The Most Wanted

by Jacquelyn Mitchard

It seems like I’ve been pretty hard on my reviews of the books I’ve read lately. I’m going to blame this on my obsession with The Hunger Games series & how I now think that every book needs to be about kids killing kids in a post-Apocalyptic society where a teenage girl must save the world & choose between two (handsome) men…now THAT is real problems.

The Most Wanted had none of that Sad smile

It did, however, have a teenage girl that befriends & then falls in love with a (much) older man that’s in prison…uhhhhh, almost the same thing.

This is the story of Arley Mowbray (a name that I absolutely love!), a 14 year old Latino (the only reason I mentioned her race is because the author felt it was necessary to bring it up every other page) poor, Texas native. She has no father, a mother who has checked out on her role of being a mother, a playboy brother, & a sister who is (well) on her way of being a star in the porno business (not really, but the way she was sleeping with every guy in this novel it sure seemed that way). Throw in a couple of bad example friends & you have the making of a “good girl turned bad” kind of novel.

Only Arley brought the bad business on herself.

Through her girlfriend’s sister, she got introduced to Dillon LeGrande, a prisoner incarcerated for robbery & murder. They began a pen pal relationship (where she first told him she was a college student)…fell in love…and then married & conceived a child…all while he was still in prison (which, apparently, is perfectly legal in the state of Texas with parents consent). This is also the story of Annie Singer, the lawyer that Arley hires when the prison Warden will not allow Dillon & his teenage bride to consummate their relationship in the “honeymoon” trailer that is awarded to prisoners & their wives. Obviously, given that she conceives & then has a baby, Annie is a very good attorney.

Annie is currently in a relationship with another attorney, Stuart, but wants marriage/kids & he does not (I don’t have to tell you that she finds love outside that relationship, gets pregnant…blah blah blah…if you’ve read my other reviews you’ll realize how much I hate to read adultery in my novels). Annie “adopts” Arley & her baby & ultimately puts them on the right course for a semi-stable future.

That’s the short summary of a 400 page novel.

Now while, I do have some small sympathy for Arley, & I can totally understand how one lie can steamroll into something beyond your control…her character bugged the bejeebees out of me. I know the author wrote her dialect & tone to sound like a 14 year old girl…but for crying out loud…the whole novel focused on how “mature” & “responsible” Arley was…what 14 year old girl falls in love with a prison inmate, has his baby, & everybody’s fine with it???? Huh??? And you must be a damn good attorney, Annie, to get a roomful of juror’s & a judge to sign off on a 30year old man having sex with a 14 year old child (even if it was his legal wife) & reading the courtroom dialogue, I didn’t think she was all that great! I thought Arley was vindictive, manipulative, rude, & arrogant (exactly what 14 year old girls are!), & Annie wanted to be a mom so badly that she overlooked her best judgment.

The big climax at the end of the novel, in which Dillon broke out of jail, murdered & arsoned his way back into Arley’s life wasn’t all that great. 400 pages foreshadowed (as the prologue started off with Arley talking about this horrendous “fire”) & I didn’t even realize that was the big climax of the novel while reading it…that’s how un-climactic it was.

I’m just frustrated with the books I’m reading lately…there just not good. And I’m all for a (little) bit of romance in my novels, but enough with the cheating on partners. Any suggestions on decent books???

3/5 stars on Goodreads

goodreads review: goodreads.com/careydhenderson

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