Take Me Onby Katie McGarry (Website, Facebook, Twitter)
Series: Pushing the Limits #4
Published by HarlequinTEEN on May 27, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary, Family, Love & Romance, Romance, Social Issues, Sports, Young Adult
Source: Tour Company
Amazon • Book Depository • Goodreads
I received this book for free from Tour Company in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Acclaimed author Katie McGarry returns with the knockout new story of two high school seniors who are about to learn what winning really means.
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
The Pushing the Limits series has been the only contemporary young adult series that I’ve looked forward to every new release, starting with the first book that Danny, Pushy, and I got at BEA back in 2012 when we met Katie McGarry. With realistic characters in heartbreaking situations, I’ve been able to relate to them on some level, even though I’m decently far removed from the teenaged years of the main players. Take Me On is no different, and if anything, this one hit a bit closer to home with some of the situations it explored, and I loved it even more because of it.
This book takes place in the three month gap that is fast forwarded through toward the end of book three, Crash Into You, where Rachel is in the hospital fighting to recover from the car accident that resulted after the drag race. Her brother West blames himself for Rachel’s accident since he’s the one who took the money that Rachel needed so desperately, even though he was borrowing it without asking to help his older brother who has a gambling problem. West has always been a problem child–defiant, a bit of a womanizer, smokes weed, fights a lot. And it’s a fight at his private school over his sister Rachel that gets him kicked out for a final time, and his father has had enough. Between West’s temper and his father’s inability to communicate, West winds up leaving the family to forge his own way, which brings him to a new school and to Haley.
Haley is a tough as nails ex-kickboxer who’s family has hit a very hard patch. Since her father’s been out of work, they’re forced to live with her uncle and his family, and the arrangement is less than ideal. She loved to fight, but when she had to defend herself against someone that she never should of had to, she walked away from kickboxing for good–much to the annoyance of her family and her grandfather who owns the gym that she worked out in. Now she’s just trying to apply for every scholarship that she can, desperate to get into a college and be able to afford to go so she can get away from the sorry state of her family. And training West to be a fighter proves to give her just the opportunity that she needs.
From the moment that West and Haley initially cross paths, sparks fly between them. West is cocky and arrogant, sure that he can physically take care of himself and Haley. But Haley is self-reliant and reluctant to trust, especially after all that she’s been through, and she tries hard to keep their relationship strictly a working one. But West is hard to resist and he is persistent, especially when he’s finally seeing how the underprivileged live day in and day out–now that he’s one of them.
I admit that I wasn’t a big fan of West in Crash Into You. I didn’t like the way he treated his sister Rachel, but in Take On Me, you get to see how he’s always felt like he was born as a replacement kid, like he could never measure up. He really grows and changes through the course of this book, and I really enjoyed the ride with him.
Haley’s situation was both familiar to me and heartbreaking. But she is strong, so loyal to her family, and so downtrodden. She just needs someone to lift her up, and West is just the guy to be there for her.
I give Take On Me a five out five. With emotional, intense, and striking writing that I’ve come to expect out of this series, Katie McGarry has written another story that has captured my heart, broken it, and glued it back together. This book is a bit more topical with today’s financial climate, dealing with job layoffs, homelessness, underemployment, and how these things effect the entire family. All of these things underlie the romance and relationships, the conflicts between the families, and they make for a very enjoyable read.
Don’t forget to stop on by my interview with author Katie McGarry for her Take Me On tour stop. You can enter the giveaway while you’re there too!