Release Date: November 26, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
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. (courtesy of Goodreads.)
Katie McGarry has created a pattern of steamy hot, fun bad girl/good guy (or bad guy/good girl) romances over the course of three books. She established a close friendship between three troubled teens in her first novel Pushing the Limits - Noah, Beth, and Isaiah. Each has been the star of his or her own novel and found the love of that character's life.
It's Isaiah's turn for happiness in Crash Into You. He's reeling from the loss of Beth, who he'd been in love with for years. Unfortunately, their relationship was only a one way street. Isaiah meets Rachel when both of them do something stupid with dire consequences. Isaiah's reason for illegally drag racing is financial desperation. Rachel's reason was naivete. Even though what they've done is technically wrong, the reader is quickly sympathetic to the characters and their plights.
Isaiah is a character that I've neither liked nor disliked in prior books. I quickly grew to care for him in this book, similarly to how I came to love Noah and Beth. With his tattoos and stand-offish demeanor, Isaiah looks like a tough dude. And he is. Life has been brutal and he's learned street smarts to survive. I like that Katie never succumbed to the tough guy on the outside, softie on the inside trope. Even after Rachel comes into his life, he maintains an edge. Isaiah is loyal, practical, and smart. He's great with cars and has potential of making a good career out of it.
I was not as much a fan of Rachel. She's very white bread. A nice girl. I wouldn't even use the term "interesting." Rachel was born as a replacement daughter for Colleen, who died of cancer. She's coddled by a mother who wants her to be the frilly daughter she lost and four overprotective brothers. Rachel feels like she has to hide herself. For one thing, she'd much rather be driving or fixing cars than shopping. And also, that she gets horrible panic attacks when she has to speak in public or do other stressful things.
Rachel's panic attacks are portrayed as something that would devastate her mother if she knew they were still going on. I found that hard to understand. Why would panic attacks be such a horrible secret? I get that panic attacks are a serious medical condition. But it's not like she has cancer. And her family are massive jerks for ignoring Rachel's health by shaming her into silence.
In many ways, the Isaiah and Rachel pairing works. They have a mutual interest in cars. They both come from troubled families, albeit in different ways. They were thrust together in high tension situation that forces immediate closeness. In other ways, it doesn't work so well. I felt like we were being told that they loved each other by steamy make-out scenes and professions of adoration. Neither of those things are bad per se, but I consistently felt like I was being hit over the head with it. Also - an admittedly superficial complaint - I hated that Isaiah called her "angel" all the time. I don't like terms of endearment and "angel" ranks up there with "love" in terms of my gag tolerance.
The strongest part of Crash Into You were the side characters. Noah, Echo, Beth, and Ryan play small but pleasant roles. I loved Courtney, Isaiah's persistent, caring social worker. I like how each of the PTL books have one strong adult influence. I adored Isaiah's drug dealing friend Abby who makes a new friend in Rachel. I did have to suspend disbelief somewhat, but I didn't care. I also loved Logan, Beth and Ryan's daredevil friend. He and Isaiah were made for each other.
While I have more problems with Crash Into You than I did with the wonderful Dare You To (the second book in the PTL series), I still enjoyed it and think it's a worthy read. I particularly loved the ending. It went in a dramatic direction that I didn't expect and then came to a good conclusion. In fact, that was my favorite part of the story. If you're looking for a textbook fun romance, you can't go wrong with Katie McGarry, no matter what.
Rating: 3.5 / 5
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