ARC Review – Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon

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Done Dirt Cheap

Author: Sarah Nicole Lemon

Publication: March 7th, 2017

Publisher: Amulet Books

Format: e-ARC, 336 pages

Genre: Contemporary, Coming of Age, Romance

Read: February 2017

Sarah Nicole LemonGoodreads

I received an e-ARC of this book from Abrams Kids and Amulet Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Synopsis
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. Virginia Campbell’s life hit fast-forward at fifteen, when her mom “sold” her into the services of Hazard, a powerful attorney: 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.

Critically

Plot – 3.5 out of 5 stars
This book doesn’t have a linear plot in my opinion, it’s much more character oriented. But there’s a lot of amazing themes expressed and developed in this story. It’s a coming of age and it talks about hope, ambition, trust, friendship, honesty, bravery and just general girl badassery. It took me awhile to get into it but it caught my attention after the first quarter.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
This author’s writing is one of my favorite things about this book. Contemporaries tend to have very simple and easy to read writing, and while this has that, it’s also really poetic and lyrical. There are some really beautiful lines in this book that paint a detailed picture with descriptions that are intense. This book has dual POVs since the two main characters narrate the story but the distinction is very subtle and I wish it could’ve been more obvious to have an easier time transitioning between narrators.

Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
This is the selling point of this book. Not only are there two amazing female protagonists but they build such an incredible friendship that is pretty much the most important part of the story. I am kind of obsessed with these girls and their bond to be honest. Tourmaline is kind of the more naive of the two. She’s been sheltered her entire life and has a certain perception of the world because of who her father is and what he does. She feels really guilty for what she did when she was younger. However, she’s learning a lot about what is really happening around her and she’s defiant and determined. I loved seeing her become more confident as the story progressed. Then we have Virginia (it got a bit confusing sometimes since the setting is also Virginia) and she’s kind of like rough and tough. She’s definitely been through hardship and her life isn’t really what she envisions for herself. She makes the most of what she has but slowly things start to unravel and she wants to look to escape. She’s very vulnerable and scared, she’s dealing with a lot of anxiety but she’s also learning to open up and depend on others. Again, the friendship between these two characters is absolutely incredible and the best part of this book. But there are also a lot of complex and interesting relationships and romances that I feel were very well developed but didn’t take away from the friendship being the focal point of the story.

Emotionally

I was hesitant about this book when I first started reading it but I ended up really enjoying it.

The plot was complex. We follow Tourmaline who’s been haunted by a choice she made at 15 which sent her Mom to jail. In her efforts to make up for it, she meets Virginia and their lives intertwine in crazy ways. The beginning of this book took me off guard, I wasn’t really sure what to expect and it threw me off a bit. The writing style took me a little bit to get used to as well because while it was easy to read, it was much more lyrical and poetic than I was expecting. I began to appreciate it as the story went on and there are a lot of beautiful lines that were impactful. There’s no real linear plot in my opinion, there are various situations going on that somehow merge together but the most important thing about this book is the characters. The development that the main characters go through is one of the main focal points of the story and it’s intensive. Each protagonist grows by leaps and bounds from the first page to the last. I found it really interesting to see how each girl had different things to learn and how they managed to support each other in ways that were really genuine and real. This book also focuses a lot on feminism, on girls fighting for what they want and on them saving themselves and on looking out for each other and sticking together. Honestly, I just loved the friendship that built between these girls. It’s absolutely stellar and the most important part of the book (yeah, I’ve said this already but I don’t really care). It reminded me a lot of the relationships I feel I have with my girlfriends and the kind of relationship that I feel needs to be represented a lot more in the Young Adult genre. There’s also a lot of focus on family relationships and how they shift the way you view the world. Both characters have a coming of age journey where they decide the way they want to see the world and what their “fate” or “destiny” really is. I think it’s so important that these kinds of relationships are explored in Young Adult books and I think it’s the reason why I ended up enjoying this book much more than I originally thought I would. To be quite honest, every time I think about this book, I feel like I love it more and more. The author just did so many amazing things in such a powerful way and looking back it’s much more intense.

Tourmaline kind of annoyed me in the very, very beginning, specially because of the first scene. She’s really naive and doesn’t really grasp the way the real world works. As the story goes on, you definitely see why she is the way she is and how her pseudo-family has fostered this sheltered life for her. For some reason I find her development to be the most compelling of the two because I love to see quiet girls become their own bosses and to see them take the reins of their life unapologetically. I really enjoyed her determination and her devotion to her family even when she learned things that made her question her relationship with them. She’s definitely my favorite character in this book.

Virginia burst into the page and blew through the book with no regard for what she was doing. I don’t know if that makes any sense but that’s the way I feel her personality is. She’s rough and tough and she’s used to pushing through life and surviving basically. There was also a very vulnerable side to her, that was what was developed throughout the story and it was so beautiful. Honestly, her development and progression is just endearing. She’s always had fake confidence outside but a very soft, scared inside and to see her grow and become as fierce as she’s always portrayed herself to be was amazing.

Last thing I wanted to mention was the romance. It plays a small part of the entire story but there are two separate romances for each of the main characters. I feel like they were both developed slowly and with care. One of them is interracial and the other includes an age gap. Both of these had the delicate manner that I would want when they were being developed. They were sweet and respectful and they both had me swooning a little bit. One of the things I really enjoyed is how the author made it a point to talk about the affects of not only the interracial relationship but also the life of the black male love interest in where they are living which is Virginia. It felt genuine and important to read about even though he was a side character and it was only a little part of the story.

Overall, I was surprised with how much I ended up enjoying this book. The plot revolves around the character development and while it took me awhile to get into, the writing style was beautiful. I am a now a fan of this author and of these characters and the more I think about this book, the more I love it. So go read it!

So that’s it for this post! I want to say that I really appreciate you guys sticking around. I’ve recently moved and my life is upside down and blogging has fallen a bit farther down my priority list. I am doing the best I can to get back to my routine so please stick around! Let me know if you’ve read this book and what you thought of it. I honestly think there’s so much beauty to find in this book and I almost want to bump up my rating after writing this review haha. Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!

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2 thoughts on “ARC Review – Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon

  1. I’m so glad you enjoyed this, Sara! I’ve heard such incredible things about the characterization, the writing and the female friendships in this one, so it’s always great to know that friends have enjoyed books that are already so hyped. I’m okay with books not having great plots, as long as the characterization is on-point. Bumping it up on my TBR now! Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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