Review of ‘My Ticket Out’ by J.N. Marton
A new author for me with a young adult and lesbian coming of age story. In my late fifties, I’m definitely not part of the target audience, but I have to say the story sucked me in. A story about finding yourself, standing up for yourself, family, friends, first love, bullies, loss, grief, and finding your own way.
Charlie lives in a small town and is one of the basketball stars of her high school. Her best friend is also her rival for a basketball scholarship to get out of this town. Aspen is new to the school and there are rumors about why she moved here in the middle of a school year. Charlie and Aspen become friends pretty quickly and as feelings develop beyond just friendship, Charlie realizes why she always felt she never really fit in the community and why she had no interest in boys.
Told from Charlie’s point of view, we witness her development into a strong young woman who learns to stand up for herself and find her way. It’s a roller coaster ride of emotions, with falling in love for the first time, coming out, learning what it’s like to be bullied, having friends who stand for yourself, the elation of being in love, and heartbreak. I’m afraid that in many small towns homophobia is still a common occurrence, although I still hope that one day same-sex love will be as common as straight love.
This is a very emotional book and I rejoiced and cried along with Charlie. It could have been just another young adult romance but the author had other things in mind, life is not always as we would like it to be, there are always curveballs from which you can hope to come out stronger. For that reason, the end of the story is bittersweet.
I loved Charlie, I even fell a little bit in love with her. Her childhood was not easy and she and her brother Matty grew up with their grandparents which did not make her coming out easier. Through their past, however, the siblings have a strong bond.
Aspen is a woman with two sides, she can be strong and brave when she is with Charlie, but also very vulnerable and insecure when it comes to her father. Over time we learn what her family is all about and understand her better.
Riley, Charlie’s best friend, is a wonderful friend and great young woman. I liked that the author didn’t always make it all sunshine moments in their friendship either, but both leave behind their rivalry for the sake of the scholarship and, when necessary, Riley always stands by Charlie’s side. The rest of the characters are important too and bring depth to the story.
There are really sweet moments but also a lot of angst and drama, including homophobia and bullying and loss, but also friendship and love. Maybe the story is a little bit packed but for a debut novel, I happily congratulate J.N. Marton.
My rating 4 stars
ARC provided by the author and BookSirens.com in exchange for an honest review