Author: Katie McGarry
My rating: ❤❤❤❤❤
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Release date: May 27th, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Summary: 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.
My thoughts: Haley is a fighter. Or, at least she used to be. She has a really sucky home-situation; she lives with her awful uncle who treats her like trash, since her father lost his job and they lost their house. Fi she isn’t home by curfew, her uncle doesn’t let her in, and she has to sleep on the street. Her father is depressed. Her brother and cousin hate her for refusing to fight anymore.
After her last relationship ended badly, she’s afraid of falling in love again. She’s also afraid of letting people in. She locks all of her emotions up, doesn’t talk to anyone about them, because she feels like she needs to take care of her family, since her parents doesn’t. She’s very protective of the people she cares about, and she especially tries to protect them from Matt, her ex-boyfriend and a fighter.
I liked Haley. She’s a caring, protective girl, and although sometimes she was a little slow to realize things, and, while trying to protect the people she care about, hurt them, without realizing it, I can forgive her for that. I really respect someone who takes care of her family, even when she’s not the one who should take care of them. Her parents should. She’s selfless, and does things to help others, even when it hurts her. I hurt with her. She’s a strong girl, and a great person, but she doesn’t realize it, and it takes a while for her to really act strong.
Haley’s a really real, relatable character, and although she made mistakes, she learned from them, and, in the end, learned to fight for her own happiness. She really grew throughout the book.
West Young has it all; money, good looks, and charm. A seemingly perfect family. But behind closed doors, his family isn’t as perfect as they seem. His father is barely home. His mother is still grieving her first daughter, Colleen’s, death. His brother is a gambling addict. His sister is in the hospital and may never walk again. And West thinks it’s his fault. He failed her.
So when he meets Haley, he’s determined to never fail her, to make up for his past mistakes. He is very impulsive and has quite the temper. He doesn’t act rationally, but on emotions. This, eventually, gets him kicked out by his father, and he has to learn how to survive without the privileges of being a Young. He has to start at a public school after being expelled from his posh private school. This also happens to be the school Haley goes to. He’s cold and hungry for the first time in his life. He has to live in his car. Faced with those conditions, most people would give up. Not West. He fights on. He gets a job.
West really grows throughout the book. So much, it almost feels as if it shouldn’t be possible to grow that much in about two months. I have to say, in Crash Into You, I almost felt like West was a little spoiled, and a little in the beginning of Take Me On, too, but after meeting Haley and having to live in his car, that’s the last thought I had about West.
And the chemistry between Haley and West! It felt so real. They were from completely different worlds, yet their relationship made complete sense. It was filled to the brim with drama, angst and anguish, which made it so believable. I mean, no relationship is perfect. People aren’t perfect, and they make mistakes, so relationships can’t be perfect. It doesn’t mean it’s not worth fighting for, and you have to fight and not give up to make it work.
I loved everything about this book. As usual, McGarry’s writing is capturing, believable and filled to the brim with emotions. I was especially impressed with the descriptions this time. How she described how the characters felt, it really made my day, because it was so real. It didn’t feel too much or unrealistic.
I couldn’t put it away. It was engaging and fun and touching. I think this is my new favorite so far by Katie McGarry.