Saturday, May 11, 2013

To Be Maria by Deanna Proach

Title:  To Be Maria
Author:  Deanna Proach
Published:  May 1st 2013 (first published 2012)
Page Count:  280
Genre:  Young Adult Contemporary
Shelf:  Review Copy
Rating:  ★★★★

Book Blurb:

Seventeen-year-old Anya Preschnikov dreams of one day becoming a famous actor, but she is faced with two problems: her one-parent, dysfunctional family neglects her and has no money to support her and at school, she is the target for her peers' contempt. Anya believes that, in order to gain her stepping stone to stardom, she must dress like the rich girls and be surrounded by a large network of friends. All of this changes when Maria Hernandez--an immigrant from Spain-- comes to Peach Valley Senior High.

Maria knows what it takes to fit in. She is bold, confident and she dresses suggestively, characteristics that all of the popular kids admire. Yet, she sees in Anya what everyone else does not see: Anya's outer beauty and her immense talent.

Maria is everything Anya wants to be: popular, sexy and confident. So, when Maria extends her hand of friendship, Anya is elated. Her lifelong dream is about to become a reality, but it falls short one Saturday night at a party when a boy's rude comment sends her into a rage.

Desperate to belong somewhere, Anya and Maria set out to find new friends outside of school. They meet Alex and Marissa, a young couple who eagerly welcomes them into their world of parties and drugs. Anya and Maria soon find out that Alex is a drug dealer, but they are so lured by his wealth, good looks and aggressive confidence that they cannot resist his friendship. They don't know that Alex's gang is at war with a rival gang--one that is run by Anya's older brother, Adrik--until one incident puts their lives in danger's path. To make matters worse, Alex will not let Anya and Maria out of his sight.

Anya and Maria must find away out of this situation before it's too late.

My Review:

What a crazy ride! This novel took me for the grand tour of high school cliques and gang life. It was a phenomenally hard hitting story that keeps you entertained while making you think. It also makes gang life and drug trafficking in Canada vividly real.

This story was quite well written. At times the sentences became a little choppy, but overall it flowed quite well. This hard hitting story was full of comprehensive descriptions that really packed a punch. Proach brings everything to life, without ever making anything or anyone seem larger than life. She walks a very fine line to balance and enhance her story. Everything fits together seamlessly.

Proach has created a well-developed cast that catches high school and family problems to a T. Each character is very uniquely developed to be themselves. They are also growing into themselves, as your average high school student does. I appreciate that there were characters who were willing to stand up against bullying (that does go to extremes in this novel). I was, however, quite perplexed with the final chapter. I can’t quite figure out why the main character made the final decision that she did in this novel. It just doesn’t seem quite in character with her.

As a whole, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It was quite interesting and very hard hitting. There were a few moments that I wondered what was going on, but it did work out in the end.

Buy your copy online here today!

About the Author:

Deanna Proach graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Northern British Columbia in 2008. She initially trained to become a teacher, but decided, in her last year of post-secondary education training, to pursue a career in writing instead.

Since then, Proach has written two novels: DAY OF REVENGE (Inkwater Press) and TO BE MARIA (will be released, May 1, 2013 via Amazon Kindle). Proach is also an aspiring travel writer, avid blogger and actress. You can find out more about Deanna Proach at her website, and

Other ways to connect with the author online:

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