Review: Crash Into You by Katie McGarry

Saturday, December 14, 2013
Title: Crash Into You
Author: Katie McGarry
Genre: young adult, contemporary
Series: Pushing the Limits
Pages: 489
Published: November 26 2013
Source: publishers via NetGalley
Rating: 3.75/5

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.

With Katie McGarry, you know what to expect when going into one of her Pushing the Limits novels. We all know we will get a swoon worthy boy, a rounded and dimensional female main character, a dramatic romance, and some kind of happy ending when it's all said and done. Along the way there will be ridiculous plot lines (see Eric/$5000), cute moments, cringe-worthy nicknaming, and a lot of fun. 

Despite the flaws to the formula, it really does work for the author. Despite these books always being about 100 pages too long, they are engrossing and readable. The thing is, McGarry makes discovering these new characters so much fun despite the expected (and probably required) happy ending. Crash Into You is finally Isaiah's story -- he has been bit and supporting character before, but here it's his time to shine. And while his story features some of the same struggles as Beth and Noah before him, he really comes to life as a main character. It helps that McGarry writes with real teenage feeling, authenticity, and distinction. Isaiah doesn't sound like Noah before him, and nor does Rachel sound like Beth. 

I will say that for all of McGarry's couples (Noah + Echo, Beth + Ryan), I like these two (Isaiah and Rachel) the most, both together and as individual people. The only problem I have with them once they finally become a couple is the instalove train they immediately board. Oh, boy the instalove. It's frustrating to see an author so talented use such a cheap and easy trick with her characters. Make me see why these two belong together, show me them becoming friends, and then have that blossom, naturally, into more. As much as I like Isaiah and as much as I like Rachel, a love for cars and escaping a street criminal does not a true love make. 

As much as I enjoyed finally getting to read Isaiah's story, it's just too long. Nearly 500 pages for a YA contemporary is straining the limit. (The limit does exist, in this case, Cady.) There is so much that could be cut out, without truly affecting the plot. It's also way too overwrought sometimes. The drama can almost drown the plot, and that gets old, especially when it comes to Rachel's brother's. The final caveat that MUST be mentioned is the nicknaming. "Angel" is slightly better than "nymph" or "siren" but it's just so very very cheesy.

Like the two previous novels, characters from the other books pop into Crash Into You. They play varying levels of importance to the story, but it's fun to get to see Noah and Echo, Ryan, Logan, and Beth interacting with Isaiah and Rachel. For fans of the previous novels, Crash Into You will be just what they expect --- and there is nothing wrong with it. It's a good contemporary novel, if a tad longwinded.

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