I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Prince of Venice Beach by Blake Nelson
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on June 3rd 2014
Genres: City & Town Life, Depression & Mental Illness, Family, Homelessness & Poverty, Law & Crime, Lifestyles, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Orphans & Foster Homes, People & Places, Runaways, Social Issues, United States, Young Adult
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Robert "'Cali" Callahan is a teen runaway, living on the streets of Venice Beach, California. He's got a pretty sweet life: a treehouse to sleep in, a gang of surf bros, a regular basketball game...even a girl who's maybe-sorta interested in him.What he doesn't have is a plan.All that changes when a local cop refers Cali to a private investigator who is looking for a missing teenager. After all, Cali knows everyone in Venice. But the streets are filled with people who don't want to be found, and when he's hired to find the beautiful Reese Abernathy--who would do anything to stay hidden--Cali enters a new world filled with mysterious characters, dangerous choices, and his first chance at real love.
I won’t lie, I read The Prince Of Venice Beach by Blake Nelson because it was the shortest book in my Netgalley queue and because for some odd reason I thought it would be a fun, fast lighthearted beach read. Apparently my expectations were way off base because this book was anything but lighthearted. That’s not to say that The Prince Of Venice Beach is a terrible book, it’s not, however, my expectations completely colored my view of the book — as I am human and not some magical objective being.
Blake Nelson’s The Prince Of Venice Beach is NOT a summer romance novel. It’s actually about this runaway teen named Robert ‘Cali’ Callahan who lives on the streets of California on, yup, Venice Beach. And okay, I would totally have known all of this prior to reading, had I bothered to read the summary instead of just diving in. But, sometimes there’s something exciting about going into a book sort of blind with nothing but the cover and the title. Anyways. So, Cali is quiet and observant. He spends his days playing basketball, hanging out. He spends his nights living in some hippie’s treehouse. He’s approached by a detective to find a missing person, and he does so, earning a sizable award. However, he never questions why he’s being hired to find various missing people and runaways. Along the way, he makes friends with one of those runaways and experiences an ethical dilemma.
To be honest with you all, I don’t remember a whole lot about Cali’s character. Except that he didn’t have a GED and started taking classes. Also that he’s ambitious in that he wants to start his own private detective business. AND he’s never had a girlfriend! And he grew up in Nebraska through the foster care system. Honestly, he’s just not all that memorable. I mean, I did see a few reviews comparing this book to Looking For Alaska which lol, what? But, again, to each their own. Just, he’s not as distinctive or interesting.
As for the writing, well, it’s okay. It’s kind of simple and unadorned, which you know, a lot of people like. I like that myself from time to time. But there weren’t any passages that I felt the need to highlight or share. Granted, I did tear through this book and it’s a fast read, but it’s hmmm, not my favorite. OH! And the ending is completely ridiculous and out of left field and there were some jaw drop what just happened moments. I guess if you’re looking for a palate cleanser type of book and go in knowing what to expect, you might like it a whole lot more than I did.