Saturday, 30 October 2010

Going Too Far - Jennifer Echols

Author: Jennifer Echols
Date of release: April 2009
Number of pages: 245
Publisher: MTV Books
Also by this author: Forget You

Book Girl Rating: * * * *

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 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...(

This book’s premise surrounds two characters with mysterious pasts and secrets relating why they are the way there are.  And neither reason is easily guessable – which made the book thoroughly intriguing and captivating.  From Meg’s fierce determination that nothing will tie her to the small town she was born in to John’s belief that nothing will take him away from the town – we’re thrust into this thoroughly believable and complex world of our two leads.  John wants to teach Meg a valuable lesson, but of course, he doesn’t know her very well and she doesn't know him either.  Their secrets and histories remain untouched, until their situation forces them together - with Meg pushing to know why John acts the way he does and John pushing her back; until they eventually drive each other to the point they discover more than they bargained for. 

What particularly intrigued me was the idea, right from the outset, that neither characters feelings could be discovered - they seemed so closed off - let alone Meg and John being able to penetrate each other's.

Both characters were fantastically written.  Meg is this feisty, sassy girl, who knows what she wants.  But as a reader, you can notice that there’s something more going on, why she’s so desperate to get out and won’t be tied down.  Then there’s John, fiercely guarded, handsome and straight-laced – you wonder why he’d ever want to be stuck in a small town with so many opportunities on offer. 

This novel is intelligent and endearing.  Whilst it’s clear that these characters have skeletons in their closets and very complex pasts – something indescribable connects them and draws them closer.  I loved reading their story and how the difficulties they faced eventually brought them together.

But this novel is incredibly romantic in the least cheesy way.  Jennifer is one of my newly found, favourite writers.  Not just because she writes about love in such an honest and open way, but because the characters she writes could be real people – they’re easy to understand, as if they were living in reality.    She’s a wonderful author and I’d recommend her writing to any YA fan, any day of the week! 

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