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Nia and the Dealer

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Loved it! 😍

An adventure of a read. Two non-conforming, teen strangers go on a road trip from LA to San Diego with very different goals in mind.

Nia and the Dealer is an adventure of a read that I think young adult readers will find intriguing and relatable to youth rebelliousness. It is a young adult fiction that has an air of John Green’s Paper Towns mixed with J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye.


Nia, a 16-year-old semi-delinquent, has a rocky relationship with her mother— who she has recently traveled to the U.S. with for a week— and an even rockier, tense relationship with her grandma. Nia herself is of Bulgarian heritage, and her grandma, Grandma Ross, is a born and raised American who refuses to understand Nia as she is. Nia’s mother, also American, is constantly torn between taking the side of her mother or defending Nia from her insults and judgements.


Nia sees the week-long stay in California as an opportunity to fulfill one of the goals she’s had in mind since her time in Bulgaria, which is picking up a manuscript she co-authored and visiting with her old, dying friend, Kurt, in San Diego.


Thus, stewing with resentment and frustration toward her discontent with her current family situation, Nia decides to find Kurt on her own. Except, with her new accomplice, Jesse, a charming guitar player with a few secrets up his sleeve, she finds herself in more trouble than she bargains for.


This novel felt like reading a movie script— a good movie script. I was constantly wondering would this be the moment she meets Kurt? Will she make it in time? What about her poor mother, worried sick? Nia does come off as a spoiled brat at times, but also disconnected by culture shock as a 16-year-old coming from Bulgaria to the U.S. She relates everything back to her life and her situation throughout the novel, especially music, even when it doesn’t pertain to her. She also takes offense easily and holds grudges, which are her key flaws.


The author, however, does a fabulous job writing from a troubled teen girl’s perspective. He also does well making the reader feel on edge, creating moments of tension and knowing just when to calm you. I really enjoyed it and all its twists, it was quite impressive! I would recommend this book to anyone, even if young adult is not your choice genre!


Reviewed by

I like to write about a wide range of topics, but I'd also like to write more about books that have impacted me. Reading is close to my heart, so it would bring me joy to guide others toward good reads and hidden gems.

The Departure

About the author

Dominic Carrillo is a teacher and award-winning writer from San Diego, California. Since the publication of 'The Improbable Rise of Paco Jones' (Winner of the SD Book Award for best YA, 2017), Dominic has focused on writing young adult novels with universal coming-of-age themes. view profile

Published on May 01, 2019

50000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Young Adult

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