Title: Crash Into You
Author: Katie McGarry
Genre: NA, contemporary, romance
Series? Yes, Pushing the Limits #3
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: November 26, 2013
Synopsis from Goodreads: From acclaimed author Katie McGarry comes an explosive new tale of a good girl with a reckless streak, a street-smart guy with nothing to lose, and a romance forged in the fast lane.
The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life-that’s who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers…and she’s just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can’t get him out of her mind.
Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look.
But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they’ll go to save each other.
I requested this one because Veronica was dying over the entire series and told me how amazing it was, and even though I didn’t think I’d be approved since it was Harlequin Teen (which I usually get rejected for), apparently I did something right this time! And I’m so glad I requested – honestly this is the best NA book I’ve ever read. It was what I’ve been looking in NA – characters who are college age, but not using the tag as a porn license. And now that I’ve read this one, I’m going to go back and read books 1 and 2 as well! I’m thinking I like this whole companion novel thing – Crash Into You stood on its own, but I want to read all the connecting stories too.
These babies broke my heart. Seriously – I just want to take all of them in my arms and hold them until everything goes away. They’re very well developed, and even though their backstories were traumatic (as far as I can gather, since I haven’t read the first two books), I never thought they were only for the pity vote.
Rachel: I’d like to give McGarry an award for how she presented Rachel and her anxiety, honestly. It wasn’t romanticized or seen as “aww let me protect you poor fragile thing.” It was, no, this is a problem, and you are not going to be allowed to damage your body this way. But it was done in a caring and loving way from all of her brothers and Isaiah, and I really, really loved that part of the book. Other than her anxiety, Rachel was really sweet, if a bit naive. And she was like a little ray of sunshine most times – her excitement was infectious!
Isaiah: Of course, I fell in love with Isaiah. Veronica warned me about this boy, but I paid no heed to her wise words! I’m head over heels for him. He was stand-offish and aggressive, but everything underneath is the exact opposite. He was a blend of snark and sweet, and he has a truly good heart when he’s allowed and when people give him the chance. I know there’s so many characters like this, but they’re my absolute favorite. Isaiah didn’t allow his circumstances or people to pull him down – he continued to fight no matter what, and refused to give up. Call him a trope or cliche – but it worked. And I love him. Did I mention that he makes me swoon?
Other characters: There are a lot of secondary characters in this book, and I really loved all of them. They each serve a purpose, and despite their numbers, they never blended in with each other. Rachel’s brothers were a bumbling mess of their own screw-ups and problems, but as a family they were one unit that worked together to care for each other. Beth is a witch (I think she’s from book 2?), but her friend Logan was one of the highlights of the book. He’s a crazy dude, but another good heart and incredibly loyal despite the danger he’s put in due to the situations of the book.
Concept: I’m not a huge car fanatic, but even so I really got into the whole idea of Rachel’s obsession. Her excitement was contagious – I was happy for her because she was in something that she loved with her whole heart. I think McGarry explained everything well enough for the non-car folks anyway – even if I don’t know exactly what a nitro system does, I understood well enough that they were playing with fire by installing one.
Plot: It was a perfect blend of slow moments for character development and action paced scenes for building tension and reaching the climax of the story. My only complaint was with the last few chapters – I felt like there were these huge events, and yet McGarry cuts them off then skips to the next page after everything happened. I like seeing the drama, and understanding what happened. If she had explained a bit better in the “after” bits, I think I would have been okay with it, but I never got a full picture of what had really happened, especially with Rachel and her condition. Like, where is she at with everything – physically and mentally? I guess it’ll be laid out in the next book, which is told from her brother West’s viewpoint.
Like I said, it was full of drama and angst, but the good kind. It was well balanced with everything else, and it never became a pity party for all the characters to whine about how unfair life was. There are a few cliches – I mean, the plot is your standard bad guy meets slightly-oppressed good girl and they find a way to be together despite her parents’ disapproval – but they just work this time. It was perfect, and I was caught up in the story without a second thought.
So in the end, there were like two tiny things that I wished were different. But overall, I loved this book. It was the perfect afternoon read, and I inhaled the last 60% in two and a half hours. Much to my cousin’s chagrin… He was visiting and isn’t a reader at all. I just squished him and told him to hush for twenty minutes so I could finish – he actually listened and was patient with me even when I fell asleep after due to book hangover. And then I took him to Red Robin since he had never been – it was a great afternoon overall actually 😀 Great book, great people (real or fictional), and I absolutely recommend reading this one!
My Final Rating:
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Food for thought (sound off in the comments!)
If you’ve read the book:
- How did you feel about the ending? Did you feel cut off after Rachel’s accident or do you think the time jump was suitable for the story?
- Which character from this book would you like to see get their own story?
If you haven’t:
- How do you feel about the NA genre in general? Do you think authors just use the tag as a free pass for explicit content?
- Can you get into books where the main character (like Rachel with her cars) has a hobby that’s not even close to what you like? Or do you find that you can’t connect to the MC because of their different interests?