Nevaeh Evan’s life is uprooted after her father’s death, when she moves in with her aunt and cousin, Livvie. Her plan to lay low at her new high school isn’t working. Her friend’s jerky boyfriend keeps asking her out, the guy she likes treats her like garbage, and the thought of tumbling again makes her want to hurl.
So when her aunt pushes her into joining the elite X-FACTOR cheer leading squad, Navaeh goes along with it.
But Nev feels she doesn’t deserve to be happy. Not after what happened the night her father died.
Bodie Scott knows about grief all too well. Critically injured in an alcohol related accident the year before, Bodie struggles with the fact that he’ll never play football again, and he’s so far behind in credits he can’t see straight. That is, until he meets Nev. Haunted by their bloody pasts and wary of a shared future, Nev and Bodie turn to one another for comfort and support, and realize they’re not so alone after all. And when the party scene at school threatens the life of a loved one, the two stop at nothing to keep the past from repeating itself.
EX-FACTOR is the first novel in the Diamond Girls series by Elisa Dane. It follows the story of sixteen year Nev who moves in with her aunt after her fathers sudden death. She is forced to join a new school, make new friends, and start a new life.
I have admired the look of Dane's book through her Instagram (@authorelisadane), but if I am completely honest, I knew the book involved cheerleading and this put me off. Personally, (and these are just my own opinions) I believe that cheerleading does have a negative connotation here in England, but Dane's book shows a side that you don't see on TV and I pray that you don't judge it like I did because I was so wrong!
This book is brilliant!
The story is not just about an American high school drama but goes into depth on a subject that affects so many people and could affect any of us when we least expect it, drink driving and the different aspects of it. It touched me and made think about a subject that had never really affected me before but the serious nature of it.
More than just the story, Dane's writing is pure brilliance! With three daughters to her own I am sure she knows exactly how teenagers of this generation think and act, but she manages to get into the mind of a sixteen year old perfectly! Throughout the book I found myself laughing at some of the things her characters said, did or though because it is exactly how my friends and I act.
Now onto the juicy bit!
Nev and Bodie made me feel butterflies the whole way through! There is just something about Bodie that I just could not help but smile about. He is strong and protective, but caring and loving, with that whole damaged vibe going on. The connection he shares with Nev May not be conventional but it works for them. They find something in each other that no one else could understand.
And the end of Chapter Fourteen... Oh, boy! I love it!
Overall, I give EX-FACTOR 3 out of 3 stars. It has everything from tears to humour, romance and drama.
Currently EX-FACTOR is only available on Ebook (which you can find here on Amazon for just £1.83) but I really hope that it gets published soon as I would be proud to it on my bookshelf!
Interview with Elisa Danes!
I hope so!! I have to sell a certain number of copies before the book goes to print. I'd love to be able to see it on my shelf, so tell everyone you know to buy the book, lol!!!
What's your inspiration for your writing?
I draw my inspiration from my family and friends. All three of my girls participate in All-Star cheer. We've been at the same gym for nine years now and they've pretty much grown up with their teammates. Their perseverance, strength, drive, and ambition inspires me, as does the crazy tumbling and stunts they do. I've always known I wanted to write a series that featured these type of athletes, and when the plot idea for Ex Factor came to me, I knew I had to run with it. The idea for the story hit me after I attended the live Every 15 Minutes program at my oldest daughter's high school during her senior year. We all know drinking and driving is a dangerous choice, but to see the ramifications of it re-enacted in front of you really drives home how horrifying that type of reckless behavior can be. I knew I needed to write about it.
What advice would you give to aspiring young writers?
Write every day. No, seriously. Every. Single. Day. Even if it's just a couple of paragraphs, putting pen to paper (well, fingers to the keyboard, lol) will help you perfect your craft. The more you write, the better you get at it. Oh, and find yourself a group of critique partners who will tell you the truth about your writing. It won't do you any good to have a bunch of people read your work and tell you how awesome it is. Find someone who will pick apart your story and your writing. Someone who will challenge you to be better.
What books did you read growing up?
When I was young, I really enjoyed the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. High school is when I discovered my love for romance novels. My mom was, and still is, an avid reader, and I would read all of her books once she was done with them.
What books do you read for inspiration?
J.R. Ward inspires me. Truly, she is a magician in my eyes. Her world building is mind boggling and just plain perfection. I'm also in awe of Colleen Hoover. I've dubbed her the "Queen of New Adult." She's the freaking bomb dot com!
What is your preferred time to write?
Between school and cheer, my household is fairly hectic. I tend to do most of my writing in the mornings when my two youngest are in school. I usually try to write one thousand words a day, but don't beat myself up if I don't make my goal. Writing is fun and a means of escape, and I don't want it to feel like a job.
Do you plan your stories? / Do you write in chronological order or write specific scenes first?
I usually have a general idea about where I want my stories to end up when I start them. Most of the time I have a beginning, middle point, and an ending in my head before I begin laying down words. All the stuff in between? Yeah, it's as much of a journey for me as the rest of you, lol!!
What plans do you have for future stories?
I've got an idea swimming around in my head right now. It's percolating as I type this, slowly bubbling and taking shape. Once it's ready I'll start working on it. Can't tell you what it's about other than the fact it's another young adult. Oh, and it'll be angsty. I love me some angst!!