Series: Pushing the Limits #4
Also in this series: Crash Into You
Author: Katie McGarry
Series: Pushing the Limits #4
My Rating: 4 Stars
Good Reads Rating: 4.18 Stars
Content Rating: 17+ (heavy language, violence, abuse, sex)
Genre: YA Contemporary/Romance
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Good Reads Summary:
Champion kickboxer Haley swore she’d never set foot in the ring again after one tragic night. But then the guy she can’t stop thinking about accepts a mixed martial arts fight in her honor. Suddenly, Haley has to train West Young. All attitude, West is everything Haley promised herself she’d stay away from. Yet he won’t last five seconds in the ring without her help.
West is keeping a big secret from Haley. About who he really is. But helping her-fighting for her-is a shot at redemption. Especially since it’s his fault his family is falling apart. He can’t change the past, but maybe he can change Haley’s future.
Hayley and West have agreed to keep their relationship strictly in the ring. But as an unexpected bond forms between them and attraction mocks their best intentions, they’ll face their darkest fears and discover love is worth fighting for.
If you’re looking for teen angst with heavy romance, you’ll love Katie McGarry. Her characters always have really horrible life situations that they have to work through, and her couples are always interesting pairs. Yes it’s high on angst, but what else were you expecting from this genre?
Haley is a national title holding kick boxer. But due to a really bad breakup, she can’t fight anymore. This is a problem when she is attacked on her way home (in a really bad neighborhood); but some guy comes to her rescue…sort of. He does his best to help but gets knocked out in the process. West Young is spoiled rich kid who’s gotten expelled from his snooty private school for fighting. But he doesn’t stand a chance against trained fighters. By defending Haley’s honor, he gets himself caught up in a feud that could literally kill him. Haley agrees to train West when he is challenged to a match by Haley’s ex-boyfriend, and Haley doesn’t think he’ll make it out alive. On top of that, his dad has kicked him out of the house and he’s sleeping in his car. Haley’s home situation is even worse, as she and her family live with her uncle, who is the devil incarnate. Despite these hardships, Haley and West can’t deny their attraction to each other, and romance blossoms as the get to know one another.
There’s a lot going on here. McGarry does a great job with creating a story, and then weaving romance into it. Certainly the romance is the driving force of the book, but there is so much happening with Haley’s family and their relationship with her uncle, Haley trying to get into college, West and his relationship with his family, dealing with PTSD, etc. There were plenty of times where I would be like “I would go buy a gun and shoot this person, because they are literally Satan.” I’m not ashamed. That’s another McGarry does well; she makes her bad guys bad. Really bad. Not just, “hmm, I feel like taking over the world today” bad, but like “I shoot puppies for fun and eat hopeful dreams for breakfast” bad.
It’s amazing to see these two kids survive some of the situations they did. I know this stuff happens every day and I’m so blessed to not have to be one of those people. This book will make you thankful for a lot. For example, I’m so glad that I don’t have to sleep in my car. West and Haley have to over come a lot; it’s such a relief to reach the end of the book, because I don’t know if I could have taken much more of their ridiculous hardships.
There are plenty of swoon worthy moments as well. McGarry knows how to write romance, and there is no lack here. I don’t think I necessarily liked West and Haley as much as some of her other couples (Noah and Echo, Rachel and Isaiah), but they were still very sweet. Rachel and Isaiah pop up some in this book, since West is Rachel’s idiot younger brother who stole money from her in Crash Into You. It’s so funny to see Isaiah from someone else’s viewpoint, because you get such a biased view from Rachel in Crash Into You, but no one else likes him. Except for Abby.
Abby. She’s a trip. I love how crazy she is. I hope she gets her own book, because she is honestly one of the more interesting side characters, and she deserves a some happiness. She pretends to be all tough and mean, but she has a big heart, especially where her friends are concerned. I think she’s a great character.
I really like this series. The stories are generally pretty predictable, but so enjoyable. Great for fans of Simone Elkeles Perfect Chemistry series.