Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Release Date: March 7th 2017
My Rating: 4 Cups
Source: Abrams & Chronicle Books Ltd
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Tourmaline Harris’s life hit pause at fifteen, when her mom went to prison because of Tourmaline’s unintentionally damning testimony. But at eighteen, her home life is stable, and she has a strong relationship with her father, the president of a local biker club known as the Wardens.*Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from Abrams & Chronicle Books Ltd in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.
Virginia Campbell’s life hit fast-forward at fifteen, when her mom “sold” her into the services of a local lawyer: a man for whom the law is merely a suggestion. When Hazard sets his sights on dismantling the Wardens, he sends in Virginia, who has every intention of selling out the club—and Tourmaline. But the two girls are stronger than the circumstances that brought them together, and their resilience defines the friendship at the heart of this powerful debut novel.
**Disclaimer: This book contains mature content. As a result, my review may contain references to content intended for mature audiences only.
One of my newest favorite subjects to read about is motorcycle clubs. I've kept it no secret that I find it fascinating to see how authors approach this theme, but up until now I've never thought to look in the YA section to see if such a book existed for a younger audience. So I was very happy when I found this book.
Done Dirt Cheap is a story about two eighteen-year-old girls trying to survive in a dangerous world. Tourmaline is the daughter of the president of the Wardens MC, while Virginia is a former pageant queen turned drug dealer. These two girls are so different from each other, that at times is was difficult for me to see them as the true friends that ultimately they become. The book explores the MC life both from an outsider's perspective but it also puts the reader in the shoes of someone who's been born into it, without actually being an active member.
Tourmaline holds a lot of guilt on her shoulders, because in a moment of complete and utter terror she called the ambulance instead of calling her father, which ultimately led to her mother being sent to jail. She was surprisingly innocent and sheltered. No one in the club went out of their way to make her feel guilty, but no one tried to talk about what happened, not even her father. Seen through her eyes, the club was almost like a family that she could see, but never have. She was the kid that had to be protected, that couldn't be touched because her dad was the president of the club, but she wasn't in any way a part of the family when it came to her dad. It seemed even more lonely considering the fact that there was no real mention of any other kids her age around that had their dads in the club. In the end I truly felt sorry for her because of that. There were a lot of rules Tourmaline had to be aware of, including who she could or couldn't date, but for the most part I felt like she was the only one truly caring about respecting those rules. There was a scene in which she talks to one of the members about her dating this guy, but I didn't feel like it was a "Don't do that or else" type of discussion, it went more along the lines of is she aware of the consequences.
Virginia is her complete opposite. Virginia had a very hard childhood, and it isn't until close to the end of the book that we find out exactly just how hard it truly was. She's never been sheltered, she's never been protected, and she doesn't have the air of innocence that Tourmaline has. I loved that at one point Tourmaline says about Virginia "her eighteen isn't my eighteen", which is the perfect way to show just how different they are. Virginia also went from being used as a pageant queen to being used as a drug dealer by a corrupt lawyer, to be then told to spy on the Wardens in order to bring them down. So she's basically in trouble no matter what she does, and I was truly sorry for her. At one point there's such a symbolic scene for her involving her hair and I kind of wanted to cry for her.
The writing style matches the turmoil of the story. It wasn't easy getting into it, and at times I felt a bit lost in the events, but once I got used to it, I forgot about that and I was able to enjoy the story. It actually added a little something to the story that wouldn't have been there had the writing style been any different. The story is told in alternating POVs, from both Tourmaline and Virginia's perspectives, and I really loved the fact that it was easy to tell when I was reading from which perspective. The girls have such different voices and there was never a moment when I was confused. I truly appreciated that.
The plot is pretty fast paced and everything felt accelerated. At one point I'll admit I wanted to stay more with Virginia than Tourmaline, just because Virginia had this little something with one of the club's members that I wanted to see more of, because I felt that she deserved a little happiness in her life, but I am glad with how the story ended.