I’ll admit I wasn’t too keen on a book about Isaiah. After all, he wasn’t the most sympathetic character in the first two books. In a way, it kind of took me by surprise as to how much I did enjoy this book.
From the outside, this is really an unlikely pairing of characters. Isaiah has been bounced around from foster home to foster home. He’s full of anger and angst. His mother has been out of jail for two years, but has not contacted him. Rachel comes from a wealthy middle class family and is surrounded by material things – a nice home, nice clothes, and a very nice little sports car. Rachel’s mother has issues: we’ll get into those later.
The story is told from Isaiah and Rachel’s alternating points of view so we get a chance to be inside that character’s head. Isaiah is so messed up and so very angry, but Rachel is just as messed up. In fact, Rachel’s family has got to be the most dysfunctional family ever. Rachel’s mother is still grieving over the death of her oldest daughter to leukemia over 17 years ago. Rachel is forced to speak at charity events on behalf of her deceased sister and serve as a surrogate daughter. In many ways, Rachel reminds me of a child conceived to be an organ donor. It’s just wrong. No child should have to take on that kind of responsibility in life.
Rachel’s entire family suffers from her mother’s grief. Her brothers walk on eggshells around their mother, never wanting to upset her. The situation has taken a toll on her brothers as well, although not physically. I hated her brothers – they never stood up for Rachel, and when they stole her hard earned money, I felt like screaming.
Rachel suffers from panic attacks, especially before she has to speak at a charity event. She spends a lot of time at these functions. Unfortunately she spends most of the time she is in the bathrooms, throwing up.
In many ways, Isaiah’s mom is emotionally unavailable as well, leaving a very angry young man behind.
The car racing aspect seemed a little forced. I’m not sure that I can believe that a father who did not know how to drive a stick shift would buy such a car for his daughter. It doesn’t seem that realistic. I also did not like Eric story line. Surely a girl from an upper middle class family would find a way to get help.
I adored Abby and how she insinuated herself into Rachel’s life, even going as far as to going to a Goodwill store to buy a used school uniform so that Rachel’s family would accept her. Abby was awesome and I’d love to see a book about her in the future.
It was also nice to see cameo appearances of the other characters from this series. It’s so nice to see them enjoying their little happily ever afters. I can’t wait to read the next book Take Me On, coming out in May, 2014.
Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin Teen for a review copy of this book.
Christal and I discuss this book over at Badass Book Reviews. Check it out!