Book Review, Fiction, Review, Young Adult

Book Review: ‘On Edge’, by Gin Price

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About the author:

Using knowledge learned from her childhood environment, Gin Price’s writing is often steeped in street life, whether good or bad. Hoping to show support for art that is often misunderstood, she published her debut novel, On Edge, focusing on graffiti and parkour, two expressions dear to her heart.  Currently, she is a resident in the Metro Detroit area, living with her loving biologist man, David, her two children, Shyla and Hayes, many reptiles and a troublesome cat named Wallace.

About the book:

When a serial-killing graffiti artist starts painting your picture all over town…  It puts a girl on edge.  Emanuella “LL” Harvey puts her gymnastic skills to good use as a member of her brother’s Parkour group.  Freerunning, jumping, and climbing over their corner of the city like it’s an obstacle course gives them something to take pride in and keeps them out of trouble—sort of.  But trouble finds LL when she runs into Haze, a talented graffiti artist whose sister Heather was murdered two years before.

Freerunner and Writer promptly fall in love, but they decide to hide their relationship till they’re sure it’s the real thing—and until they can find a way to placate LL’s hotheaded brother, who has it in for Haze and his gang.  But when portraits of LL—done in Haze’s distinctive style—start popping up on city walls, all hell breaks loose.  LL’s brother threatens a gang war, which LL tries to avert by identifying the Writer who is really responsible for the paintings.  But when another teen is murdered, it looks bad for Haze, especially when LL discovers that Heather’s killer and her portrait-painter are one and the same.

The debut novel by Gin Price—and first release in the Freerunner mystery series—On Edge has earned high advance praise.  In an advance review, Publishers Weekly reports:  “With a dash of Shakespearean flair, Price’s debut vaults the rooftops and skims the alleys of teen angst, family, and relationships…a fresh voice.”  Kirkus adds, “Intriguing characters, a different take on an urban landscape, and the element of mystery will captivate readers.”

Book Review:

There is a lot to be said about overcoming prejudices and this book seems to be a contribution to the conversation.  I was concerned when I first read the synopsis that it might delve into the painful type of book that would start preaching about said topic.  But thankfully, Gin Price manages to naturally weave it into the very fabric of her story.  Nowhere is the topic stated black on white, but it is imbibed in every aspect of the story.

It also helps that the book is very well written.  The voice is strong, the flow is seamless, and the plot goes along at a great pace—neither too slow to bore readers nor too fast to lose them.  For those of us who did not grow up in troublesome areas—in this case, gang-ridden—it also serves as a look into what this setup can do to a person, both the positive effects it can have as well as the negative ones.

On Edge also touches upon the concept of relationships, namely two sorts: between siblings and of the romantic sort.  It shows both a healthy sibling dynamic as well as one gone wrong; without any form of judgement or sermon, it reflects the effects each can have on an individual, as well as some of the ways and reasons why they emerge and how—in the case of the one gone wrong—they can be fixed.

As for the romantic ones, on the one hand, the way the main romances of the book are portrayed in this book are typical to the views society has of teenager love: impulsive, very hormonally charged, and slightly irrational.  This makes them, on the other hand, the weakest point of the book, as they are not realistic in the sense that they are not the kind build on a solid foundation that will yield a strong marriage.  But I think that this weakness is in itself weak enough that it can easily be overlooked in the greater scheme of the abovementioned strengths.

Add to bookshelf?


Thank you to Maryglenn McCombs for providing a
copy of this book for me to review!

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6 thoughts on “Book Review: ‘On Edge’, by Gin Price

  1. Thank you for taking the time to review my YA debut novel! I’m glad you enjoyed the read and hope your readers will give it consideration.

    All my best,
    Gin Price

      1. I’m working on a second LL book I hope to have completed by early fall, a short story or two (which I’ve never done) and I’m halfway through another novel that I’m begging for approval on to start shopping it around!

        I’m also trying to set up some Young Writer’s workshops and school visits, so keep your fingers crossed that my ninja sword is sharper than the red tape. 🙂

        Thanks for asking!

        1. Lol–keep that sword sharpened! Looking forward to reading the second LL book. Will you publish the short stories?

          1. If they are accepted into their intended call for submissions books, then they will be published. Otherwise, they will probably be posted on Wattpad or Amazon as free reads to generate a fan base. Right now my fan base consists of those who have to be on it or risk death by aforementioned ninja sword.

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