March 1, 2009
All Meg has ever wanted is to escape from backwater town. Away from certain memories, away from her parents who seem to want to suffocate her in their dull lives...away from everything. And it looks like she's getting her wish, it's almost spring break and she's going on a trip to Miami and see the beach.
But then, Meg and a few friends end up on a bridge where, a few years ago, some kids died. They're caught by a cop, John After, who's only 19 years old and was one of the top students of his year...Meg can't imagine why he would choose to remain tied down in the tiny town and work as a cop. But John is connected, strangely, to the bridge and Meg and her friends' stunt provokes him to want to teach them a memorable lesson.
Meg is assigned to join John After during his night shifts for a week, to learn about the law and the importance of it.
Only, Meg isn't one to be complacent and she pushes to find out exactly what promoted John to remain bound to the small town that she's so determined to escape from. And he fights back, and stretches her boundaries in an attempt to figure out exactly why Meg refuses to remain in the small Alabama town that has shaped both of their lives so much.
So, this was my second Jennifer Echols novel. I'd always intended to read The Boys Next Door, but for some reason, I never got around to it. I *did* read Major Crush which was a pretty cute ro-com read. But then I read Going Too Far. It blew Major Crush away.
I'd expected Going Too Far to be good. To be great, even. I was sure that when I reviewed it, I'd tackle it like most of the other books I've reviewed. Normal and level-headed. Except this time, I have no CHOICE but to let loose and write a completely fan-girly review of Going Too Far. You've been warned.
Okay. So this book has depth. And I'm not talking the shallow pool that some YA novels are. Going Too Far is a freaking ocean. And I mean it in the best way possible.
The relationships and characters in this novel are so complex and layered. The main characters and secondary characters all seem so real. They all have their dreams, their hobbies and their insecurities. John and Meg's pasts both haunt them, every decision in the now is a reflection of certain events from before. Both have secrets that are hinted at, throughout the novel. But, it is only further in the novel that the secrets are fully revealed to the reader and the other characters. (And, of course, this fuels further conflict and further revelations and conclusions.)
The story is told in Meg's POV, and it couldn't be told any other way. Meg's voice is realistic; everything about her makes sense and stays true to her character.
Along with that, Meg's easy to relate with and feel for, despite her not being like the average teenager. When she hurts, you cringe. When she's happy, you smile. In that aspect, reading Going Too Far is like a (fun) roller coaster.
Similarly, John is well-rounded as well. His secret, his driving motivation in life and everything..really, are questioned by Meg in this novel. The way he handles his life, his job and the way he is, makes it easy to feel for him as well.
And when you put the two characters together? It's completely believable to have them get each other. To have them fall in love, even. There are so many books where relationships are handled shabbily; the girl and the guy meet, think the other is hot and decide, at the end of the book, that they should go out. It's not like this at all in Going Too Far. In the span of the week that the book takes place over, it's easy to see their relationship build as you read page after page.
Overall, Going Too Far is an intense, touching and believable story of love, loss and friendship that will resonate with you for a long time after you've closed the book.
Honestly, this is one that deserves a spot on your bookshelf. Preorder it now! (Going Too Far comes out on the 17th!) It won't be a purchase that you'll regret.