Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Blog Tour: Arrows + GIVEAWAY

Title: Arrows
Author: Melissa Gorzelanczyk
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: January 26, 2016
Source: eARC via Edelweiss
A modern cupid story set in present-day Wisconsin combining the fantastical elements of Greek mythology with the contemporary drama of MTV's Teen Mom.

People don’t understand love. If they did, they’d get why dance prodigy Karma Clark just can’t say goodbye to her boyfriend, Danny. No matter what he says or does or how he hurts her, she can’t stay angry with him . . . and can’t stop loving him. But there’s a reason why Karma is helpless to break things off: she’s been shot with a love arrow.

Aaryn, son of Cupid, was supposed to shoot both Karma and Danny but found out too late that the other arrow in his pack was useless. And with that, Karma’s life changed forever. One pregnancy confirmed. One ballet scholarship lost. And dream after dream tossed to the wind.

A clueless Karma doesn’t know that her toxic relationship is Aaryn’s fault . . . but he’s going to get a chance to make things right. He’s here to convince Danny to man up and be there for Karma. But what if this god from Mount Olympus finds himself falling in love with a beautiful dancer from Wisconsin who can never love him in return?

This fast-paced debut novel explores the internal & external conflicts of a girl who finds herself inexplicably drawn to a boy who seemingly doesn't reciprocate her feelings, touching on the issues of love, sex and responsibility, with a heroine struggling to control her destiny--perfect for fans of Katie McGarry's novels and MTV’s 16 and Pregnant.

My Review

It's not too often that I read books about mythology and Gods and Goddesses. It's not that don't enjoy them or the stories; they just aren't my number one priority. Actually, aside from what mythology I've read in high school and college, I haven't read that much in the genre. That little fact really didn't really bother me or sway me from reading this book when I saw the synopsis for Melissa Gorzelanczyk's debut novel, Arrows. I thought it looked like a cute YA romance book that I'd be able to read quickly and enjoy.

One year after Aaryn and his mentor, Phoebe, lie about him passing his final exam to become a god on Mount Olympus, his father, Cupid, finds out about his mistake and gives him a second chance. Instead of stripping him of his god status and condemning him to life as a mortal, he allows his son to go to Earth for ninety days to repair the damage that he's done to Karma and Danny's relationship. In the year that's passed since Aaryn was supposed to shoot both Karma and Danny with arrows, Karma has had a baby girl, and Danny hasn't been the best boyfriend to her. Aaryn has a lot to do in a short amount of time!

To be honest, I was expecting a lot more drama in this book, especially considering it's about a teenage mother, but I was pleasantly surprised with a lot of fluff. I was pleased with the fact that there wasn't a of drama, but then again, it might have taken away from the reality of the situation. What I can say is that Gorzelanczyk brings a good amount of balance by including a minimal amount of family drama and a multi-layered plot. The book is quick to read, and there are a lot of cute scenes that contemporary readers will enjoy.

The three main characters in the book are Karma, Danny, and Aaryn. I mentioned earlier that Aaryn was sent to Earth to ensure that Karma and Danny fell in love, but he only had one arrow, and things went haywire. There's kind of a love triangle thing going on here, but then again, there's kind of not. There are just too many loose ends and unrequited feelings for me to consider it a true love triangle.

As far as characters go, I liked Karma. Before she got pregnant, she was on track to be a star ballerina, having attended a prestigious school in New York City. She went back home to Lakewood, Wisconsin to save up for another semester, but found herself in a relationship with Danny. She's a very dedicated dancer, and readers will be able to tell just how passionate she is about dance and her potential scholarship. She's also very dedicated to and in love with Danny. Because Danny was never hit with the matching arrow, he doesn't return those feelings of love for Karma. Instead of loving and caring, he's inconsiderate. He's definitely got a lot more growing up to do, especially because he's a father. And then there's Aaryn. During his time on Earth, he meets and spends time with Karma and her friends and family. He starts falling in love with her, and he becomes confused about what he really wants to do. Does he want to fix things and stay a God or does he want to remain on Earth with Karma? 

There are also some minor characters in the book. Many of these characters are Karma's friends and her fellow dancers. I liked them and their roles in the book, but I wanted just a little more! To be honest, I feel like Gorzelanczyk didn't really give them enough time to shine, and I think that just a little more really would have brought this up to a four-star book for me.

I was kind of disappointed that a lot of the problems that teen mothers and fathers face were glossed over in this book. Yes, Ms. Gorzelanczyk mentions that it's hard on Karma to raise a baby. Yes, she mentions that Karma and her mother are tired from taking care of a baby. Money and issues of child support are brought up during the course of the novel, but that's kind of it. These real issues are mentioned, but they aren't really explored to their full potential. It would have been nice to see Gorzelanczyk explore these issues a little more so that the teens who read this are aware of the responsibilities of having a child when you're still in high school.

Arrows alternates between two different character's points of view. During some chapters, Aaryn narrates to tell his side of the story to the readers. It's kind of cool to see him transition from his immortal life on Mount Olympus to human life on Earth. He makes mistakes, but he also makes friends. The book is also narrated by Karma. During her side of the story, readers are able to see her parent her daughter, Nell, and deal with the drama of teen motherhood and dance competitions. Although the two characters have very similar voices, I was able to keep them separated. They were just different enough so I didn't have to check to see who was narrating, but it would have been nice to see some differences in their voice and style.

Out of everything in the book, I really enjoyed the dance scenes that Gorzelanczyk includes. There are quite a few rehearsals, but there are also some scenes that show the girls just having fun and mimicking some of their favorite movie scenes. I don't know if Ms. Gorzelanczyk was a dancer, but if not, a reader wouldn't be able to tell. She includes a lot of the French dance terminology, and I could actually see the dances in my head as I was reading them. 

All in all, Arrows is a solid debut by Melissa Gorzelanczyk. She's weaved together mythology and contemporary fiction to bring readers an entertaining tale of love gone wrong. This book would be a great place to start for readers who aren't familiar with mythology because it's not too heavy in the tales, but I also think readers of contemporary fiction will really enjoy this book. I'd recommend it to fans of Grier Cooper's YA novel, Wish and TV shows like 16 & Pregnant, Teen Mom, and The Secret Life of the American Teenager

Melissa Gorzelanczyk is a young adult author who believes love is everything. A dreamer for life, Melissa has been writing books since she was nine years old, when she penned her first story about a beloved black horse. She is a member of the SCBWI and The Sweet Sixteens. She lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin with her husband and two teenage children, one of whom is named after a Greek goddess.



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Blog Tour Hosted by Tika @ Fangirl Confessions

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