Title: Such a Rush
Author: Jennifer Echols
Rating: 2/5 Stars
I think this is where Jennifer Echols and I go our separate ways. In all honesty, I was totally prepared to do that after reading Forget You, my first novel of hers, but after Going Too Far proved to be slightly better, I had high hopes for this one. Unfortunately, Such a Rush was so riddled with problems that I was left with a bitter taste in my mouth by the end of it.
My problems with Such a Rush started from the beginning of the novel itself - it was slow. Very slow. While I enjoyed seeing how Leah, our protagonist, became a pilot, I found that her narration as a fourteen-year-old and her narration as a seventeen-year-old were not much different. Furthermore, after the death of Mr. Hall, the man who teaches Leah how to fly and becomes a surrogate father to her, she only breaks down and cries once which I found to be highly unrealistic. In fact, I wish Mr. Hall's grief had had a larger impact on Leah herself, opposed to solely having a great impact on his son. Leah was practically a daughter to Mr. Hall and as Leah herself doesn't have a father, I wish her pain and confusion over his death could have been more palpable. If nothing else, I definitely feel as if it would have helped me to understand Leah, a character I found very difficult to connect with, much easier.
Yet, those qualms are easy to overlook in light of what happens next. With Mr. Hall's death, his two sons, Grayson and Alec, proceed to take over his flying company. The twin brothers are mourning not only the death of their father, but their elder brother who died in war as well. Thus, Grayson, boggled down with grief amongst other issues, resorts to blackmailing Leah, forcing her to fly for
Leah and Grayson have had a crush on each other ever since they first met because they are both oh-so-sexy. While they aren't aware of each other's crush, it is very obvious to the reader and thus, there's a large amount of sexual tension between these two but no real development of a relationship, let alone love. I didn't understand how Leah could still like Grayson, even after the blackmail and the fact that he thought she was a whore. Yes, Grayson - along with the rest of the town actually - thinks Leah is a whore. In fact, Grayson accused Leah of sleeping with his own father because Mr. Hall gave Leah free flying lessons and Grayson uses this life-long assumption - that had no basis whatsoever - to coerce her into dating his brother! But, this doesn't matter because Grayson is really hot and Leah still likes him a lot! I'll admit that Grayson did have quite a few scenes where he was genuinely sweet to Leah and it is obvious that Leah and Grayson truly understood each other, which is quite rare in a Young Adult Novel. Yet, it almost felt as if Leah had Stockholm Syndrome most of the time, except with a blackmailer instead of a kidnapper, and her feelings for Grayson were barely explained, except to re-iterate how hot Grayson was.
Echols' romance aside, what frustrated me the most was Leah. While I sympathized with Leah's situation of being poor, a bastard child, and mostly living on her own because her mother took off from time-to-time, I couldn't connect with or understand her actions. Leah is known as the neighborhood slut for being pretty. Yes, that's it! Sure, she dresses skankily and flirts, but that doesn't warrant a reputation like that. Furthermore, Leah does nothing to dispel the stereotype and I hate the manner she's portrayed in the story. Ladies, it is not okay for a guy to blackmail you because he thinks you're a whore. It is not okay for a guy to be pissed off at you for not having sex with him. It is not okay for men to have a pre-conceived notion about you based upon what you wear. It just isn't. One of my many teachers once told me that most women believe the reason they get raped is because they wear short dresses and revealing clothes, but that isn't true. You're allowed to wear what you want and nothing gives a man the right to think you want to sleep with him, to force himself on you, or to believe you're a whore based on your clothing. While Leah never gets raped in this story, I believe the allegory is very similar as the manner in which she is treated is just wrong and even by the end of the novel, that lesson is never learned. I wish Echols had either addressed this issue the way it needed to be spoken about in the novel or had at least changed her character if she didn't want to delve into such deep issues. Perhaps I'm reading too much into this, but the entire manner in which sexuality was looked upon in the story left my stomach rolling in a very bad way.
Such a Rush is a story that many readers will love, but I wasn't one of the them. I hated the underdeveloped romance and side characters and the themes this book exuded were way off the mark. Even Leah's rocky relationship with Molly, the rich girl who befriends Leah as a charity case, was confusing at best and didn't seem to have closure. Furthermore, this book was so dramatic and instead of a real discussion to solve the problems in this story, we get a predictable near-death experience to smooth things over - talk about a cop-out. Plus, I found the plot idea of a brother making decisions for his twin and blackmailing a childhood friend/sweetheart/acquaintance to be vastly unrealistic and just downright strange. I mean, Alec and Grayson are the same age! I understand Grayson's reasons for doing what he did in the novel and I really like his character, with the exception of the manner in which he treated Leah and how Leah still liked him despite all the crap he made her put up with, but at least Alec should have reacted remotely differently in this situation! I appreciate the dynamics between these two brothers, but the main ideas of this novel were simply too out there for me to grasp and connect with. Overall, I wouldn't recommend Such a Rush to people who are on the fence about Echols. If you're an avid fan, you'll most likely love this one, but me? I'm through - this is my last Echols novel for sure.
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