Shadowboxer by Tricia Sullivan brings us a very unusual heroine.
Jade is really one of the toughest heroines I've read in a long time. She's damaged from a life of poverty and abuse and she is incredibly angry. She brings this anger to the MMA Cage where she can go into a blind rage until she beats her opponent into submission. Unable to control that rage, she takes it out on the wrong person and is sent to a training camp in Thailand where her life takes a very unexpected and dangerous turn.
In spite of the contemporary YA feel to this piece, it's also very much urban fantasy - with the emphasis on the urban. The author takes us from ghettos and domestic abuse to Thai lady boys and exotic jungles. It's an exhilarating adventure. The MMA aspect was completely foreign to me, but absolutely fascinating.
Although she's tough, Jade is still very much a girl. She's just a girl who could beat you to a pulp if she wanted to, while still sighing over a handsome guy. There's a tiny bit of insta-love, but it takes some very unique and dark turns.
Simply put, I loved this book, was sorry that it ended, and would read more in a heartbeat.
*Review Copy Provided by Netgalley