BOOK TOUR REVIEW: Streamline by Jennifer Lane
by Jennifer Lane
Genre: Upper YA
Release date: March 27, 2012
Seems like Leo Scott has it all: looks, brains, and athletic talent. He’s captain of his high school swim team with a bright future in college and beyond. But Leo has secrets. His mother’s crippling car accident has devastated his family and left Leo to deal with his father’s abuse, battered and alone.
Leo’s girlfriend Audrey Rose is poised for her own share of success. As one of Florida’s top high school swimmers, Audrey dreams of college swimming stardom. But there’s an obstacle to her glorious rise to the top. Her number-one supporter–her father–is in prison for murder.
Part murder mystery, part tale of young love in a military family, this gripping story takes readers on a journey from Pensacola to Annapolis. Leo and Audrey must band together to rise above the adversity they encounter and find their true selves in the process. When everything’s on the line . . . streamline.
3 out of 5 stars
I know this is a YA novel, but I would have to recommend for older YA–maybe 16 and up. This book contains such content as drinking, sex, drug abuse, and violence.
First off, I have to commend the author for putting a black (mixed) male as the main focus in a YA novel. I don’t think I’ve seen that, ever. I am not sure in the grand scheme of things his race was ever an issue in Streamline, but I appreciate the literary world getting injected with a little color.
Secondly, I kind of feel this novel should have been broken up into two books. To me, there was a clear jumping off point for where the second book could have started. This book was quite long at 430 pages. Maybe I am just so used to reading books in series…but I can understand how the author would want to have everything wrapped up in the course of one book.
The first half was kind of slow for me. I am not the biggest swim fan…like everyone else, my knowledge of swimming is kind of limited to Michael Phelps and of course I watch when the Olympics are going on. There was lots of technical swimming talk in the first part of the book, and while I could definitely tell that the author has an intense love and knowledge of swimming, my eyes kind of skimmed over those parts. Perhaps someone who’s a bigger swim fan than me will be pleased, though.
I know that Streamline marked Ms. Lane’s first foray into the world of YA writing, and I could kind of tell there was a bit of a struggle to bridge the gap between writing adult novels and writing YA. There were plenty of cliches and moments I saw coming. Lots of characters too, and in my opinion, just a few too many points of view.
For the most part, I liked Leo as a character, until the end where he started making stupid decisions. I cannot imagine going through what he did and NOT being affected the way he was. Though the novel showed hints that he may have inherited some of his father’s temper at times…I hope the future holds a lot of happiness for he and Audrey.
Speaking of Audrey, one of my favorite things about this book was Leo and Audrey’s relationship. Unfortunately, both kids were forced to grow up way before they should have had to, but I felt their love was sincere and I am so glad they had each other to confide in.
One of the main things that made me take away from my star rating, was that I felt at times the author was trying a bit to hard to inject something into the story–either a lesson (teen pregnancy, anyone?), or some knowledge about psychology. This may go unnoticed for readers younger than I, but for me it felt kind of forced and detracted from the story.
Another thing is that I thought there were way too many story arcs going on at once–so much so that I don’t even think a couple of them got finished. I’m still trying to figure out the role of Roland Drake and his whole faking graduation storyline…at first I thought maybe he was planted as a red herring in the murder case, but I’m just not sure.
To wrap up this long review, I’d like to say that Ms. Lane is a talented author–although this book was long, I finished it the day after I started it. There were times where I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. For her first YA novel, Streamline is an intense journey. I would be happy to read her next YA offering.
About the Author
People fascinate the psychologist/author (psycho author) known as Jennifer Lane. Her therapy clients talk to her all day long about their dreams and secrets, and her characters tell her their stories at night. Jen delights in peeling away the layers to scrutinize their psyches and emotions. But please rest assured, dear reader, she isn’t psychoanalyzing you right now. She’s already got too many voices in her head!
Stories of redemption interest Jen the most, especially the healing power of love and empathy. She is the author of The Conduct Series—-romantic suspense for adult readers—-and is currently at work on the third and final installment: On Best Behavior. Streamline is her first foray into writing for young adults, but she’s found this sort of writing even more fun. A former college swimmer, Jen was able to put a lot of her own experiences into this book.
Whether writing or reading, Jen loves stories that make her laugh and cry. In her spare time she enjoys exercising, attending book club, and hanging out with her sisters and their families in Chicago and Hilton Head.