It Happened on Thunder Road
A YA fantasy by Susan Antony
When Emmy Russo returns to high school in Moncks Corner, South Carolina after summer break, she discovers some changes. First: Mom has a boyfriend. Second: the cute new student, Charlie Fields, is a Rockabilly greaser with a gang who obeys his every command. Third: attractive Keir Harper wants to be more than just her best friend. And fourth: a perplexed Emmy soon finds herself drawn to two extremely different boys. How do you choose between sweet and smoldering?
Then tragedy strikes on desolate Thunder Road. Strange things start happening, with Emmy in the middle of it all. Intent on finding the truth, she must fight for her heart, her life, maybe even her soul. Because someone wants to possess all of Emmy. And they will be together, no matter what the cost. For eternity.
I hadn’t expected that. And I wasn’t sure I wanted to respond. The old me, the good girl from New Jersey, wouldn’t have choked. She would have told Charlie to take a hike. But the new me didn’t want to let him go.
What was it about this strange boy with greased hair that attracted me so?
“What’s the matter, New Jersey? Cat got your tongue?”
My face flushed. “Why don’t you quit asking me ridiculous questions and do something that you’re good at?”
“Drive, Teddy Boy.”
One of Charlie’s brows tipped upward in a cocky salute. His knuckles whitened as he gripped the T- shifter, while rivers of veins formed on his muscular forearm. With a look of steely determination etched on his face, he slammed the shifter into first gear and jammed the accelerator pedal to the floor. The car rocketed forward. My head slammed against the seatback, and I dug my nails into the black tuck and roll upholstery.
“You scared, New Jersey?” Charlie asked, his eyes aflame.
“No,” I said as the blood left my face.
“Then hang on, baby, ’cause you’re about to go for the ride of your life.”
This book definitely delivered on the blurb’s promise. There are two boys for which “sweet” and “smoldering” are extremely appropriate descriptors. Furthermore, there is definitely some strangeness going on. If you like your YA romance with a dash of the paranormal and a dose of boy-ness, you’ll enjoy this.
For me, I liked it, but I didn’t quite love it. The drag racing aspect was neat. That isn’t something I’ve run into (pun?) before, and the dynamic around the entire car-loving gang almost felt like I was reading what a book based on “Grease Lightning” would look like. Major Grease vibes in general, actually. Perhaps a bit too much.
To expand on that, I actually forgot at several points that this wasn’t “historical,” if Grease-era is “historical.” Without spoiling, some of that Grease-era stuff got resolved, but a lot of it didn’t, which left me hanging. At one point, one of the characters casually looks at their smart phone, and I literally full-stopped because I had to think about the fact that this is set in modern-day. Then I double stopped because I haven’t heard anyone call them smart phones in a while. It’s either iPhone or just phone, and that started me back on the “when was this set” track. Those little reminders cropped up just enough to jar my reading experience, and I never really got fully immersed in the story.
I also struggled to connect with Emmy. She had a pretty bad attitude from the get-go, and I never felt like I learned anything about her to justify her being so mean to everyone. Even more, she comes back to town after a summer away, and she already knows people. This is fine, except I felt tossed into the fact that she already knows them as a given—thus there being no need to explain her existing relationships with any of these people. I had to play catch-up for a while until I realized who everyone was and how Emmy knew them. As a result, the relationships didn’t feel as fleshed out as they could have been.
Long story short, this one wasn’t for me, but other readers may definitely feel differently. If it sounds like something you’d like, give it a shot.
About Susan Antony
Susan Antony is an IT by day, hip-shaker and writer by night, artist whenever possible, and an internet addict. She lives in the sunny south with her teenage son and two Cairn Terriers. Cherokee Summer placed first in the Missouri Romance Writers of America \”Gateway to the Best\” contest, was a 2019 OKRWA finalist, was a 2020 Author Shout Recommended Read, took 1st in the 2020 Write Touch Readers Award, and took the bronze metal in the 2020 Readers Favorite Contest.
It Happened on Thunder Road placed 1st in The Southeastern Writers Association 2020 Contest.
Susan Antony will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.