I've been wary with NA and YA books lately. Lots of similar and mediocre stories. Recently my best reads in those genres have come from Indie Authors and I have discovered couple of really good authors by taking chance on reading outside mainstream publishers.
Girls Love Travis Walker has won National Indie Excellence Award 2013 and had some great reviews, so I put aside all my bestsellers in waiting and picked it up.
Honestly, I expected the book to be another bad-boy-falls-for-good-girl, insta-love-sort-of-story and easy, fluffy read. Oh boy, was I wrong.
I did not expect this book suck me in and tell me a story that makes me look at some things in life differently and I certainly didn't expect it to be an unputdownable read.
So, yeah, there is a reason why girls love Travis Walker and as I'm also a girl, I can't help but love him, too. It's not just his undeniable charm and good looks, but the determination and strong will to become somebody and fight the really crappy circumstances, tough luck and bad background.
Travis refuses to give up and become a looser, so he fights. He fights to find help for his sick mother, he fights to find a job and pay rent, he fights to stay in a program of learning to do something he really loves. All odds against him, he almost breaks and becomes one of those homeless people we all have seen looking for food in dumpsters and living in a cardboard box.
Travis's story shows us the other side of becoming a homeless person. There is so much prejudice, pointless assumptions and overwhelming bureaucracy that most people caught in the middle of all this never get a chance, they just break and give in and end up on the streets. You can run against the brick wall only for so long.
Of course there is also a love story. In the middle of all the hardship, Travis finally looks behind the pretty face and starts to value different treats in a girl. Such as kindness and compassion and loyalty. It takes time and it's not easy for him to trust another person, open up and ask for help.
Author has done a really good job in telling the story. Despite the difficult subject matter and many adversities, this book manages to stay positive and avoid the all embracing angst and overflowing emotions so typical for NA and YA novels these days. It is also considerably closer to a “clean romance” than the majority of books in those genres.
All in all, a great story from an Indie Author to watch, great characters and maybe a small life lesson to learn for all of us fortunate people.