Monday, November 18, 2013
ARC Review: Crash Into You
YA Contemporary Romance
Scheduled to release November 26
Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
While I tend to shrink away from the extreme melodrama of books like Pushing the Limits and Dare You To, I still sometimes find myself drawn to them, craving the beautiful romance that sometimes emerges as well as the addictive writing. After reading the blurb for this book included in Dare You To, I had extremely high expectations for this story of Isaiah. We've seen him in the previous two books and it seemed high time that he got to tell his side of the story.
All started strong. Isaiah is a tough foster kid who has spent years cultivating his image so that no one can mess with him: maybe he wasn't the biggest kid to start but now people know not to mess with him; he doesn't have parents but he has his best friend Noah and Echo around him to provide some family; and he has cars and all his knowledge that can provide him a job and a way out of his life.
Rachel appears to be anything but strong. Born as a replacement for a daughter who died of leukemia and battling an anxiety disorder, Rachel's father and four older brothers "protect" her but they can't stop her from sneaking out to drag race, a need for speed that sends her colliding into Isaiah and putting the pair in debt to Eric, a street thug who is bad news.
Like McGarry's two previous novels, this looks at two seemingly disparate young people with practically uncountable problems who are thrust together, fighting an attraction with various degrees of success. We are already very familiar with Isaiah as he is friends with characters from the first two books. As the MC of this book though, more is shared about him. His love for cars is in the forefront and his family history is laid bare as are his convictions that he isn't good enough for a girl like Rachel.
Rachel is a new character to the series and we've not really seen someone like her. She is very rich and privileged but like the saying goes, "Money can't buy happiness." She is the youngest child and is incredibly overprotected due to the fact that her older sister Colleen died of leukemia. The view in the family is that she is there to keep the mother happy, to the extent that Rachel pretends to like purple and shopping like Colleen, downplays her fascination with cars, and hides her anxiety attacks even as they leave her completely sapped of energy, all so that she won't be a burden to her family. I clicked with Rachel's naivety to be honest; when she ventures in to the world of drag racing, she can't quite believe everything that's happening and I couldn't really either.
The real standout, for me and others as I've seen in reviews, was Abby, a drug dealing friend of Isaiah's who easily welcomes Rachel and is welcomed in return. There are several oblique hints at how she got in to the business but it's kept vague, indicating to me that she will be getting her own book at some point. As book 4 is about Rachel's brother West and a new character Haley, I am hoping book 5 will be Abby's and I'm sure there are others who've read this book that feel the same!
More of an enigma was Eric. First I know an Eric who is nothing like this villain so it was hard for me to keep seeing his name. Second this Eric is nineteen but seems to be in charge of a large swath of territory with his hands in many pots. As I confessed, I certainly overlap Rachel in naivety so I don't know if that young age is really plausible for his position but I suspect it's a bit unlikely. I felt a lot of menace from him though he wasn't nearly as frightening as Rachel's dad when he discovers what she's been hiding being that the father is a very rich and therefore powerful man who likely has many connections to law enforcement that he can call upon.
My biggest problem with this book (as I think it was for the previous two) is just the lack of communication between people. Rachel could have shared with her family on multiple occasions about her anxiety and her feelings as a stand-in for Colleen. It would have been hard, so hard but also so worth it to perhaps face her anxiety attacks and give her some piece. Similarly I wish they had felt comfortable turning to more of the people around them to fulfill their debt to Eric as they do have people in their corner. I feel like that's one of the conditions for melodrama though-people can't share what's going on or problems are headed off before they even occur. I also think I'm a pretty blunt and honest person so this whole "not sharing things that really bother you" thing is kind of foreign to me.
Overall: I don't think I will ever be completely won over by this category of melodrama but I remain committed to the series and look forward to more of the cheeky Abby.
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