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The Vow [Hardcover]

Jessica Martinez
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse (15 Oct 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 144245864X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442458642
  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 15 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 234,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful contemporary 4 Nov 2013
By Kat
Contemporary Young Adult novels aren't usually my cup of tea. It may be that I'm a cynical old bird, but I find the whole 'I am attractive but don't realise it and that cute boy will never notice me' thing a little offputting and unrealistic. So I had pretty low expectations for The Vow - I expected cheese, lighthearted banter and cute boys. Colour me surprised....

It took me about 40 pages to fall completely in love with Mo. He was exactly what a best boy friend should be - supportive but honest, funny yet caring and as a person he is an overachiever but not arrogant about it. It took me a little while longer to warm to Annie, but when more of her past was revealed, I really wanted to just give her a hug. Together their dynamic was perfect - sarcastic and funny as well as strong and loving. But it wasn't just their personalities that made it for me - it was also the fact that neither of them were perfect, and there was far more at play than just the relationship between Annie and Mo.

The family dynamics were also memorable - firstly, both families were present throughout the story, despite the fact that Mo is seventeen and Annie eighteen, and secondly they had a very large impact on the plot itself, whether for better or worse.

There are other aspects of the story that I really loved, but they aren't really mentioned in the synopsis, so you're going to have to read this yourself and find out ;)

The part I was most wary about in this book was the whole marriage bit, but Jessica Martinez made everything feel realistic and addressed every possible bump that I could imagine, and did it with sincerity.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An emotional and engrossing read 11 Nov 2013
By Sara - Published on
The Vow is Jessica Martinez's third young adult novel, following her debut, Virtuosity, and her sophomore offering, The Space Between Us. If you've never read one of Martinez's novels, what are you waiting for?? Like her first two books, The Vow is impossible to put down and incredibly intense.

Annie and Mo have been best friends since Annie came to Mo's rescue in elementary school after an unfortunate pants wetting incident. Ever since, the two have been inseparable. Mo is sarcastic and super focused on his future. Annie is the good daughter, careful to never upset her parents, who keep her close after the violent loss of Annie's older sister years before. When Mo's father loses his job, the entire family faces deportation back to Jordan. Despite the fact that Mo has grown up in the US and considers himself American, he will be forced to return to Jordan as well. Annie can't imagine life without Mo and Mo can't imagine leaving Annie, not to mention everything he's worked so hard for in the US, so they devise a desperate plan: marriage. Perhaps unsurprisingly, their solution isn't as simple as they first assume. Marriage is never simple, especially when it's done secretly and in less than legal circumstances. The fallout of their actions affect Mo and Annie's lives in ways they hadn't expected and may not be ready to handle.

This book deals with so many different important themes, from platonic relationships to romantic relationships and marriage, familial love and interaction, sibling bonds, racism, prejudice, bullying, loyalty, betrayal, lies, and hard truths. It might sound impossible to make all of these big, complicated things fit together, but Martinez does so in a beautifully complex way. Every issue feels right, nothing is forced, and nothing feels overlooked or unresolved. To me, that would have been a complete disservice to any of the issues within the novel - to have one of these big issues made to seem small next to another issue - but Martinez gracefully sidestepped this potential problem and artfully wove the various themes together to form a story both endearing and compelling.

While I'll never say that Annie or Mo is perfect, I really loved them together. Their imperfections make them the perfect friends. One of the shining achievements of The Vow was the fact that Annie and Mo are not romantically involved. While they do love one another, it is the love born of friendship and understanding rather than crushes and romance. I really feel like this kind of friendship and love is rare to find in literature and, often, in real life... especially between a guys and girls.

I was deeply affected by the prejudice and judgement Annie and Mo must endure from the people they encounter in their small southern town. I'm from a small town and I am all too familiar with the racism and prejudice that can fester in these slow parts of the country. Annie doesn't really seem to understand... or maybe she just doesn't want to understand... what Mo's going through. She defends her parents when they make completely horrible and uncalled for comments about Mo and his family... and I cringed every single time. At the same time, Mo's family makes some off color assumptions about Annie that caused me to tense. Throughout everything, the judgement and comments, the stares and whispers, Annie and Mo stick together. They may not always do the right thing, but they persevere and try to communicate and understand what the other is going through. To me, this attempt to understand and communicate despite the mistakes and misunderstandings are paramount to overcoming prejudice and judgement within the novel and in real life. Annie and Mo, despite their shortcomings, set a fantastic example.

Obviously, there's a lot more I could say about The Vow. This book tackles so many different things that it's impossible to read it and not find something within its pages to connect with, which makes it an emotional and engrossing read. I highly, highly recommend this novel to contemporary fiction readers, regardless of age.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected and beautiful 18 Oct 2013
By flamingo1325 - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I didn't really know what to expect going into this one. I'm a huge fan of Jessica Martinez, but even having read her two previous books, this one seemed like a big question mart. It's an interesting concept, and she held up beautifully. One of my favorite things about this book is how it's truly just two teenagers, in a situation where they are so clearly over their heads, where they just couldn't see all the problems inherent to this plan. It's painful, and the dual POV only upped the emotional aspect of it. I felt so much for both of them, but what stood out the most is how when I'm in one character's head, I'm siding with them, even if it means I'm not liking the other as much...until the POV shift, then I'm all for that other character. I so completely understood Mo and Annie, and I absolutely wanted what's best for them - except in this case, through the whole book, I had a hard time deciding what was best. To stay together, even if it means they've sort of lost their families? To be separated, lose that part of themselves, but especially for Mo, to be with their families? A mix of the two seemed impossible. Add to that the strong, distinct voices, and all the problems the pair faces, both individually and together, and this one is definitely a must read.
4.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC CHARACTERS! 25 April 2014
By Books4Tomorrow - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Although The Vow is not exactly an edge-of-your-chair, adrenalin rush inducing read, I found myself unable to put it down. Mo doesn't want to return to Jordan, and Annie is determined to help him remain in America. For them to marry and hence, secure immigration for Mo, seems to be a very obvious answer to the problem. Only, did Annie and Mo stop to consider questions like immigration fraud and the hazards of living together?

The magic of this book is in the characters. Annie, a lonely girl, unable to move past her sister's disappearance, befriends an equally lonely and displaced Mo; the kind of person who puts everything into a friendship, is extremely loyal and will sacrifice everything to help a friend, Annie commits to helping Mo realize his dream of studying and living in America. All this at the most likely cost of her own chance at a real love interest.

Mo, on the other hand, is a bit less mature than Annie and, at times, even childish. Despite this he is, however, wonderfully funny. Mo's sharp wit and slightly acid-tongued dialogue often made me laugh out loud. The nail-biting suspense in this book happens when you know that Mo's smart mouth is going to get him into enormous trouble; something that happens with refreshing regularity.

Then there is Reed, every girl's dream of a handsome, sweet natured guy. At first he seems rude but eventually he thaws to become a truly kind and, in the end, forgiving person.

For those who love a good, tender romance with a healthy dash of the poignant, The Vow will more than satisfy you. Although it looks like there would be a love triangle between Annie, Mo and Reed, this fortunately doesn't happen in the true and very clichéd sense of the word.

For a story that will warm your heart and often make you laugh, I recommend The Vow as a satisfying and fulfilling read. (Ellen Fritz)
4.0 out of 5 stars The Vow 3 April 2014
By Kend77 - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time! Annie would do anything for her best friend Mo, and then she falls for Reed. Sometimes figuring out what the "right" thing to do is the hardest thing to do.

This was a very emotional book, I loved the characters and their interactions. I felt so bad for Annie, trying so hard to do what she thought was right, but every option still held some type of heartbreak. Sometimes, staying true to yourself first is the only way to do the right thing.

*I received an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
4.0 out of 5 stars A review from Bookworm1858 30 Mar 2014
By bookworm1858 - Published on
Source: Received an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review through Edelweiss.

I have read Martinez's Virtuosity so was excited to see this new book by her especially with its very different premise. Annie and Mo have long been best friends, both having felt ostracized from their normal peers. Annie in the shadow of the kidnapping and death of her popular older sister and Mo as a Muslim-Jordanian boy in a post-9/11 Kentucky. Neither quite fits in but they get each other. Until the devastating news that Mo must return to Jordan with his family as his father's work visa ends. Together they hatch the crazy plan to get married so that Mo can get a visa and stay here. Should be easy-peasy, right? Not so of course as both face difficulties with their families and eventually the toll of putting up the front of this fake happy marriage starts to get to them.

There were a lot of things I liked about this book such as the alternating narration between Annie and Mo and how the last sentence of one's section would be echoed in the first of the next. This really tied the story together and kept me turning the pages. Though there are a lot of subplots, I didn't feel like the book was overstuffed; however I don't think everything was handled as well as it could have been as will be discussed below. I would also like to applaud Martinez for diversity and the guts to take on a really different kind of story. I've honestly never read anything in YA about teenage marriage for a green card (and I've read a lot of YA in the past four years.) I've also not read many books about Muslims in America, definitely an underrepresented group (we need more books with this diversity, please!)

Less successful was the depictions of the families, both of which are shattered even before the marriage plot is hatched and only further splinters as the pressures mount. I'm a reader who likes resolution and this book does not provide a sufficient amount for me. Especially of interest to me was the case of Annie's parents who, eight years later, overwhelmingly suffocate Annie with their desire to know where she is at all times without displaying any interest in really knowing her as a person. They are pissed when she gets married with their racist side especially coming out. And that's basically it. Does Annie manage to reconcile with them? I don't know-Martinez does not share. Similarly Mo's family makes a few brief appearances through video chat once they return to Jordan but the full consequences of their separation are not really explored. It left me wanting a lot more. Also leaving me wanting more was the relationship between Annie and Mo, which has always been platonic. By the end though there are hints of it becoming something more. Hints only, mind you and I interpret the ending in one way but they never really talk those feelings out.

I was also a bit skeptical about their knowledge regarding fraudulent immigrant marriages, as in they didn't know much. I mean, have they not seen "The Proposal"??? I understand they're young and not thinking entirely rationally but the idea that the federal government closely examines marriages between citizens and foreigners hoping for a visa/green card to ascertain validity is a pretty basic one and I was mad at them for not being prepared for that contingency. I was also disgusted with the racism on display while recognizing that it's probably pretty accurate and even muted for this time. As mentioned above, Mo is a Muslim from Jordan and while not devout, he does match the appearance many people might have of Muslims and he receives a great deal of racist remarks and looks because of that. Luckily the text in no way condones that and represents Mo as just an ordinary person because that's what he is.

Overall: I feel like my negatives ended up being longer than my positives but I still really liked the writing and the concept for this a lot. The entire execution was maybe not strong enough to make a deep and lasting impression on me but I think this is a book worth checking out especially if you're a contemporary fan who doesn't need a lot of romance and also if you want to support diversity in books.
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