Sunday, 10 April 2011

Review: Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols

High school senior Meg revels in being a rebel. She sports choppy blue hair, and tight t-shirts, cuts class, and is often found where she's not supposed to be. Like hanging out on a railroad-tracks-covered bridge that's off-limits to trespassers. When she and her friends are busted for trespassing and underage drinking, she's sentenced to spend her spring break riding along with a rookie police officer on his nightshift patrol. Compounding the punishment is the fact that the cop, John After, is only two years older than Meg, and a former classmate to boot. He thinks he has Meg's number and has nothing but contempt for her childish rebellion. Meg in turn has nothing but contempt for Officer After's straight-laced, by-the-book attitude. But Meg has her reasons for lashing out, and John has his reasons for his need for law and order. And they're about to discover that they have a lot more in common than either one of them could have dreamed... 

What I liked
  • This book was completely different to what I expected - in a good way. I thought I knew YA romances: they were either the paranormal kind, where the heroine meets a supernatural boy, falls madly in love at first sight and then has to fend off the outside forces that want to keep them apart. Or they were rom-coms, which involve some embarrassing encounters and a wacky misunderstanding or two, before our adorable leads realise they are meant for each other. Going Too Far is a fun read and has characters you root for but they aren't too cute or too melodramatic: They're just messed-up teens who have to learn how to treat each other right. But that is compelling in itself, because the conflict comes from the characters and their own hang-ups - not from contrived situations.
  • Meg is a three-dimensional heroine. She's flawed, says and does the wrong thing a lot, but you can always understand her and where she's coming from, even if you don't agree with her. She's also got blue hair. That's just cool. 
  • This book is actually about working-class folks, who have to plan realistic life goals which are within their means to have. TV, movies and yes, unfortunately some books, can often make it seem that teens are either choosing between Harvard and Yale or working at the local McDonalds. Meg wants to run restaurants - it's an ambition, but it's also plausible and attainable given her background. 
  • Echols really knows how to write a kissing scene. And a touching scene. And a staring scene.  And a (gulp) naked scene. Some of these will be getting a re-read.

What I didn't like
  • There wasn't really anything I disliked about this book. I have a thought that isn't entirely positive, but it doesn't take away from my enjoyment of the story: I think, ultimately, Meg and John probably wouldn't last more than 3 months as a couple. Still too much baggage and still a lot of growing up to do. However, I do think they'd always think of each other fondly. Just like me and this book.

  •  Sexy, fun, romantic but realistic.

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