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  • Writer's pictureLafourche Parish Public Library

Brooke's Pick: The Pick-Up by Miranda Kenneally

When Mari and her stepsister Sierra share a ride to a music festival with two brothers, T.J. and Tyler, Mari and T.J. are instantly attracted to each other, but Mari is only in Chicago for a weekend with her father's new family, and eventually she will have to return to her increasingly abusive mother - unless she can overcome her reservations about dating and maybe arrange to stay in Chicago permanently.

I'll be the first to admit that I didn't think I would like Miranda Kenneally's new YA novel The Pick-Up as much as I did. I've never read a Kenneally book before and didn't know what to expect, but figured this book to be written in typical YA-fashion with characters that aren't quite believable and true-to-life (Don't you find that protagonists in YA novels always seem to have it waaaay more together than we adults do? Who had this extraordinary amount of insight as a teenager? Certainly not me!) So I was pleasantly surprised to not only learn that The Pick-Up is engaging and interesting, but also features relatable characters grappling with real emotions and problems.

The premise of The Pick-Up is pretty simple. Mari, a Tennessee native, is in Chicago for the Lollapalooza festival, while also visiting her dad who now lives on Chicago's Gold Coast. She is headed to the event with her stepsister Sierra when, to save money, they pick-up brothers, TJ and Tyler, in their rideshare. Mari immediately catches TJ's eye, and she has to admit, the attraction is mutual. When the two decide to hang out together at the festival, they have no idea that it is the start of an epic weekend that will change their lives forever.

There's a lot to like about The Pick-Up, but I loved Mari and TJ and their relationship the most. I found both of these characters to be authentic and realistic, and more similar to your typical teenager than most YA books write them to be. But as much as I liked their characters separately, I absolutely adored them together! Their new "insta-love" relationship is cute and quirky, and I loved how they interacted with each other. Although this book takes place over a short period of time - one weekend - Kenneally gives her characters the space they need to get to know one another without ever letting the narrative get dull or insipid. I loved how, along with learning about each other's personalities and preferences, Mari and TJ also later address real issues in their lives, such as dealing with Mari's parents' divorce and her mother's subsequent anger issues, as well as TJ feeling coerced to live the life his parents are choosing for him instead of pursing his dream.

Love aside, The Pick-Up also has a really fun setting and storyline! The book starts out at the high-energy and exciting Lollapalooza festival and later moves on to a variety of famous locales around Chicago. Kenneally brings Chicago to life in this novel, immersing us in the festival, while also exposing us to the sights and sounds of The Windy City. I also loved how she kept the pace of this book moving - it is only 250 pages long - journeying seamlessly from one event to the next without ever losing my interest or confusing me in the process.

Give The Pick-Up a try if you like fast-paced, concise YA novels that feature appealing, original characters and an engaging story that takes place in a vibrant setting.

Availability: Book

Rating: ***** Stars (I loved it) Reviewer: Brooke, Public Relations Librarian



GENRE: Contemporary Romances TONE: Angst-Filled; Romantic STORYLINE: Character-Driven WRITING STYLE: Engaging LOCATION: Chicago, Illinois

SUBJECT: Abusive Women; Blended Families; Car Pools; Dating; Dysfunctional Families; Family Problems; Interpersonal Attraction; Love; Men-Women Relations; Mothers & Daughters; Respect; Ridesharing; Seventeen-Year-Old Girls; Sexual Consent; Teenage Artists; Teenage Boy/Girl Relations; Teenage Romance; Teenagers; Virgins


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