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.