Book Reviews: Ride or Die

Ride or Die
by James Newman

Do you remember where you were, what you were doing, or your age when you first realized that your parents weren’t perfect? Perhaps one day you discovered that your parents’ marriage wasn’t everything you thought that it was.

Maybe you saw or heard one or both of your parents do or say something that was just as wrong as two left shoes. Well by the time you’re an adult these sorts of revelations are probably old news.

Once you’ve been spinning around the planet for more than a few decades you have probably accepted, ruefully or otherwise, that most humans are mixtures of good and evil, and generally somewhere between saints and sinners. After all as an experienced adult you’ve likely made your own share of mistakes or morally dubious decisions.
And if you’re a Christian are you not commanded to judge not lest you be judged and to worry first about the beam in your own eye before criticizing the speck of dust in someone else’s? Indeed so.

But children don’t have the years of experience or wider perspective needed to be sanguine about the moral failings of others, especially not those of their parents. Children tend not to do nuance all that well.¬†Amelia Fletcher is a high school sophomore.¬†Amelia’s father is an insurance executive; her mother is a nurse.

Amelia has had her first boyfriend, though they haven’t done THAT thing yet. And they never will since Amelia just dumped her boyfriend.
Amelia found the young man insufficiently attentive and possibly unfaithful. But Amelia has bigger problems.
Amelia’s father likes to work in the garage on his classic car on hot summer nights. Amelia sleeps with her window open during those times.

And it’s on such a night that Amelia overhears her father on his cell phone whispering naughty words to a woman who is most definitely not Amelia’s mother.
Amelia hacks into her father’s phone and Facebook account and finds evidence of her father’s affair, including pictures that were obviously not meant for a daughter’s eyes.
Feeling betrayed, hurt, disgusted, and above all outraged, Amelia decides to track down her father’s mistress and exact some payback. To this end she recruits her best friends Cassie and Folline. Cassie and Folline have got Amelia’s back. They are, per book title, ride or die friends.

The girls’ plan is to roll up to this homewrecker’s house and f*** things up, including maybe the homewrecker if she’s there. At the very least the girls intend to put sugar in the woman’s vehicle’s gas tank, paint “whore” all over her home, destroy her clothing, you know the normal procedure in these situations.

But it turns out that Amelia and her friends have blindly inserted themselves into a situation which is far beyond anything they could have anticipated. And they will definitely have serious regrets before the night is over. At under 100 pages, this bare bones story was a very quick read. The characters are swiftly but skillfully drawn. This is probably not a book for sensitive people, but I liked it. Much of the book is dialogue instead of description. There’s not a whole lot of character details or character growth. It’s all about what happens on that one night.