Thirsty by Mia Hopkins takes on the struggles of an ex-con trying to rebuild his life, find his passions, and win over the girl from his neighborhood that never left his mind — even when he was in prison.
About ‘Thirsty’ by Mia Hopkins:
My name is Salvador Rosas. Back in the barrio, my past is written on the walls: ESHB. Short for East Side Hollenbeck, my father’s gang—my gang. Hell, it’s a family tradition, one that sent both my brothers away. They used to call me “Ghost” because I haunted people’s dreams. Now I’ve got nothing going for me except a hipster gringo mentoring me in a new career. An ex-con making craft beer? No mames.
Still, people in this neighborhood look out for one another. That’s how I became Vanessa Velasco’s unwelcome tenant. Chiquita pero picosa. She’s little, but with curves so sweet they’re dangerous. I remember Vanessa from the old days, the straight-A student with big plans. Plans that were derailed by another kid stupid enough to think he was bulletproof. Now Vanessa knows better than to believe in empty promises. There’s fire in her . . . and if I touch her, I might get burned.
I’m trying everything I can to go straight. But when East Side Hollenbeck comes calling, I might have to risk it all to find out if there’s a future for Vanessa and me. Because she’s the only one who can quench my thirst for something real.
‘Thirsty’ by Mia Hopkins book review:
Ever since Mia Hopkins announced the publication of Thirsty, I’ve been dying to get my hands on it. Usually I like to read my advanced review copies in the order of their publication date, but once I had Thirsty, it jumped way ahead in line because I just couldn’t wait.
And let me tell you, all that hype was totally worth it because Thirsty is a brilliant read. There are good writers, and then there are writers that just leave you in awe. And Mia Hopkins has definitely left me in awe after reading this novel.
From the very first page you can tell how much work Mia put into this novel. The story is both beautiful and a bit tragic. It’s so easy for readers to love Sal, despite the mistakes he makes, and Vanessa is a kickass-ass heroine who has risen above the odds against her.
“With a sigh, she picks up the hose again and heads to the faucet. She tightens the spigot and carefully coils the hose. I watch her manicured hands getting muddy and dirty, and for some reason, I feel something move inside me. A deep-down ache, a longing. Something about her hands-clean touching dirty. For a moment, I wonder if she’d ever touch me like that.”
The story picks up not long after the main character, Sal, has gotten out of prison and is on parole. He’s at an odd place in his life because Sal’s basically starting over. He’s not an active gang member, because of his parole, and is working two part-time jobs to save up some money for a place to live.
He’d been sleeping at a friend’s place, but when he needs to find somewhere else to go, Sal definitely wasn’t expecting to end up living with the family of his long-time crush. Vanessa is extremely suspicious of Sal at first; she doesn’t believe he’s trying to clean up his act no matter what he says. And yet, she can’t help but fall for him even with her bad luck with gang members in the past.
They form an unlikely bond over the crappy cards they’ve been dealt and together try to get over some of the pains from their pasts. Sal wants to grow and become a man worthy of Vanessa’s time but his secrets threaten to tear them apart. I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll add that there’s an interesting twist that comes just in time to help change Sal’s fate.
“Every time she swings back toward me, I smell her shampoo. I feel her skin through her shirt. I feel everything and I realize for the first time that being around her has quieted my anxiety. Instead of feeling trapped inside my head, I’m free. Right now, I’m just a body, standing her in the open air, in the sunlight, pushing a pretty girl on a swing.”
What’s interesting about the novel is that even readers unfamiliar with gangs will be able to connect with the struggles of the characters. Both Vanessa and Sal have things they must overcome but struggle to appear strong on the outside. Neither one of them is cocky or expects things to come easy for them, which is refreshing to read.
Once again, I just have to praise Mia Hopkins’ writing because it’s truly beautiful. Her style stands out and is so stunning that I can’t imagine ever not liking something she’s written. I don’t think I can say enough good things about this novel, but I hope I’ve said enough to convince readers to pick up Thirsty because it’s worth every penny!