Book Review: Downtown Boy by Laura Battanyl-Petose
Title: Downtown Boy
Author: Laura Battanyl-Petose
What's it about?
Alex is seventeen years old, tough, strong girl of the suburbs. Russell is a nineteen year old with a painful past, a little sister he adores, a father who works a lot and dreams of theatrical life. And their lives are about to collide!
When the two first me, it's nothing less then impactful and they both know that this is only the beginning of something so much bigger, but their journey's anything but smooth. As Alex falls in love with the city boy, she is faced with opposition on all sides as she maneuvers her way among budding relationships between Russell and his little sister while pushing herself and her parents outside of their comfort zone all at the same time.
Favorite Character: My favorite character is Alex. She's strong, witty, smart and she gives people a chance but she's human. She has flaws. She has insecurities, fears and weaknesses. I like that she doesn't conform because someone said so.
Least Favorite Character: Mrs. Finnegan wins this hands down, though I'm not a huge fan of Jill, either. Mrs. Finnegan is the mother of Alex's twin friends Jill and Corey and she nosey, bitter and overflowing with judgement (and some of those characteristics have absolutely rubbed off on Jill). The nosey I could write of as a quirk and, hey, I like quirky characters but it's the judgement that I can not overlook! I know that this book is copywrite dated at 1993, which means that Mrs. Finnegan is from a different time. I can even understand and cut her some slack because of it, but none of this excuses her cruel actions and her lack of considerations for consequences and how her actions could hurt those around her.
Favorite Part: There were moments more then parts that I enjoyed, interactions between Alex and those around her but my favorite may have been the part where she's sitting in the parking lot, yelling at Jill in her jeep. It felt like a cathartic moment full of insight and unexpected wisdom.
Least Favorite Part: The night Alex misses her curfew. I did not like the way her parents reacted. Don't get me wrong, she deserved to be have consequences, but I stopped agreeing with her parent when they refused to listen to anything Alex had to say and blamed everything on Russell. It reminded me that, as parents, we have some bad habits of placing blame on others instead of our children when at all possible and taking correlation as proof rather then looking further. The emotions that Alex expressed were not because of Russell, rather things she was already experiencing. Russell and her relationship with him just added a need to act upon those emotions. That doesn't mean that what she feels isn't real or legitimate.
My first experience with this book was many years ago in Intermediate School. I read it many times. It's one of my first romance novels, and one of the first I read again and again. This time (unlike some others that have recently emerged from the vault of my Intermediate Days), it wasn't so bad. I found it humorous. It was a cute story and I still respected that, at it's heart, it's about two very different people who come together even while those in their respective worlds don't understand why. I respected that Alex looked beyond the guy everyone referred to as a criminal to get to know him.
While this book is a pretty short read and isn't filled with deep, meaningful romantic scenes. It's not filled with countless mature characters and super insightful moments. It's just a simple, sweet story of two kids coming together. It just is what it is. The characters range from fun to ignorant and annoying as can be. They have flaws and (most of them) have their good points, too. The story is pretty predictable but an enjoyable experience just the same.