May 11, 2010

Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols

Blue-haired, girl-felon seeks hard-working, semi-stable cop. Wait, huh? Meg is just your typical teenage rebellion with a wild side a mile long and more arrests and tickets than any parent wants to believe. Her bad attitude and outlandish hair keep everyone at bay so she can have some peace. Doing what she wants, as she sees fit, is just part of life to her. That's where Eric comes in. The rebellious, drug-imbibing, son of a lawyer gives Meg what she wants when she wants it. That's exactly what they were up to the night they got arrested.

Officer John After routinely patrols the "No Trespassing" bridge that trains cross over. It's a compulsory habit. So the night he catches Meg, Eric and two other teens out on the bridge is no coincidence. Officer After wants to make sure these teens learn their lesson about following the law. So he strikes up a deal with the DA to make them all ride along with the local emergency service crews during Spring Break; except for Eric, whose daddy gets him off the hook. Lucky for Meg she gets stuck on the overnight shift with Officer After.

Pretty soon though, Officer After is revealed to be Johnafter from high school. He's only a year older than Meg, but he's already graduated from the police academy and is on patrol duty. This provides Meg with an endless supply of ammo to poke holes in his armor. She knows that he was captain of the track team and quite decent at art and starts questioning his choice of immediate profession. Over the course of the week, Meg and Johnafter start to develop an understanding of one another based on her passive aggressive (and sometimes out right aggressive) tactics and his bob-and-weave maneuvers. It's clear that something's gotta give between these two if their little town is to survive.

A no-holds-barred, anti-punch-pulling novel, Going Too Far is in a word: amazing. Meg is such a badass chick who apologizes for nothing. I found her tough outer appearance very abrasive (which was the point) but it also set up an alarm that there was something else going on behind that front. I have found that people are not usually that rough and tumble unless they are hiding something. And boy does she have a whopper of a secret!

Johnafter was as secretive and mysterious as Meg, only in a different manner. He wasn't as "in your face" about much, except when it came to the law. He took his job and himself very seriously and it was something that I rarely see in a character. There was so much too him and yet so little at the same time.

The base storyline was kind of obvious, but the execution of action was more nuanced and unexpected. I kept thinking that it was going to go one way and then it ended up going another. Their situation was a unique one in that, only in a smaller town would a suitable punishment for trespassing in a dangerous area be to ride along with emergency service crews for spring break. The character interactions were colorful and entertaining, while still maintaining a sometimes serious tone.

This book is great for fans of realistic fiction (obviously) and those who have enjoyed other books like Perfect Chemistry, Lock and Key, or The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove will find this story very much to their liking. I couldn't put it down and read it in less than a day, I truly recommend this to anyone and everyone.


Andrea said...

Sounds great! Very nice review. I like the tough girl/cop idea.

Nishant said...

Sounds great! Very nice review.
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YA Vampire Books said...

Great review! I just bought this one, and I'm really looking forward to reading it!