Wednesday, July 11, 2012
SUCH A RUSH by JENNIFER ECHOLS
Publisher: MTV Books
Source: ARC from Estelle (Thanks!)
High school senior Leah Jones loves nothing more than flying. While she’s in the air, it’s easy to forget life with her absentee mother at the low-rent end of a South Carolina beach town. When her flight instructor, Mr. Hall, hires her to fly for his banner advertising business, she sees it as her ticket out of the trailer park. And when he dies suddenly, she’s afraid her flying career is gone forever.But Mr. Hall’s teenage sons, golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson, are determined to keep the banner planes flying. Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she’s leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business — until Grayson betrays her by digging up her most damning secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers — and the consequences could be deadly.
Before anything else, here's a little confession: I don't think I've ever read a JENNIFER ECHOLS before this one. And after reading SUCH A RUSH, I now feel like I need to remedy that because it was just SO GOOD. The book was just as wonderful as I expected it would be based on all my friends' reviews, and I am so grateful to Estelle for lending it to me!
First, the characters! The characters in this book - well, to put it simply, I would want to be their friend in real life. They're believable and complex, real and flawed. And anyone who reads this blog knows I love a good character - so this story already won me over with that particular aspect.
Leah is a strong girl who's focused on achieving her goal of becoming a pilot and will do whatever it takes to get there. I absolutely respect her level of commitment, intelligence and drive - this girl certainly has her goals set and her mind made up about her life.
But that's not the only admirable thing about her - I can totally admire her ability to make the best of her situation in life, even if it's definitely not ideal. My heart broke way more than once as I went on Leah's journey in this novel. With her mother's brand of crazy and an absentee father, living in a trailer park and having to be the adult for most of her life, Leah certainly had hard circumstances to endure... But she managed to rise above them all.
And the boys! Alec deserves a special mention, though he's not my favorite. He's the "golden boy", as mentioned in the summary, and he's good and kind and funny and sweet all throughout his moments. I thought he was pretty cute, objectively speaking, and he definitely added something to the mix.
Grayson, on the other hand, made me swoon multiple times while reading. I fell for him from the first moment he appears in the book, mainly because he's my favorite brand of YA male - broody with heavy responsibilities to handle, a soft heart under a gruff, tough exterior. It broke my heart a couple of times, the stuff he dealt with, and I just wanted to rescue him.
And the romance! I'm always a fan of YA books that feature an authentic romance between two characters - and this book is an exceptional example of that. Leah and Grayson's relationship came across as very natural; I certainly felt the transition from the moment of blackmail, to a tentative acquaintance, to friendship and then to something a little more than that. It certainly made me smile a lot, and I think that JENNIFER ECHOLS has a special talent for making the relationship both tense and romantic all at once.
And the story! There are so many things going on in this story - the blackmail situation, Leah trying to improve her circumstances, the romance - but it's all interwoven together beautifully, like a puzzle where all the pieces fit perfectly. Once I started reading it, I just couldn't stop until I had finished it - it was gripping and had my attention right from the start.
I have nothing else to say but that JENNIFER ECHOLS is certainly a master at her craft - her story is beautiful and unique and relatable and her characters are flawed and real and wonderful. SUCH A RUSH is another beautiful contemporary YA book; it's definitely a must-read for 2012!