Review: Crash Into You by Katie McGarry

crashintoyouCRASH INTO YOU (Pushing the Limits #3)
Katie McGarry
Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: November 26, 2013

From the back cover:

From acclaimed author Katie McGarry comes an explosive new tale of a good girl with a reckless streak, a street-smart guy with nothing to lose, and a romance forged in the fast lane

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.

I’ve made no secret of my problem with Katie McGarry’s books. Typically, I find myself immediately drawn into the story and then my interest wanes somewhere around the halfway point (right about where the conflict wanes), only to pick up again with the last few chapters. I’ve liked her books, but I haven’t really found one I loved. I went into CRASH INTO YOU concerned that it would suffer the same fate.

I am very happy to report that it didn’t! CRASH INTO YOU is chocked full of emotional conflict starting on page one and carrying all the way to the final page. Katie McGarry uses the rich girl/boy from the wrong side of the tracks trope beautifully, because she makes it about so much more. Rachel Young has everything she could ever want — money, her own car, and a loving family, but she suffers from severe panic attacks, brought on by trying to be the perfect replacement for the daughter her parents lost to Leukemia. Her family treats her as if she is fragile glass and the only true freedom she has to be herself comes from driving her Mustang.

Isaiah has grown up in the foster care system. His world is nothing like Rachel’s. It’s tough and dangerous and the future for a teenager like him is very bleak. But when a street race gone bad makes Rachel and Isaiah unlikely allies, the two find common ground in each other. Isaiah gives Rachel the strength (and the room) to stand on her own to feet and prove that she is as strong as anyone. Rachel gives Isaiah the belief in himself that he’s always lacked.

All of Katie McGarry’s previous characters — Noah, Echo, Beth, Ryan, Logan — make an appearance here and we also get the chance to meet some new ones, most notably Abby (Isaiah’s friend) and Rachel’s brothers. I loved how Katie McGarry was able to make Abby an extremely likable and sympathetic character despite the fact that she’s caught up in dealing drugs to survive. And it looks like we’ll be getting a spin-off with Rachel’s brothers, so I look forward to that as well.

While I would have liked to see Isaiah’s relationship with his mom explored a little more, CRASH INTO YOU is a rich, emotional, beautifully drawn young adult romance that keeps you engrossed from beginning to end. If you’ve enjoyed Katie McGarry’s other books, you’ll love this one, and if you haven’t yet read anything by Katie McGarry, well, I think you’ll love this one as well.

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