The Earthquake Machine
Mary Pauline Lowry
Source: the author
You can read the Goodreads summary here.
Rhonda has a terrible home life: her mother is mentally ill and her father, a pharmacist, pumps her full of drugs he brings home from work. The only saving grace in Rhonda's life is her friendship with the Mexican gardener, Jesus. When Jesus gets deported, Rhonda flees a camping trip with her friends to sneak into Mexico to try and find him. On her journey she renames herself Angel.
First, I need to say this: The Earthquake Machine is being billed as YA, but it is not YA. This is an adult novel, through and through. A common misconception is that if the main character is young, it must be a YA novel, but this is simply not true and The Earthquake Machine is a great example of that. The Earthquake Machine has several adult themes and even though I'm all for adult themes in YA novels (I'm not a prude, I know teenagers have sex and do drugs), this one was pretty explicit. But aside from the themes, the authors voice really lends itself to adult novel writing - so a little because of the themes and more because of the authors tone and voice, this novel really comes off adult.
I was shocked when I found out what "The Earthquake Machine" really was. Yes, there is a machine in the novel that fourteen-year-old Rhonda turned Angel called The Earthquake Machine... I can't tell you what that is without spoiling the novel, but if you think hard enough you'll figure it out.
I could go on and ask questions like, why didn't Rhonda tell someone about what her father was doing to her mother!? Or I could try and muse over the relationships Rhonda has, most of which I found very unrealistic. But I'm going to stop here. I give this book two stars - it was okay, but I was really only reading to see where Rhonda would end up in the end.
Plenty of other people on Goodreads have read this novel and enjoyed it, though, so if you read the description on Goodreads or Amazon and you decide it sounds interesting, give it a shot - you very well could like it more than I did!