Sunday, May 2, 2010

Book Review: Addicted To Her by Janet Nichols Lynch


Monique is as beautiful and unobtainable as an Aztec goddess. Or is she? When Rafa sees Monique burst out of her boyfriend's truck during an explosive fight, he offers to drive her home. However, it is Rafa who is in for the ride of his life. Soon he is basking in Monique's attentions, but at a cost. To keep her Rafa must quit the wrestling team, blow off family responsibilities, join her in her risky behavior, and worst of all lie. How can Rafa let everyone, including himself, down? But how can he say no to the mesmerizing Monique?

In this absorbing young adult novel set in California's San Joaquin Valley, a Mexican American teenager must choose between what he desperately wants and what he knows is best.


A beautiful blend between family ties and teenage hormones, Addicted To Her raises many questions and maybe a few eyebrows while Rafa's story plays out. With a wide range of characters and strong development of his entire family unit, Lynch has built a very realistic portrayal of a teenage boy torn between lust and family. Though the plot premise is simple, the overall manner it plays out goes much deeper than sex.

Rafa is a balanced character and though he is often driven by his more southern head, he has a solid head on his shoulders and this comes through strongly throughout the book. His love for his mom, brother and half sister are clear from the start with the only issue coming from his mother's live in boyfriend Jesus. There is a certain level of resentment maintained through much of the book but it's shown in an understandable way, helping to portray Rafa's age. Though in some ways he is mature, his teenage male mentality also crops up often, keeping the reader engaged and connected with him. He grows in a very realistic way without any of the steps happening rapidly or without explanation. Lynch has done a fantastic job showing just how infatuated Rafa becomes with Monique and how even when logic begins to tell him things aren't so ideal, there is still a strong part of him wanting this girl. It is a very realistic portrayal and something Lynch has handled masterfully.

Monique is an especially remarkable character as she can be described a number of ways, many of which are not flattering, but she also is sympathetic in a large way. Lynch has done a beautiful job weaving the life and background of this character into the book, pulling them through the same emotions Rafa goes through. She helps build Rafa's character and story in a huge way, grabbing the reader's attention early.

Jesus is as noteworthy as Monique, as he is an illegal immigrant from El Salvador. He offers a surprising amount of insight into the culture of his country as well as the realities of some of these people that live in the State, brought here for one reason or another but never gained citizenship. The fear of being caught is always present and the struggles he endures come clear, even if through Rafa's eyes. He, too, helps build Rafa's character and maturity, and will be someone the reader remembers strongly. This character will cause the reader to think and instill a certain level of compassion.

Though the premise is basic- boy wants girl, girl might be too good for him and girl is trouble when he gets her- the plot is anything but simple. This is both a study in character development/coming of age story and a realistic look into the kinds of situations teenagers find themselves in. Although sex certainly plays a prominent role, as Rafa must learn there is a difference between love and lust- something all teens must learn and endure- it is dealt with a sophisticated and believable manner. Rafa understands love from his teenage mindset and from the world he's been exposed to- he doesn't have the adult view to go with it. This book is also a perfect example of someone on the outside of the situation can easily see the whole picture but Rafa lacks that whole view.

Overall, Lynch has weaved numerous elements smoothly and subtly to create a memorable and stand out work. With humor mixed in throughout the more dramatic times, Lynch will keep the reader involved. Strong writing that brings out the male character's mind and several unique elements, Addicted To Her is a book not to be missed.

Source: Finished bound copy received for review from author/publisher
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Holiday House (March 15, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0823421864
ISBN-13: 978-0823421862

Author's Website


  1. Awesome review. This book sounds like a great read.

  2. I haven't heard of Addicted To Her until now. It sounds really promising! Oh and I laughed at this part: "Rafa is a balanced character and though he is often driven by his more southern head..." Ahaaaa. xD!

    Wonderful review, Kari! I'll know to pick this one up when I see it. :) Although I have to say, that cover creeps me out a little. Her eyes look too intense... like she wants to eat me or something. o_O;

  3. I'm not sure if I'd like this book or not, but you're review has me interested. Great job!