Review: Crash Into You by Katie McGarry
Release date: November 26th, 2013
Series: #3 in the Pushing the Limits series
Rating: The swoons are there, and the interesting, dynamic characters are there, but so is the cheese. Quite a lot of cheese.
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 really enjoyed Pushing the Limits and I loved Dare You To, and while, to me, Crash Into You is not quite on the same level as its predecessors, it's still fun, romantic, and sure to capture the heart of any contemporary romance lover. For those of us prone to roll our eyes at melodrama, well, the eyes will be rolling, particularly at the end. But I'm getting ahead of explaining why, despite all that, I was still happy to dive into another of McGarry's books.
Crash Into You it told from the dual point of views of Isaiah, the tattooed, car-loving best friend of Noah (PtL) and Beth (DYT). He's still healing from the broken heart Beth left him with, and he needs money desperately so he can stay in his apartment with Noah and not go back to living with his foster parents, and he needs it fast. So he decides to participate, for one night only, in illegal drag racing. This is the first of many brilliant decisions made by our two estimable leads.
There, he meets Rachel, who may be my favorite of McGarry's three leading ladies. Rachel is the youngest daughter in a very well off family and she is positively smothered by her four older brothers. Seriously, there's protective and there's downright sexist, and this toes the line. Not only that, but her parents used to have an older daughter, Colleen, who died of leukemia before Rachel was born. Rachel is, essentially, her replacement, and she's reminded of it each and every day. Her mother really wanted another girl, and Rachel is told daily that it's her job to continue to make her mother happy by pretending to be the girly girl Colleen was, to be the perfect, quiet daughter who lets her brothers boss her around, and to give speeches at cancer benefits, despite the fact that Rachel is prone to PANIC ATTACKS from any kind of public speaking.
Rachel's family, you are the worst.
I LOVED Rachel's messed up family dynamics. I I loved the love that was evident between Rachel and her twin, Ethan, and her slightly older brother, West, even though I hatehatehateHATED the way they treated her. Rachel's oldest brother desreves a punch in the teeth. Sheltered, sweet, shy Rachel, for her part, is literally making herself sick to please her family, and she hates it too. She lets off steam by driving around in her Mustang at night and thinking about cars and... um... car-ish things (I'm not a car person. Can you tell?) After a particularly bad night, she gets the mad urge to engage in some... yuou guessed it... illegal drag racing.
And after that, it's insta-love central. Seriously, the insta-love fairy vomits all over Isaiah and Rachel. They are cute, honestly, and they have a shared love of cars, but man. Rachel basically imprints on him, and Isaiah keeps calling her "angel" in his head. Once they're in a relationship, he starts calling her "angel" out loud, and oh, I cannot abide cheesy pet names. Noah, I blame you after all this "nymph" and "siren" nonsense. "BAD BOYS". Honestly, you are both so un-bad, you big cheeseballs.
|"I iz a bad boi!!!"|
Then there's this silly business where the street thug in charge of the drag races, Eric, blames Rachel and by proxy Isaiah for someone stealing his money, and he threatens them, and says they have to pay him back in X amount of weeks or ELSE RARRR, and while it does serve to give the plot a framework and a ticking clock, I found this mostly silly. I kept wanting to pull away from that storyline to focus on Rachel and her family again. Also: Rachel mentions that she enjoyed therapy and having someone to talk to (YAY, WE'RE NOT STIGMATIZING MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES!) but hated how her family regarded her as weak and breakable and made her quit. I love that McGarry is so clearly pro-therapy.
What I always love about McGarry is how she makes her characters grow. Watching Rachel completely come into her own person was wonderful, and even Isaiah changed, his edges softening, letting his super nice social worker in, realizing he can't over-protect Rachel like he tried to do Beth. Rachel fights hard to get her father and brothers to realize the same thing and stop infantalizing her. Stop forcing her into fins, you awful males! LET HER HAVE FEET!
So all that is fine. And then something RIDICULOUS happens at the end, and I'll admit, I was laughing so hard (it was not intended to be a funny scene). I wish it weren't a massive spoiler so I could fully explain the absurdity at work. Why are there so many trips to the hospitals in these books? Being a McGarry character is not a safe life plan. This book is always WAY too long for what it is. The Story definitely drags at certain points.
Oooh, another thing: Abby. LOVE her. She's one of Isaiah's friends who lives a tough like but is a totally magical human being. She and Rachel insta-friend, and I love it.
Like Christina said in her review, if you loved Pushing the Limits more than Dare You To, you'll probably love this. If, like me, Dare You To is more your style, well... Dare You To will continue to be your favorite. I'm both excited and scared for book four, which will be about Rachel's brother, West.