Review: On The Edge

From Allison van Diepen, author of Snitch and Street Pharm, comes a sexy, dangerous novel about a teen who witnesses a murder and gets caught up in the seedy world of Miami’s gangs.
Maddie Diaz never should have taken that shortcut through the park. If she hadn't, she wouldn't have seen two members of the Reyes gang attacking a homeless man. Now, as the only witness, she knows there’s a target on her back.

But when the Reyes jump her on the street, Maddie is protected by a second gang and their secretive leader, Lobo, who is determined to take down the Reyes himself. Lobo is mysterious and passionate, and Maddie begins to fall for him. But when they live this close to the edge, can their love survive?
On the Edge is a compelling story about fighting for what’s right and figuring out where you belong. The novel showcases a gritty, realistic voice and earth–shattering romance that will intrigue readers of Simone Elkeles and Paul Griffin and captivate fans of Allison van Diepen's other novels.

My Review

Author: Allison Van Diepen
Date of Publication: November 26, 2014
Pages: 304
Source: Library

On the Edge has one of the best openings that I’ve read this year. The first 30 pages, or so, of this book do everything right. They don’t only catch the reader’s attention and absorb you into the drama playing out on the pages but also set up all the background information almost inconspicuously.

On a midnight stroll home after seeing her friends, Maddie becomes a witness to a horrible gang related crime and she talks. All of a sudden her life is upheaved, she is no longer just the smart girl with the scholarship and editor of the school newspaper but now she is also on the Reyes gang’s hit list.

This is the fourth book I’ve read by Van Diepen and I think she is one of the best when it comes to writing about gangs. I recollect having read something about her having lived and taught in Brooklyn, NY, which lead her to come in contact with some students involved in gangs. I think this personal experience translates well onto the pages of her books. She writes gangs at a realistic level. They aren’t all heroes or villains; they are lost people who got involved with the wrong things. A villain may lead them and if they don’t take care, they may become villains themselves; as the gang members in the beginning of this book did.

I saw this book as very character run. There are so many that I want to talk about starting with Maddie herself. Maddie was a strong and righteous character. She did somethings that really took guts and I wonder if I would do the same if I were in her place. I liked how vulnerable she was but she struck to her beliefs and her sense of ethics. However, some of the things she did in the end, while fun to read were also extremely rash and she really got lucky with their results.

 Although this guys was probably not even a secondary but a tertiary character, he kind of stole the spotlight in my eyes. Manny is a guy from the hood who also works at the McDonalds that Maddie works at. He comes off as a harmless flirt and his banter with Maddie is cute, but he is also one of the first people to stand up for Maddie when she is in danger. I want to devote a song to him, because hell he was so sweet. Too bad he didn’t get much page space.

Van Diepen also featured Julia and Eric the protagonists of Snitch. I thought this was a nice addition, as it’s always nice to see how old protagonists are doing in their life.

Julia and Maddie’s friendship was also nice but a little unrealistic. Julia, who had heard a bit about Maddie, decided that she wanted to be friends and their friendship jumped from an introduction to romantic set-ups in 2 paragraphs. Julia also has a knack for dishing wisdom from her own experiences. I personally wouldn’t have been as open to such comments from new friends as Maddie was, which made their friendship suffer a bit as it seemed superficial to me.

On the Edge also features some failed ambiance. There was supposed to be this mysterious hero feel, and I, along with everyone else in a one-block radius, guessed the identity of this “mystery” person in seconds. Of course our protagonist took her sweet 100 pages but even still, she figured it out by mid book. I think the ambiance wasn’t done well and it would’ve been fine if it were left out completely as well.

This definitely wasn’t the perfect read. Somehow Van Diepen managed to find my pet peeves but when I finished the book after only 2 sittings, I wondered if it deserved a 5 star. Despite the things that peeved me, the book itself was enjoyable. There was a good main conflict, I managed to forget my issues as I read the book and the ending was satisfying. It was all in all, enjoyable. Not the best thing I’ve ever read but that’s a pretty tough pedestal to reach.



  1. I haven't heard of this one, but I've always wanted to read Street Pharm, which I have in my library. Great review. Thanks.

    1. I really recommend Street Pharm it's a nice romance pitched together with the gritty reality of drug dealing from a young mans perspective.



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