Wednesday, October 30, 2013

ARC Review: Crash Into You by Katie McGarry


Title: Crash Into You (Pushing the Limits, #3)

Author: Katie McGarry

Rating: 3 Stars

Release Date: November 26th, 2013

It's no secret that Katie McGarry has constantly transcended my expectations of contemporary romance since her debut last year. While Pushing the Limits is still my favorite of her works, I've found that she manages to take very worn story lines and breath life into them, pulling in character depth and emotion in unexpected areas. Although I didn't connect with Crash Into You nearly as much as I did Pushing the Limits or Dare You To, I cannot deny that it is yet another solid installment that fans of McGarry's novels will thoroughly enjoy. 

Crash Into You is the much-awaited and longed-for love story concerning Isaiah. I speak for most readers, I think, when we expected Isaiah and Beth to receive their own happily-ever-after in the last novel. McGarry, however, truly emphasized just how unhealthy a relationship between these two broken foster children would be and though our hearts broke for Isaiah's broken heart, we knew it was the right decision. Thus, one of the defining elements to Isaiah is his isolation. While he has Noah - his brother by loyalty, if not by blood - he has lost one of his best friends and with his mother fresh out of prison and back in his life, he is lost, confused, and doesn't know where to turn. It's clear with him, even more than with Noah or Beth, just how miserable the foster care system is, but it exposes the gray matter too, not just the black-and-white truth we - and Isaiah - would like to believe.

Isaiah, desperate for money to keep the apartment he and Noah rent together so that Isaiah doesn't have to return to his foster parents, decides to enter the dark world of betting and street racing. We've known about Isaiah's love for cars since Pushing the Limits, so to see him embrace his passion whole-heartedly and do what he loves is invigorating. It is here, though, that he meets Rachel - rich, beautiful, and besotted with cars. Isaiah, rushing to save Rachel from the cruel lords of the street racing world, assumes a large debt in her name and the two are drawn together, both by their mutual attraction and their desire to pay off their debt. I felt as if this plot line was rather extraneous and unnecessary, mostly because there was so much else going on in this book, but it did provide solid - and unique - grounds to build this relationship off of. 

When it comes to Rachel, though, I really love how McGarry introduces a trope subversion of sorts. You see, Rachel is given nearly all the "typical" teenage girl issues. Not only is she classically a virgin (hasn't even kissed a guy), but she is protected by four older brothers. Moreover, it's up to her to sacrifice her happiness and keep their family happy by playing the role of her mother's replacement daughter for the elder sister, Colleen, who died from leukemia before Rachel was even born. What this means is that Rachel's love of cars is kept hushed-up, as is her stage-fright and Rachel must constantly overcome these hurdles to live life on her own terms. McGarry truly empowers Rachel, though, enabling her to find the strength within her to fight for her own happiness without sacrifice; to accept that she doesn't fit into the boxes her family wants her to. What I really love about this theme is the fact that it takes a seemingly weak characters and exposes the fact that she is capable of making her own decisions and fending for herself - if only others will let her. For me, it is Rachel's journey, far more than Isaiah's, that made this book so strong. I did enjoy the fact that Isaiah went through levels of self-discovery, acknowledging qualities about himself that he hadn't previously realized existed, but it lacked the punch that Rachel's far more emotional arc did.

Isaiah, by comparison, is rather disappointing as his narration pummels into a sea of mushy-gushiness that is so uncharacteristic of the guy we've come to know. I feel as if the actual love story within these pages lacked substance. Not only did it progress to "love" quickly (how I hate the use of that word so freely!), but much of the corny dialogue felt forced. And, like its predecessor, this novel takes on a little too much. I wanted certain plot threads to be further explored (Isaiah's relationship with his mother, for instance), but they just weren't. Moreover, while I think McGarry does an excellent job of initiating Rachel into Isaiah's world - befriending his friends, learning his lingo, etc. - the opposite isn't true and I am still left wondering just how this relationship may play out over time. Nevertheless, despite these flaws Crash Into You is an addictive read, one you won't want to put down. McGarry's writing remains one of her greatest strengths as her stories are so very all-consuming and quick. Needless to say, I cannot wait for her next novel - and am so glad she isn't leaving this world behind. I am not through with these characters...not yet.

18 comments:

  1. Though I haven't read other books by this author, I was thinking of reading this one and get started. Great review.

    I also have a book review blog- http://literaturemartini.blogspot.in/

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  2. I'm so sad to her this. I love her works and mostly her books brought be back hope into contemporary reads. Too bad you didn't connect with this one as much as with previous ones but still I'm glad you enjoyed the story. I'll be reading this one this weekend so we'll see how it'll work for me :) Great review Keertana :)

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  3. Bah, instant love is what I'm hearing about this one! Such a shame that Isaiah wasn't that likeable here.

    Lovely review, hun! <33

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  4. I think I enjoyed this one a good deal more than you, but I definitely see where you're coming from with your critique of this installment, Keertana. I think I've just come to expect these flaws from a series like this lol Great honest review :)

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  5. I'm so glad you liked Rachel Keertana, I really loved her as well. I was appalled by her family, they were a sort of horrifyingly fascinating train wreck and I just couldn't understand why they would treat their daughter that way. I'm excited we're going to get more of them in the next book! I'm sorry Isaiah was a bit of a disappointment for you, but I'm with you on Katie's writing. Her books are ones I never want to put down:)

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  6. I'm reading this very soon, so I don't want to read your review until I finish. I'll come back to this. :)

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  7. I can't wait to get to this book. However, I may disagree with you on Isaiah's mushiness (we will see... ) because as I have seen.... the toughest guys usually end up with the mushiest stuff when they fall hard. :D Still, I hope I don't think... way too much. :) I also enjoy her books too. :)

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  8. I was one of the cranky pants people who didn't enjoy PUSHING THE LIMITS (for some reason, it surprises me that you were such a big fan!), so while I haven't ruled out reading another one of the author's books down the road, I'm probably safe in skipping this one. I'm glad you found some things to enjoy about CIY despite your disappointment with others, though.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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    1. Wendy, I'm constantly surprised myself that I enjoyed PTL because it's the type of novel I wouldn't enjoy. I read all the scathing reviews and agree whole-heartedly AND YET I enjoyed it and keep liking this author's work. Weird. I think my enchantment is slowly fading, so I guess the next book in this series will clinch the deal for me about whether or not I'll be continuing with McGarry's work. We'll see.

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  9. I felt lukewarm at best towards the first two books, but I still intend to read this, I just can't seem to help myself. Her characters are always a bit disappointing for me, they are just very predictable. I'm glad Rachel was different, I'm actually very excited about meeting her.
    I had such high hopes for Isaiah, I'm sorry you were disappointed.
    Great review!

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  10. I'm sorry that Isaiah's story wasn't all that you expected it to be, but Rachel sounds like a fantastic introduction to this book. I think that the lack of delving into Isaiah's back story with his mum and his sea of mushy-gushiness wouldn't sit the best with me. But Rachel would definitely make me want to carry on reading this book. Lovely review Keertana, I'm glad that you're still excited about giving McGarry's future books a go!

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  11. I'm reading this next so I only browsed this review (I'll come back for a more thorough reading) but I did see that Isaiah was disappointing to you--that bums me out because I have been SO looking forward to his story after loving him in Pushing the Limits and Dare You To.

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  12. great cover as a ebook cover designer &
    book cover designer that was stunning by me and i was inspired it. thanks for sharing this post

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  13. Aw, I'm sorry you didn't love this book. I still haven't read book two, but going to read it and this one soon. One day. Maybe :D Not too sure about them, but I think the romances sounds sweet. Thank you for sharing your honest review. <3
    Thank you for commenting on my blog. <3
    Love, Carina @ Carina's Books

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  14. I just finished this one and liked it better than you do, it appears. I didn't read your review because I need to write mine before visiting others but I will be back to look at it either here or on GR!

    Although I think some of the things in this book are over the top, unrealistic or DRAMA, one thing that I appreciate about these books is that McGarry doesn't give her characters perfect solutions and endings. Isaiah doesn't magically come into money. He still has to work, as does Noah. Beth is the one who gets the biggest break. But I like that these foster kids have a realistic future, unlike the Perfect Chemistry series where the ends are over the top HEA. Rachel too has a lot ahead though that's a bit different...

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  15. Mushy-gushiness and corny dialogue - oh no! I do remember that PTL featured these weird/corny nicknames ("siren" and "nymph") that drove me nuts. So you have me a bit worried… we'll see :)
    Jen @ YA Romantics

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  16. Wait, WHAT. There's another one?! After Crash Into You, I mean? I don't know if I know this already or not! See, that already has me excited, and I haven't even picked this up yet. :P

    Although this wasn't as strong as Pushing the Limits for you, I'm glad you still found it to be a solid read. I'm definitely looking forward to getting around to it next weekend. I feel the same way about the word 'love' in my books - I find it can often give relationships a false feel if it's introduced too quickly. Still, I'm hoping it won't bother me too much. Great review, Keertana!

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