by Katie McGarry
To be published by Harlequin Teen
on November 25, 2013
Source: e-ARC from publisher via NetGalley
Connect with the author: website | Facebook | Twitter.
Summary of the book from Goodreads: 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.My take: Crash Into You and I had as many emotional ups and downs as a YA love triangle. Overall, I did enjoy the book, but to use a car metaphor, some of it was a bit of a bumpy ride for me.
Katie McGarry tells the kinds of stories that many, many teen and adult readers of YA are clamoring for--unflinching and emotionally intense. I applaud her for tackling issues of social class that many other YA books handle in a much more superficial way. Some of her characters endure things that no one should have to -- abusive parents, foster care, bullying, and neglect. In my review of Pushing the Limits, I said that book "teeters on the edge of melodrama." To me, these books always seem to walk a fine line between intense and overwrought, and part of my enjoyment of reading these stores is watching them go to the very, very edge of believability without falling over that edge.
I love Isaiah -- he's my favorite character out of all three books -- and I was very excited to read his story. I had mixed feelings about Rachel. The "poor little rich girl" character is a definitely much trickier to create than the underdog characters that Katie McGarry writes so well. Rachel is given some problems -- a dead sister and a serious case of anxiety -- but those pale in comparison to those of characters like Echo, Noah and Isaiah. Rachel is also saddled with rich, clueless parents and overprotective brothers -- all of whom came off as flat and predictable.
As Rachel and Isaiah bonded over their love of cars, I grew to like Rachel more. I don't know what a carburetor does, but I do love a book that teaches me something new through characters who are passionate about something. The car talk and the racing were, for me, some of the strongest aspects of the book. I also really liked the character of Abby -- a brash yet vulnerable drug dealer and friend of Isaiah.
Toward the middle of the book, I went through a phase of finding Rachel irritating, mostly because I had to hear her say over and over and over that she was "weak." I do understand that her anxiety disorder makes her feel "weak," but I used my kindle's search function to count. She said it a minimum of eighteen times, and I'd had enough. I thought her condition -- and her complicated feelings about her dead sister -- could have been incorporated into the story in a more subtle and interesting way.
By the last quarter of the book, I had fallen in love with the story again. Those last few races and then a bit of no-no-no-after-all this-am-I-going-to-get-an-Allegiant-style-ending anxiety got me emotionally invested. This is why people -- including me -- enjoy these books. Yes, they can be a bit over the top, but in the end, I think most YA fans would rather read a book that makes them feel something than one that just leave them completely unmoved. If you loved Pushing the Limits and Going Too Far, I think you'll also like Crash Into You. There are cameos from all your favorite past characters and Isaiah is still one of my favorites. I really, really wish the next book in the series was going to be about Abby, but it looks like I will have to be patient for that!