Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols ( website | twitter )
Publication Date: July 10, 2012
Publisher: MTV Books (Division of Simon & Schuster)
Target audience: Mature young adult
Keywords: airplanes, flying, high school seniors, romance, strong female characters
Format read: ARC sent to us from Annie at Small Girls, Big Business. (THANK YOU!)
Summary: The only time Leah has felt control in her life is when she is piloting an airplane. And she’s not going to give up that feeling for anyone… not even Grayson, the Hall brother she had on a crush on for the past few years and the one who is currently blackmailing her…
It’s easy to feel spoiled by Jennifer Echols and her writing. Going Too Far? Forget You? Two books that deserve no bookmarks. Two books that are vacation days well spent. The chemistry, the well-developed characters, the omg-sexy moments. It’s like a reader’s paradise. And just when you think it can’t get any better, she does it again with even more conviction, even more punch, weaving in a strong-willed female main character and a lot of mystery, in her newest book: Such a Rush.
Leah has practically raised herself, moving from trailer park to trailer park, with a mother who thinks she is a teenager. At the age of 14, Leah is determined to do something useful with the life she has been dealt and decides she wants to learn to fly airplanes. This is where she finds a place to get away from her home life, and also take control of her future. So it’s not a surprise when, 3 years later, she would do just about anything to hold on to what she loves the most — even if it means allowing herself to be blackmailed by the Grayson, the (hot but reckless) son, of her (now deceased) boss.
As a main character in a young adult world overcome with females, Leah kicks ass. Because she is 1) takes no bullshit 2) knows what she wants and won’t stop until she has it 3) manages to still be vulnerable without any of the “woe is me, I’ll never be pretty enough” crap. Hi, she has much larger problems then her lack of a wardrobe and curly hair. She may have grown up in a trailer park but she’s not going to let anyone get the best of her. (Even though every guy she comes across seems like a grade-A asshole.) Not even Grayson, who she has been silently crushing on for years at this point (despite his many flaws). I loved her drive and her inner thoughts. I felt she deserved so much more than a mother who neglected her and a father who walked away. My heart just wanted a white knight to come and swoop her away and take her somewhere beautiful. (Even though I know she would have never given him the time of day.)
After the first few chapters, the remainder of the book is spread over one very long spring break week. Alec and Grayson Hall are determined to take over their father’s business after he dies unexpectedly, and Leah is roped into working because of Grayson’s blackmailing. I have to say, I was very surprised by his request. It has everything to do with his brother but I was imagining something totally different. Grayson’s demands add so much intrigue to the story, and suspense… I was practically salivating as I sped through the chapters. (Why is he doing this, I kept asking myself!) These characters take on such adult responsibility and feelings during this week, all time and knowledge of age melted away, and I was floating in this extremely high-pressure bubble of three people, vying for control and direction of their lives.
How far will they each go to get what they want?
Echols does an impressive job of crafting her characters and a complex storyline, while keeping every detail, every soundbyte authentic. (The intricacies of flying and airplanes were so well-explained but never took the reader out of the dynamics of the story.) The chemistry and tension between many of the characters (especially Grayson and Leah) blew me away and made me so over anxious for the moments when things would come together sweetly, messily, passionately, or dangerously. Even though the story focuses mostly on Leah and Grayson, there is almost a widescreen lens that opens up this world and its supporting characters in a way that the readers are invested in every one of them to the very end — when we are blown out of this ageless/timeless bubble and brought back to our characters acting their age.
So much can change in a week. This is the electrifying truth in Such a Rush. It’s wild, slow, steady and sort of fulfills every emotion of flying — the highs, the lows, the dependencies, the responsibility, letting the wind take control. Trust. Letting go but remaining aware and precise; it forces you to really be in the moment. And as a reader, I was there until the final page… or at least until I opened the book and started rereading many of my favorite passages the following day. While I have had the pleasure of reading many strong novels this year, there aren’t many I felt the compulsive need to reread in such a hurry.
I’m warning you… Such a Rush is dangerous. You will ignore your husband, bump into a few people as you walk and read, and you will love every delicious moment of it. Echols does what I hope more will do with contemporary fiction; she challenges her readers, creates multi-dimensional relatable storylines that focus on many areas of a character’s life, knows the importance of details, and presents the world with female characters who are brave but flawed.
* Full disclosure: I had already pre-ordered Such a Rush for my Nook before receiving this copy, and after reading, I’m totally ordering a hardcover as well. (If that tells you anything.)