the-radar for being one of the school’s biggest drug dealers.
I binge-read 21 Questions while floating around the pool in one day! You definitely have to suspend your belief going into this book – maybe call me naive, but I couldn’t get over how drug use seems so common in Brock and even Kendra’ social circles, and there is an entire storyline involving Brock and his family working for one of the biggest’s drug dealers on the West Coast. Kendra is VERY much your classic good girl – doesn’t curse or drink – but Brock gets in the way of her athletic goals. I was kind’ve hoping the book didn’t go in this direction, but at the same time, I appreciated that it wasn’t a complete happy-ever-after. The storyline is fast-paced and admittedly pretty predictable, but the ending (pre-epilogue) actually wasn’t what I was expecting. I think my favorite part of the book comes from the title’s inspiration, as Brock and Kendra often play 21 questions (where they ask each other random questions about their lives) to get to know each other more.
21 Questions is not a book I would normally not pick up on my own – the writing style is pretty simple and sometimes melodramatic considering the subject matter surrounding drugs drinking, and sex – but there was something about it that made me want to keep reading and find out what happened next. I do wish we got more about Kendra’s interest in surfing, but the main focus of the book is definitely her romance with Brock. The book does delve into both character’s family lives, as Kendra’s older brother died from a drug overdoes years prior and Brock’s family makes their living from drug dealing.
Overall, if you’re someone who is into opposite attracts romance and looking for an under-the-radar, mature YA romance with heavy themes, check out 21 Questions.
21 Questions comes out on August 3, 2021.
This review is based on an advance reader copy provided by the publisher. By no means did receiving this ARC affect my thoughts & opinions.
Is 21 Questions on your TBR? What are some of your favorite YA romances? Best opposites attract books? Share in the comments!