Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #43: Crash into You

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #43: Crash into YouCrash into You by Katie McGarry
Series: Pushing the Limits #3
Published by Harlequin Teen on November 26, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 474
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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From acclaimed author Katie McGarry comes an explosive new tale of a good girl with a reckless streak, a street-smart guy with nothing to lose, and a romance forged in the fast lane

The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life-that's who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers...and she's just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can't get him out of her mind.

Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look.

But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they'll go to save each other.

Recommended by: Dana of Little Lovely Books

Katie McGarry helped me discover a love of contemporary fiction with her first book Pushing the Limits. Though it wasn’t her book alone, it was a crucial part of a string of good ones that made me find respect and love for a genre I previously shunned. There’s a lot of what made McGarry’s other novels such hits for me in Crash into You, but also some elements that had me rolling my eyes. Crash into You comes in as my least favorite McGarry book thus far, but has not impacted my desire to read every book McGarry writes.

The novel opens with the two love interests and their mother issues. Isaiah’s mother wants to contact him for the first time since her release from prison two years ago; Rachel’s mother wants her to perform a speech to help raise money for cancer research, despite Rachel’s anxiety. The combination of Isaiah’s frustration with his mother and his concern over hearing that Noah’s planning to live in a dorm, leaving Isaiah with no option but to go back to his foster family, drives Isaiah over the edge, literally. Isaiah decides to go race cars for money, something he never risked before because he might end up at Eric’s beck and call. Rachel also ends up there, since driving makes her feel calm and she loves speed. Tonight, they’re racing for pink slips.

While this was hilarious to me, it’s also a pretty different premise than I’ve seen in YA, so I’m cool with it. Rachel’s love of cars and the fact that she knows almost as much about them as Isaiah, who’s a skilled mechanic, is awesome. Despite their superficial differences, that gives Isaiah and Rachel something to really bond over. Unfortunately, that’s not how the romance happens. The two instalove all over each other immediately. Before she even knows him, this sheltered girl without a single friend senses that Isaiah’s trustworthy beneath the tattoos and piercings and she immediately becomes his “angel.”


In her two previous novels, McGarry went for a hate to love romance arc in varying degrees. Here, though, she’s varying, which might be a good thing, but doesn’t work so well for me as a reader. In true instalove fashion, every single line delivered by either Rachel or Isaiah with regards to their relationship is incredibly cheesy. For example, Isaiah delivers this chestnut:

Forty-eight hours have officially passed since I met Rachel. I’ve thought about her; her beauty, her laughter, that shy smile, our kiss. She discovered a deep hole in my chest and somehow filled it with her existence. Now she’s gone, leaving me alone, leaving me hollow.

Any aspect of the book about the romance features writing like this. There are also all the predictable romance clichΓ©s: his protectiveness, her innocence. His eyes are described as silver and hers as violet, in case we didn’t understand what special snowflakes these two really are. Though McGarry still excels at writing swoony kissing scenes, otherwise, the romance in Crash into You really left me cold. Noah was a pretty fluffy bad boy, but Isaiah’s even more of a squishy marshmallow inside. Rachel has an excuse for her softness and, to be fair, she also instafriends with Abby, but Isaiah was even cheesier than Rachel.

hopelessly devoted

All of that set aside, I really enjoyed most of the rest of the book. Katie McGarry focuses on family issues as well as romance, and she does a great job showing the many kinds of fucked up families can be. Though it sadly takes the romance to do it, both Isaiah and Rachel have solid character arcs in dealing with their families and friends that I really appreciated.

Isaiah has his lingering mom issues and those with Beth, with whom he was previously in love. Before he met Rachel, he was on the edge of a precipice where he could either make the safe choices or burn out because that’s what’s expected of him. He has to learn to value himself, and, actually, he takes the more stereotypically female role in the romance novel, since he finds his value through Rachel. Particularly touching in Isaiah’s story line is the development of his relationship with his social worker, Courtney.


On the other hand, Rachel finds strength within herself, though Isaiah does inspire her in some ways to be brave. Her arc has a lot more self-motivation when it comes right down to it. Rachel goes from a weak fluffy bunny to someone who recognizes her own power. I liked that, though Rachel’s life seems perfect on the surface given that she’s a beautiful girl who lives in a veritable mansion, she’s very much not the ideal. Her panic attacks are so severe that she’s ended up vomiting blood and had to be hospitalized, which gave her a bad reputation at school. In meeting Isaiah, she had the chance to be someone else and sort of wipe the slate clean.

better shape up

Rachel’s family has a lot of problems that wealth can’t fix. Her parents can buy all five living kids their own fancy cars and phones, but that doesn’t make up for the loving support that the children require. Both parents are stuck in the past, mourning their daughter who died of leukemia. Rachel’s meant to be her replacement, to be the perfect daughter they lost, and to live her life raising money to fight cancer, which stole the life of a sister she never even met. For the past few years, Rachel has been hiding her panic attacks, because no one wants her to be who she is. The next book is about one of Rachel’s brothers, and it will be interesting to see what lasting effect these events have on the family.

Oh, also, there was a total scene stealer in Crash into You. Initially, I wasn’t too wild about drug-dealing Abby, but I LOVED her by the end. She’s so weird and honest and surprisingly soft once you get to know her. At this point, I basically ship her with everyone, and, if she does not get her own book, I shall mourn or write fan fiction or something.

eat your heart out

Moving back to what I found frustrating, this book got melodramatic to the same degree as Pushing the Limits, and perhaps even more so. Isaiah and Rachel are under threat of rape/torture if they don’t get the money to pay this Isaiah guy back money they didn’t even steal the entire time. Then, at the end, things get even more ridiculous. View Spoiler »

driving away

Though Crash into You wasn’t the best McGarry novel for me personally, I’ll definitely keep reading every single one of her books without doubt. Readers who liked Pushing the Limits more than Dare You To will probably have a better experience with Crash into You than I did. A lot will depend on how you feel about the romantic arc between Isaiah and Rachel. Even if you’re not into that, though, the other elements of the plot still made this a worthwhile read for me.

Favorite Quote:

It’s ending too soon and I don’t want it to. I’m not good at this. I’m not smooth or good with words or good with guys or good with people. I’m silent. I blend in. How do I make this not go away?

Up Next:

The Hunger Pains

The next Sadie Hawkins Sunday book will be The Hunger Pains, a parody of The Hunger Games by The Harvard Lampoon. This isn’t something I would ordinarily pick up for myself, but it’s short, so hopefully it will be fun! This one was recommended by Risa.

Want to tell me what to read? Fill out the following form with a suggestion! For more details, check this post.

21 responses to “Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #43: Crash into You”

  1. Whitley says:

    Those Grease gifs made this the highlight of my night. And, thanks to that, I’m now comparing that first quote to Grease. There’s not much in the world that can make Grease sound less cheesy, but that sure did it.

    • Christina Franke says:

      This one definitely took the cheesiness crown for the series. It’s hard for me to even think of Isaiah as a bad boy now that I’ve been in his head.

  2. Angie F. says:

    I love Grease! πŸ˜€

    Anyway, this one is actually my favorite of the series! I did like Pushing the Limits a heck of a lot more than Dare You To, so maybe you’re on to something there.

    I do agree that the romance was kind of cheesy at times, but I loved it! I also have a thing for car plots as a huge Fast and the Furious fan. πŸ™‚
    Angie F. recently posted…Review: Bold Tricks (Artists, #3) by Karina HalleMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Ha, I think I may be on to something. Dare You To was my favorite one of the bunch. Much less melodrama and the romance was fantastic.

      I’m not a huge car person either, and I haven’t seen any of the Fast and the Furious movies.

  3. Bookworm1858 says:

    I adore your Grease gifs so much! This was my least favorite, way below DYT, which is still my favorite. Since Abby isn’t the heroine for book 4, I hope she will be for book 5. Do you think she’ll be paired with Ethan as she seems to have a crush on him?
    Bookworm1858 recently posted…Ramblings and the Week to Come 17NOV13My Profile

  4. Nara says:

    I definitely agree that there were some melodramatic and cliched moments in Crash Into You, and the whole criminal underground aspect was also a bit cheesy, but for some reason, those things didn’t affect how I viewed the book. I still quite enjoyed reading it. I mean, those things would’ve been really annoying in other books, but I didn’t mind in CIY, maybe because there were other more engaging aspects of the plot? Don’t know.

    I have to say that DYT is my favourite- probs because of the lack of bad boy. I like my fictional guys nice haha.
    Nara recently posted…Introducing: The Rainbow Rowell Read-a-Thon!My Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Yeah, my rating’s sort of a mess. I just threw a dart at the wall basically. I had a definite love/hate thing going on with this book. I mean, it’s still Katie McGarry, so it’s exciting and feelsy and hard to put down, but I also was not about the romance.

      Dare You To was my favorite one as well. Ryan was super nice and swoony and the issues in it were closest to being ordinary real life issues.

  5. Alessandra says:

    I couldn’t help it and had to read the spoiler. I’m not sure I can stand this amount of melodrama. And the silver/violet eyes, really? Argh. I’m not sure I’m going to read this.
    Alessandra recently posted…Book review: Sia by Josh GraysonMy Profile

  6. Kim W. says:

    Those Grease gifs are the best, especially the electrifying one. I think I like Grease more in these gifs than the movie itself lol.
    I don’t plan on reading this book because I really don’t like those sappy insta-love quotes, like the one you included from Isaiah. I also read the spoiler (couldn’t help myself, as always) and it annoyed me because of that fake thing you mentioned (trying to be vague here). So probably best if I passed on this one.
    Kim W. recently posted…Review: Monstrous BeautyMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Hahaha, gifs are the best, even for things you don’t like.

      Sometimes I spoiler things that aren’t all that spoilery, but this one is epic in its spoilertude. Yeah, I hate those fake outs quite a lot. *sighs*

  7. Katie says:

    Even more melodramatic than PUSHING THE LIMITS is hard to imagine. LOL! I still haven’t read the second book or this one yet, but I will. Eventually! haha
    Katie recently posted…If Shatter Me, by Tahereh Mafi Were a KDramaMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Yeah, you wouldn’t think so, but…totally possible. Dare You To has been my favorite so far. Hope you like them!

  8. Meg says:

    I am lukewarm on Katie McGarry *ducks and hides from projectiles*

    I thought the other ones were the highest level of corny I could stand and keep reading, so if this one is worse I will probably throw up. I love the premise though, so maybe I’ll pick it up if I see it on sale somewhere. I don’t know. I hate leaving series unfinished (I know they aren’t technically a series, but my brain has categorized them as such)

    I do like the gender swap of their relationship roles. Nice touch.

    If you write fanfiction, I will read it, FYI.

    Hmmm, I liked Pushing The Limits a lot more than Dare You To (idk, that book irked the shit out of me) so maybe there’s hope for this one. We shall see. I’m not feeling a burning desire to rush out and get it.

    • Christina Franke says:

      Nah, I will not throw anything at you for that. If you start talking smack about Jane Austen or Newsflesh or Mistborn or something, then we will have words, but I’m not to “cut a bitch” levels of love for McGarry. :-p

      Pushing the Limits was pretty corny, but I really liked it at the time. It might be a lower rating for me on a reread. Dare You To was much less so, compared to the others at any rate. I kind of want to send this to you and watch your mind implode from the cheese overdose. You’re not lactose intolerant, are you? It could be dangerous.

      My guess is the gender swap wasn’t intentional, but it’s totally there.

      Bahaha, I don’t actually finish writing anything. Well, I do have one short story if it’s not lost with my old computer.

  9. See I way preferred Dare You To and I couldn’t even get past the 20% mark of Crash Into You. The instalove and melodrama were just way too much and I didn’t like it at all. All of the “angel” talk was so poorly done. I really feel like McGarry wrote this book without even thinking.
    Alyssa @ Swept Away By Books recently posted…Book Review: Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2) by Laini TaylorMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Eh, I think she was thinking. See, a lot of people who really loved Pushing the Limits had issues with Dare You To, so I think she went to the other side, using another bad boy, but making him even more of a softie and upping the melodrama. Dare You To was a bit darker, not necessarily in subject matter than the others, but it didn’t get nearly as fluffy as the rest and that clearly wasn’t what much of her audience wanted.

  10. I am having such a HARD TIME with this one. Probably some of it is because I haven’t read DYT or PTL yet. Rachel is boring and Isaiah is anything but swoon-worthy. I’m going to force my way through this one mainly because I wanted it SO BADLY before I got it.

    Although hearing that it’s pretty cheesy makes me cringe big time. Also cars bore me.All this car talk makes me yawn.
    Alexia @ Adventures in Reading recently posted…Stacking the Shelves #19My Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Oh yeah, this one’s maybe not the best place to start, especially based on the reviews of the former books.

  11. I’m still super jealous about you getting the ARC for this but it’s a bummer that you didn’t like this one as much as the others. Putting into Sadie Hawkins Sunday was to bump it up on your list so I could read your review. πŸ™‚ Now that I know to expect melodrama, I will probably like it ok. Great review, as always, Christina!
    Dana (Little Lovely Books) recently posted…Hate List by Jennifer Brown {Thoughts On}My Profile

  12. Ellis says:

    Let’s do this. Reading a review for the third book in a series I haven’t even started yet. I’m taking a page from Meg’s book. But these are more companion novels, aren’t they?

    Oooh, she likes to drive? I love that! Mac from the Fever series used to do that all the time. She was a complete nerd when it came to cars. She often went for a drive when she needs to clear her head, which is what I sometimes do as well.

    Fucking instatrust. I have had it. It’s even worse than instalove because OMG that shit takes time.

    That quote is just du fromage all over. This makes me sad πŸ™ Sure, maybe she wanted to feature a more sensitive male protagonist but this is taking it too far.

    It doesn’t surprise me that she has panic attacks. The level of perfectionism that’s forced on her just breeds this. I hate it – absolutely HATE LOATHE DESPISE it – when parents compare their children to one another and expect them to all follow the example of the brightest sibling star. This isn’t healthy at all.


    I don’t like the sound of these books turning melodramatic towards the end. Pushing The Limits finally arrived this week and now I’m wary.

    HA HA The Hunger Pains
    Ellis recently posted…Rewind Review – Every Which WayMy Profile

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