Review: Speed of Life by J.M. Kelly


Title: The Speed of Life

Author: J.M. Kelly

Purchase: Available nowin the US and UK

Overall Rating: 4.5/5


Speed of Life by J.M. Kelly is about twins, Amber and Crystal, and their baby Natalie. They are poor and have a lot of day-to-day struggles because of it. Not to mention, they are still in their senior year of high school. But they have a plan. They’re going to graduate high school, get full time jobs, and move out. After the baby comes along the plan is changed, but still in place. Then the high school guidance counselor talks to Crystal because of her grades and talks to her about college. Crystal does not want to change the plan; she doesn’t want to go to college. And then the guidance counselor finds a college that offers a program in Automotive Restoration. Crystal’s a major car buff and maybe the plan needs to change.

I’m not going to lie, I really was not expecting to like this book as much as I did. I typically am not a fan of contemporary, because I’m not into romance. The best part about this book was that there was absolutely no romance in it. I gave this book 4.5/5!

The story starts out with the first page as a conversation back and forth between Amber and Crystal. We don’t know who the mother is and she does not want to keep the baby. The other sister is talking her into keeping the baby, and they agree to care for her fifty-fifty. The father is not in the picture, and they do not know who the dad is.

Then the story jumps into the baby several months old and their day-to-day life. They juggle the baby between school and work, and they do care for her equally. The book is written from Crystal’s perspective, and she seems to be the more responsible sister. She works at a gas station/auto shop after school, gets good grades, and even helps doing Amber’s homework so they both can graduate. Amber goes out partying all the time and forgets to do her homework.

Crystal gets called into the guidance counselor’s office and starts talking to her about her love for cars, and the guidance counselor tries to talk her into going to college. Crystal is not interested at all, she has a plan. Then the guidance counselor tells her about McPherson College and the automotive restoration program, and next thing you know, Crystal is applying to it behind her back. She starts taking classes to prepare her for the SATs and continues to pile on the lies. Eventually Crystal gets caught in her lie and Amber finds out. This definitely harms their relationship. Crystal has a new plan: she wants Amber and Natalie to come with her to college in Kansas and come back to Portland in four years when she graduates. I’m not going any further with this because I don’t want to spoil it for potential readers!

Early on during the story, Crystal gets her hours cut at the shop because the boss’s nephew wants to learn how to work on cars. David starts working at the shop, and at first Crystal is pissed off and hates him. Eventually, they start talking more about cars, and she finds out he’s interested in going to McPherson College as well. They bond over cars and preparing for college, and he helps her throughout it all. I was worried when he was introduced that they were going to get romantically involved, but they stay just friends the whole time.

Everything written about cars is just bits here and there, and it isn’t anything too boring for people that don’t know much about cars. It also is not inaccurate. I’m not hugely into cars myself, but I am married to a mechanic, and my father is a mechanic. I know far more about cars than a lot of people. Enough to know that I am way more interested in Crystal’s friend David’s Chevelle than Crystal’s Mustang. If you’re not at all interested in cars you may still love this book!

The thing that I loved most about this book is that it was realistic. The characters were selfish, they lied, and they screwed up. Problems were not magically fixed overnight without any conflict. You eventually do find out who the mother is, and you also find out who the dad is. Crystal and Amber are both strong women, but they rely a little too much on each other and eventually they have to grow apart. Another part I loved is that it definitely did not glorify teenage pregnancy. Everything flowed well. I probably would have sat and devoured this book in one sitting if didn’t start it late at night when I had to get up early and go to work in the morning. I definitely recommend this book!


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