by Justin Ordonez
published by TDS
Why Read?: Review
Challenges: Debut Author, YA Saves, Multi-Cultural
Sykosa Part I: Junior Year is one hell of a ride. Justin Ordonez’s writing style is unlike anything I have ever encountered, and boy, does it pack a punch.
It’s been a year since the even that forever changed Sykosa, bringing about a blackness whenever she thought about it. One thing helps her cope with it, though, and that is Tom, the boy who saved her. They meet regularly behind the Chapel, but no one knows they are a couple – he hasn’t even asked her to Prom – aside from Niko, Sykosa’s best friend. Niko, though, is the one behind Sykosa’s problems. Niko didn’t mean to cause any problems, but on her quest to constantly reinvent herself, while trying to put her mother’s shady past behind her, she sometimes takes things too far. Their sophomore year, it was trying to take down the leader of the Bitches, the cool girls who rule the school. Niko, now the leader of the Queens, a rival group, did succeed, but the cost ended up causing Sykosa’s fragile emotional state.
Somehow, Ordonez captures the sexually confused emotions of a teenage girl as if he were one himself. Never have I read an adolescent female protagonist as true as Sykosa. However, if I read Sykosa while in high school, I would have been utterly shocked at the language and situations that appear here in print, which leads me to categorize Sykosa as New Adult rather than Young Adult.
Aside from an amazingly realistic protagonist, Ordonez’s writing style also elevates Sykosa. Knowing that there is something dark in Sykosa’s past makes the reader want to keep reading in the hopes of finding out what the juicy gossip is. Ordonez carefully, skillfully doles out just enough information to drag the reader in deeper, chapter by chapter, until the tension is unbearable. The only downside to Ordonez’s writing the random head-hopping that happens infrequently but still noticeably.
Compulsively readable, raw and gritty, Sykosa Part I: Junior Year is a story that cannot be forgotten. If this is Justin Ordonez’s debut, I cannot wait to see what he produces next. Part II cannot come fast enough!