Monday, November 9, 2009

Book Review: Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols

Title: Going Too Far

Author: Jennifer Echols

Pages: 245

Where I got it: Amazon



All Meg has ever wanted is to get away. Away from high school. Away from her backwater town. Away from her parents who seem determined to keep her imprisoned in their dead-end lives. But one crazy evening involving a dare and forbidden railroad tracks, she goes way too far...and almost doesn't make it back.

John made a choice to stay. To enforce the rules. To serve and protect. He has nothing but contempt for what he sees as childish rebellion, and he wants to teach Meg a lesson she won't soon forget. But Meg pushes him to the limit by questioning everything he learned at the police academy. And when he pushes back, demanding to know why she won't be tied down, they will drive each other to the edge -- and over....

As you all know by now, I am not a fan of romance. I'll read a book with romantic elements--because, frankly, how many books these days don't have it?--but I generally veer away from books centered around a romantic relationship. But after reading some positive reviews, I thought I'd give it a try.

17-year-old Meg is your typical reckless small town teenager. One night, she and her friends (including her jackass boyfriend Eric) drunkedly decide to "do it" on the forbidden railway bridge. Condemned by the weaksauce police department, it's rumored that years ago two teenagers died on these very tracks. They're busted by Officer John After, whose life mission seems to be patrolling this bridge and break down on any horny teenagers who make their way on it. Meg's punishment? Ride in John's--whose only 19 years old--police car for a week--during her Spring break.

Despite the simplicity of the plot, the characters that make it are extremely complex individuals. Meg, tortured by her severe claustrophobia, wants more then anything to leave her small Alabama town. This is the reason she refuses to grow close to anyone, to make any plans but for college--she wants no ties, nothing to hold her down, nothing to turn her into her redneck, diner-running parents. Until the day when she can pack her bags and leave, she's living it up--sex, drinking, partying. You know, the usual.

While Meg already has one foot out the door, John has decided to stay. To serve and protect the town, and the dangers of The Bridge. While his reasoning isn't always so clear, he refuses to budge. At 19, he thinks his life is planned. And then he meets Meg.

For 5 days, John and Meg sit in that police cruiser, searching for where the other is vulnerable and poking relentlessly. They push each other until secrets are revealed, and they keep pushing until boundries are dissolved. Pushing, pushing and pushing still until they end up--say it with me now--going too far.

(Oh, how cliche it sounds when I write it. Maybe I should just stop with my little ad-libbed summaries, because I always make these books sound like crap. Okay, so, shut up Danielle)

This is one of those books that can really drive a reviewer up the wall. One of the major--I'm talking may-jer--plot points (that really explain half the book) is so spoiler-rific that I would risk tainting all of my follower's reading experience if I were to reveal it.

So, here is your spoiler-free review:

I loved Going Too Far.

This is such a beautifully written book. The attention to detail, the lyrical prose, the characters in general just gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling. The contrast of characters--and their relationships with each other--is particularly moving. There's this cliche Clash of Personality that comes across as so unique and different that I honestly didn't even think about it until I was finished.

By detail, I mean detail--as in, the kind of detail wives wish their husbands would notice. In a very subtle way, Echols builds on this thinly masked sexual tension with Meg and John spitting out different things they notice about the other--like John know exactly what shade of purple the strand of hair in the back of Meg's head is. Or that Meg notices how John and his friends always say "Police Academy" like they're making fun of it. These are things one picks up while observing someone...a lot. Say, five straight nights worth?

My only issue? How cliche the general reaction is. At least where Meg is concerned. Small town girl rebelling until the days when she can move on to greener pastures is not exactly revolutionary thinking. Meg is in no way a cliche character, but she has her moments. You know, judging each boy she meets first and foremost by their hotness factor. Uses jokes to cover up discomfort. Smelling the damn boy's cologne? For reals?

Oh, how I want to spoil you right now. It's such a vital role I can't find the words to describe this book without just SPILLING IT OUT. Maybe this relfects my abilities as a reviewer, but there it is.

Overall, I completly fell in love with Going Too Far. It touches the barest of human emotions with a grace and wit that makes writing truly look easy. I suggest it HIGHLY.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Also: Has anyone noticed how photoshopped the cover is? Look at the barbel in the girl's eyebrow, closely.


Sara said...

I'm glad you liked it! It is one of my all-time favs! :)

I'm a big fan of romance - so this book definitely appealed to me. The Jennifer Echols built the tension between the characters perfectly! :)

BookWhisperer said...

I agree I loved this book also....

Jenny said...

This is a great review!

With the eyebrow thing, you mean the fact that it's not really there?

crystaljade said...

Great review. I've been looking for something to read that isn't about cheerleaders or nerds. I'll definitely give this a try.

Caitlin said...

I haven't heard of this book yet! Thanks for the review and suggestion. It's now going on my To Read list!

miss cindy :) said...

it sounds great :)

Alyssa Kirk @ Teens Read and Write said...

Great review! Sounds good, I've never heard of it. Thanks!

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