On the Edge – Allison Van Diepen

ontheedgeOne of my favourite YA tropes is bad boy/good girl. I can’t seem to get enough of it, really, and if there’s a heaping helping of angst thrown in, well, it doesn’t really get much better than that. Allison Van Diepen’s novel On the Edge seemed like it might have the goods, but it was only just okay.

Maddie Diaz is headed for college on a full scholarship. She lives with her single mother, works part time at McDonald’s and has a posse of good girlfriends.

One night after work she’s cutting through the park on her way home when she witnesses to members of the Reyes gang kicking the crap out of a homeless guy, someone everyone in the neighbourhood knows by name. She does the right thing and identifies the guys, but that means that her own life is in danger.

Enter Lobo, tall, dark, handsome and mysterious. After Maddie gets jumped, Lobo swoops in to rescue her and sparks fly.

He wore a black bandanna over his face. That couldn’t be a good thing – I should be scared of him, shouldn’t I? But I wasn’t. I knew that I was safe. I felt it in the gentle way he was supporting my head.

To complicate things, there’s also Maddie’s growing attraction to Ortiz, the guy who works at the local convenience store and is unbelievably hot with his “unruly black hair…chiseled, clean-shaven face.”

There’s nothing really wrong with On the Edge, but it doesn’t really break any new ground, either. The characters are mostly stereotypes; Maddie has a vein of heroism; Lobo is more than he seems, including seeming way older than 19.

I wouldn’t dissuade students from reading this book, but as for scratching my bad boy/good girl itch, it didn’t quite fit the bill.