Friday, September 4, 2009

Review: Going too Far by Jennifer Echols

Found via: BBYA 2010 nominated titles

The annotation for this title reads "Meg is the blue haired girl in a small town, John is the cop who picks her up one night, and the relationship that develops causes all sorts of problems."

I was adding this to my library request list at "blue haired girl," because that was me, from 5th grade through high school. Okay, it was more often green, and only a streak, as opposed to a whole head like Meg does (my hair was waist length - no way Mom was going to help me turn all of that green). And much to my parents' relief, I was never picked up by the cops at night, but I still felt, just from this annotation, that Meg was a girl after my own heart.

And I was right: I loved Meg throughout the book, even when she made it hard to be lovable.

Meg is counting the days until she can get the hell out of her little Alabama town, away from her parents who seem hell bent on shackling her to their little restaurant. She's just days away from spring break of her senior year - a spring break that is going to take her to see the ocean for the first time in her life - when she, her boyfriend, and the class valedictorians are picked up by the cops on the forbidden railroad tracks. Eric, Meg's boyfriend, gets let off easy, thanks to his father's money, but Meg and her friends are sentenced to ride with the various emergency departments for the week of spring break, so they can learn their actions have consequences.

Meg is assigned to ride with the police for the week, specifically with the enigmatic, handsome, and young Officer John Avery. He's the opposite of Meg in every way: serious, clean cut, and with a pathological need to follow and enforce the rules. But despite this, and despite all of her better judgment, Meg feels a connection, and wonders if she might be falling for the police officer, and if he might be falling for her.

Meg and John were both great, well rounded characters. Echols teases out the hints about the darker sides of these two: both Meg and John have demons to contend with, and neither is going to show their hand to the other unless pushed. Echols taunts us with hints about what makes these two tick, but withholds the payoff until it has the greatest impact on the story, the characters, and the reader. It's an extremely rewarding read.

I have just one complaint: who the heck photoshopped the cover? Check it out on Amazon - that is the worst 'shop of an eyebrow ring I've ever seen. Would it have been so hard to find a pierced model? Or give her a clip on hoop ring? Or leave off the ring entirely, since I don't recall Meg ever wearing an eyebrow ring? I usually don't give covers a second look, but this one made me cringe every time I looked at it.
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