Size Doesn’t Matter (56): Please Don’t Tell & Such a Rush

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.

Size Doesn’t Matter (56): Please Don’t Tell & Such a RushPlease Don't Tell by Laura Tims
Published by HarperTeen on May 24, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book Depository

Debut author Laura Tims writes an intense and utterly gripping contemporary YA tale perfect for fans of Pretty Little Liars. Joy has done everything to protect her twin sister...including murder.

Joy killed Adam Gordon for what he did to her sister, Grace. At least, that’s what she thinks happened. Now Adam can’t hurt anyone ever again, and her sister can be free from the boy who harmed her.

But someone else knows what Joy did, and they’re going to out her as a cold-blooded killer if she doesn’t expose the scandalous secrets bubbling just below the surface of her mundane town. As the demands escalate, and she finds herself falling for Adam’s half brother, Joy must figure out the blackmailer’s identity before everything spirals out of control.

Since thrillers aren’t really my thing and several of the last few I’ve tried have had the same basic formula, I wasn’t too sure about Please Don’t Tell. However, I’m really glad I gave this debut a shot, because Please Don’t Tell differed a bit from the other thrillers I’d read and had really interesting characters.

When I say Please Don’t Tell differed, oddly, I’m not really talking about the plot. I actually predicted who the blackmailer was very early on, so that wasn’t a surprise at all. However, the way that the plot unfolded made everything really intense and the book a page-turner despite being pretty sure the whole time that things would unfold the way that they did. Also, Tims ended the book in a way I didn’t expect, even though the blackmailer was who I thought. View Spoiler »

Often, I really hate the way authors keep secrets from the reader in mysteries, in ways that end up making the characters feel very artificial. Tims does a great job unfolding the plot in a realistic way without being plain withholding. Because Joy blacked out during the events in question and her POV is the current timeline, she and the reader legitimately don’t know what happened at the party where Adam died. Grace knows, but her timeline is all backstory. Initially, I greatly preferred Joy’s POV, but Grace’s gets more exciting as that timeline catches up to the current one. In general, I think Tims did a pretty good job with the dual POVs, and that this definitely was an effective way to tell this story.

My one disappointment, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for some readers, is that the romance didn’t really pan out. There are two reasons this bothers me, aside from me just being pro ships in general. First, Joy and Levi have a really cute connection, and I thought he was really good for her. He is, by the way, my favorite character by far, because he’s bantery and awkward and adorable and completely not stereotypical. Obviously, I would have really liked this interracial romance (he’s half-Vietnamese) to pan out. Even more than just thinking they were a really good couple, it felt like their romance was his main reason to be in the book. He’s really only plot relevant in relation to Joy, so, with the odds of their romance picking up after the events of their book being fairly low, I’m not really sure what he was doing here (aside from bringing the awesome). Still, I recognize my own biases as a reader here, and this likely will not strike other readers the same way.

Please Don’t Tell may not have shocked me, but it’s a page-turner of a thriller and a fantastic debut.

Size Doesn’t Matter (56): Please Don’t Tell & Such a RushSuch a Rush by Jennifer Echols
Published by MTV Books on July 10, 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 325
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gifted
AmazonThe Book Depository

Heaven Beach, South Carolina, is anything but, if you live at the low-rent end of town. All her life, Leah Jones has been the grown-up in her family, while her mother moves from boyfriend to boyfriend, letting any available money slip out of her hands. At school, they may diss Leah as trash, but she’s the one who negotiates with the landlord when the rent’s not paid. At fourteen, she’s the one who gets a job at the nearby airstrip.

But there’s one way Leah can escape reality. Saving every penny she can, she begs quiet Mr. Hall, who runs an aerial banner-advertising business at the airstrip and also offers flight lessons, to take her up just once. Leaving the trailer park far beneath her and swooping out over the sea is a rush greater than anything she’s ever experienced, and when Mr. Hall offers to give her cut-rate flight lessons, she feels ready to touch the sky.

By the time she’s a high school senior, Leah has become a good enough pilot that Mr. Hall offers her a job flying a banner plane. It seems like a dream come true... but turns out to be just as fleeting as any dream. Mr. Hall dies suddenly, leaving everything he owned in the hands of his teenage sons: golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson. And they’re determined to keep the banner planes flying.

Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she’s leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business—until Grayson betrays her by digging up her most damning secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers—and the consequences could be deadly.

The slut-shaming is strong with this one. I can’t say it was a huge surprise given what I’d heard about Jennifer Echols, but also I was still taken aback, since it’s been a long time since I read a YA book that was so proudly slut-shamey.

What surprises me most, I guess, is how  much it had to recommend it. I expected Such a Rush to be just terrible, but, aside from the slut-shaming and the melodrama, it was actually pretty good. The voice was decent, albeit not great. The ship had a lot of promise. What really shone, though, was Leah’s relationship with flying. So, all told, Such a Rush wasn’t quite terrible, but it’s bogged down with the sort of stuff you see in an average new adult novel.

But yeah, the melodrama is strong with this one. The whole thing is a pointless love triangle between brothers. I say pointless because literally the one side has no chemistry, and the whole premise that Grayson has been into Leah for years but is bribing her to date Alec makes no fucking sense. And then the fractured relationships (with Grayson, Alec, and Molly) are resolved by a plane crash. This is not how you resolve emotional arcs properly. It’s just not.

Despite being a surprisingly engaging read, ultimately Such a Rush cares more about drama and slut-shaming than it does about strong emotional arcs. It’s a shame, because there are some good bones underneath that.



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