Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Review of Addicted to Her by Janet Nichols Lynch

Addicted to Her by Janet Nichols Lynch; Holiday House, 2010.

Rafa is a junior and a member of the high school wrestling team. His dream is to win at the state meet and get a college scholarship based on his wrestling abilities. However, that all changes when he hooks up with beautiful, voluptuous Monique, who has no ambitions and only likes to party and have a good time. Jesus, who has been the only father-figure Rafa has ever known, lives with his mother, brother, and sister. Unfortunately, Jesus is an illegal immigrant from El Salvador and speaks almost no English. Jesus is a kind and loving man, but Rafa is embarrassed by him and cannot figure out what his mother sees in him. Rafa sees things differently when he hears the story of how Jesus fled from El Salvador. Shortly thereafter, Jesus is falsely accused of being in a notorious, terrorist gang and is taken away by I.C.E. in the middle of the night. His “family” is determined to bring him home, and focus on ways to achieve their goal.

When I started reading Addicted to Her, I did not think that I would like it. However, it was actually quite good and a very quick read. The effect that beautiful, bad Monique has on impressionable Rafa is astonishing. He goes from being squeaky-clean and responsible to lying and lazy; the contrast is like night and day. Rafa is so blinded by love and lust that he cannot see what this trashy girl is doing to him. There is a hilarious scene in the book in which Monique brings Rafa to her parents’ house. In the scene, the reader discovers that Monique’s parents are just as trite and self-absorbed as she is! It’s no wonder she’s so messed up! Contrasting with Monique’s parents, are Rafa’s good, hardworking mother and her common-law husband. They are very proud, honest, and loving. Two side plots are going on during the story. One deals with Rafa’s younger brother, who is having trouble obeying the law and his family’s rules. The other story deals with the problem of Jesus and illegal immigration. Jesus’ story about leaving El Salvador is both riveting and compelling!

There is a smattering of Spanish throughout the book, but it is translated into English. Unfortunately, the message about illegal immigration does become preachy at times, which was a drawback to the story. I recommend it to high school and public libraries.