Release Date: February 23, 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Press; 320 pages
Ever since the Titans first appeared in her Detroit neighborhood, Astrid Sullivan’s world has revolved around the mechanical horses. She and her best friend have spent countless hours watching them and their jockeys practice on the track. It’s not just the thrill of the race. It’s the engineering of the horses and the way they’re programmed to seem so lifelike. The Titans are everything that fascinates Astrid, and nothing she’ll ever touch.
She hates them a little, too. Her dad lost everything betting on the Titans. And the races are a reminder of the gap between the rich jockeys who can afford the expensive machines to ride, and the working class friends and neighbors of Astrid’s who wager on them.
But when Astrid’s offered a chance to enter an early model Titan in this year’s derby, well, she decides to risk it all. Because for a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, it’s more than a chance at fame or money. Betting on herself is the only way she can see to hang on to everyone in the world she cares about.
Listen, if I would've done my research before reading this book I would've known there was no romance. But I didn't and I was disappointed. The romance doesn't have to be the focus of the book but I need romance in a book I read. I find myself missing something when there isn't any. Would I have read this book had I researched a little bit more? I don't know. I think so, because it sounded interesting but I would've had different expectations. But I feel a little misled, after reading what she wanted to focus on. One of them was family - I don't think there was a lot of focus on the family. Friendships, absolutely. Family? It was kind of like an afterthought. There were scenes and there were issues but it was always in the background.
I loved the relationship between Astrid and Magnolia. I always love reading a strong female friendship in books because I don't feel there are too many. There are friendships, true but not ones that are so close they're like sisters. Not everyone has friends like that and so I don't expect to read about that in every book so it is nice to see it when I do. I also really enjoyed the relationships she formed with her 'team'. Especially Rags, he was a hoot.
What I didn't like (and I wouldn't have expected anything had I known about zero romance before) was there was this focus on this guy, Hart, and there were times when you thought maybe it would turn in to something else and then once you got to a certain point, you realized how pointless he was, as a character. It was really weird and confusing. What was the point of him? I don't know.
The story. The idea behind the story. Brilliant. I devoured it. The idea of riding mechanical horses is fascinating. The fact that Astrid is riding a different horse from everyone else. A horse who has emotions and feelings and basically, is like a real horse without, ya know, a heart and blood and stuff. It was really well done and really addicting to read.
Because of the story and because of the relationships we did have, I still enjoyed this book. Had there been a romance of some sort, I would've probably given this five stars. It just felt like it was missing something for me and I was little disappointed because of this. But I wouldn't persuade you not to read this, even if you're like me and a sucker for romances in any book you read. I'm certain you'll still enjoy it.
Thank you so much to Scholastic for allowing me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.