Crash Into You (Pushing the Limits 3) by Katie McGarry
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. (Goodreads)
What can I say here except:
OH MY GOSH, YES.
This book brings us back to Isaiah, best friend to Noah (Pushing the Limits) and ex-friend with benefits to Beth (Dare You To). I barely batted an eyelash at Isaiah in previous books but all I can say now is…come to mama. Okay, not really, but I sort of love him.
Isaiah has had it tough, spending much of his life pushed through the foster care system, determined to be fiercely strong because he was often beat up by he kids in group homes. Now his facade is one few would dare cross, from his tough build to his tatted arms, his closely shorn head and his earrings, Isaiah is someone you’d probably not want to run into in a dark alley. Except he really isn’t that guy. Sure he’s strong and he’ll decimate anyone who hurts the few people who are close to him, but looks can be deceiving. He’s got so much more to offer.
Isaiah is living with Noah even though technically he should still be with his foster parents (they don’t care where he lives as long as they get a check). His mom was released from jail two years ago and is just trying to forge a relationship with him, but he’s not having any of that. One night he stumbles upon Rachel, a pretty, rich girl looking for a drag race. He assumes she’s just seeking a thrill, but when things get ugly and the police come, he and Rachel help each other escape. They even share a steamy kiss–sweet, innocent Rachel’s first–before they separate that night.
Rachel has an entirely different set of problems. Her family is overbearing. Before she was born, her sister, Collen, died of leukemia and it tore the family apart. Now they all walk on eggshells trying to keep their mother happy. Rachel is the key to that happiness, born as a replacement for Colleen. Her father and her older brothers all pressure her to become involved in the cancer charity her mom chairs and they want her to makes speeches at every function. Here’s the problem: Rachel has severe anxiety attacks. Her family believes she’s gotten over them and they continue to push her. And worse, she resents Colleen and being built up to be her never quite as good fill-in. All she wants is to work on cars and drive fast.
Isaiah and Rachel become entangled because after the cops were called on the night they met, the man in charge of taking bets on the drag races lost five thousand dollars. He wants Rachel and Isaiah to pay it. Recognizing they’re from two different worlds, Isaiah would normally walk away, but now he has to protect Rachel. And together they have to try to find a way to come up with the money.
I really, really liked this book. It’s been a while since I picked up Pushing the Limits, but I think I may have liked it even better than that one. I felt the situation Rachel was in was so interesting, being born into a family that would never have had you had their first daughter not died. It gave Rachel, someone who was quiet and withdrawn, such depth for me. I understood why she felt boxed in and why she wanted to please her family, and it made so much sense that at the end of the day, all she wanted to do was drive her car fast and escape. And when she discovers that with Isaiah–a guy completely guaranteed to give her family heart failure–she finds she can be herself.
But let’s talk about what I really love: Isaiah. I’m not gonna lie. He can be a bit of a caveman. And I mean that in a good way. He wants nothing more than to protect Rachel and with his physically imposing looks and his tough way of talking (the boy loves the f-word), he can usually carry it off. But there’s a softness to him. He fears letting her get too close to him because in his eyes she’s so perfect and he doesn’t want her to see how screwed up he really is. When he begins, piece by piece to share himself, it’s heartbreaking because you see that he is stepping out in faith even though every time he’s done so in the past (Noah excluded) he’s been burned.
Yes, steam needs its own category, especially in a Katie McGarry book. She does sexual tension so well. Maybe it’s because we get the alternating perspectives of each character, so their inner monologues, their every thought, lets you feel that much closer to them. Or maybe it’s just because she’s quite adept at writing insanely hot guys. I’m not sure. I can tell you that Isaiah is, at first, the opposite of what I generally find physically attractive (even though I love me some bad boys) but holy cow, I really ended up loving him.
This what’s so enticing to me. The steamy scenes really only have kissing and maybe a little over the clothes touching, but nothing too scandalous and they are still somehow sexy sexy. Like, off the charts. It’s amazing to me the number of books that have scenes with more detail that are nowhere near as good as these moments of good, solid kissing. It’s not innocent, sweet pecks or anything; it’s kissing with desire, but still, it’s only kissing. And it’s so good I’ve gone back and reread those scenes multiple times.
Crush Intensity: 4.25/5 This is a good story carried by characters who are so easy to love. I think this is my favorite of the three so far. Next up is Take Me On, the story of West, one of Rachel’s hot-headed brothers. I can’t wait!
Thank you to Net Galley and Harlequin Teen for giving me an e-galley of Crash Into You in exchange for an honest review.