Life hasn’t been easy for Maddie Diaz, who, at age 11, lost her dad to a heart attack. Her mom’s now in the midst of divorcing husband number two, who’s been nothing but a financial and emotional bur-den on them for the last several years. But things are looking up for Maddie, now a high-school senior, who learns she’s been accepted by Florida State University on a full four-year scholarship. Then life takes an unexpected and dangerous turn when Maddie is the only witness to a brutal attack in which a homeless man is set on fire by two members of Miami’s notorious Los Reyes gang.
When the man later dies in hospital and the gang members are charged with second-degree murder, Maddie knows she must do what’s right and speak up for the victim. Maddie’s courageous quest for justice not only jeopardizes her own safety and sanity, but also captures the attention of Lobo, the leader of rival gang the Destinos. During a vicious street attack by members of Los Reyes, Maddie is saved by the passionate and mysteriously alluring Lobo, who’s made it his mission to shut down Los Reyes and protect her life at all costs. But who is Lobo, and why is he protecting her? As Maddie endeavours to find out, the two fall in love.
Ottawa author Allison Van Diepen’s first-hand experience as a high-school teacher at an inner-city school in Brooklyn shines through in her credible plot, absorbing dialogue, and believable characters. The novel offers a harrowing glimpse into Miami’s insidious sex- and drug-trafficking underworld, while offering equal amounts of yearning, teen angst, and romance. Engaging and well-paced, On the Edge provides inspirational food for thought and is a great resource for turning reluctant readers into bookworms, eagerly awaiting Van Diepen’s next page-turner.