Rich high school kid Aaron and his friends stumble upon the aftermath of a bank robbery in their small town. After narrowly escaping from the robbers, Aaron takes off with the money and ends up running for his life at his high school with his young/cute English teacher in tow.
First off, I would say that the cover for this book is really deceptive. Since it’s cartoonish you might think that it’s a book aimed at younger MG kids. It’s definitely not. There is sufficient violence and swearing in it to put it squarely into YA territory. It’s also more of a novella than an actual novel, clocking in at plus or minus 150 pages.
It’s important to know going in that this book is adapted from a screenplay, and it definitely shows. There is basically zero character development. People just are who they are and act how they act, period. If this bothers you in general it will affect your enjoyment of the book. Quite honestly this is something that would normally bother me endlessly, but for two things: A) I knew going in that it was adapted from a screenplay so I kind of figured that character development would be minimal; and B) I saw the length of the book and figured that back story and world building were going to be sacrificed. Thus, I was able to overlook it. This does make it an extremely fast read – even for a short book – because there’s zero “fluff”. The book is all business and every action taken by the characters is done in order to move the plot forward.
There are also some grammatical mistakes/spelling issues/formatting problems, but I’m always more forgiving of those kinds of things when something is self-published (and most of the formatting stuff is prob because of the ebook file). It’s only when big publishing houses make egregious mistakes that I go into full-on Godzilla city smashing ragecakes. I don’t want to give the impression that there are tons of mistakes because there really aren’t, but there are some for sure, so that’s just something to be aware of if you’re really persnickety.
It’s a good central plot and I’d really like to see what could be done with it if the characters were fleshed out and events were given more time to develop. As it stands, the book is basically one long climax – literally there is action from about page five right up until the end. Aaron is a likeable protagonist and it would be nice to more about his life, his complex relationship with his dad, etc.
Some kid from Twilight named Booboo has been cast as Aaron in the movie version. I’m unfamiliar with him but the fact that his name is awesome is almost enough to make me overlook the fact that he’s in the Twilight movies. Anyway, his presence will no doubt attract gaggles of young girls but I’ll be curious to see how they go about making this one PG-13 as opposed to R. Even if they cut a lot of the swearing there really is quite a bit of violence.
While checking out the website (pinevilleheist.com) I noticed that you can download the book free until 2/5, so if you’re curious you might want to pick it up while it’s free. I believe it’s .99 on Amazon as well.
Overall I liked it. I do think that I’d prefer the movie version, actually, just because of the abrupt nature of a book based on a screenplay. The bones of the story are really good, I just wish it had had more meat.
3.5/5 – Even Steven and a Half
**Disclaimer – this book was provided to me free of charge by the author in exchange for an honest review.