This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Deeper and darker with the promise of a silver lining after the storm. I knew Beth’s story wouldn’t be an easy one after getting to know her in Pushing the Limits. This is the third story in the Pushing the Limits series and I recommend strongly that they are read in order since one of the main characters and several of the secondary characters were introduced in the first book with an ongoing plot line into this one. I thought the first book in the series was a savory read, but in this story the author proves herself to be no fluke. It went deeper and darker and I couldn’t put it down. In essence, it’s a girl from the wrong side of the tracks and the golden boy from the perfect family get together romance, but the cliché is deceiving in this case.
One night everything changes for Beth when she leaves the house to go get her mother out of the bar and get her home. After she takes the rap for her mom to keep her out of jail, Beth finds herself wrenched from the life she has known by the uncle she hasn’t seen since she was a child. He cuts her off from her old life and holds her mom’s freedom from prison over her head to get her to cooperate with his rules and the new life he brings her into.
Ryan, star baseball pitcher and future pro prospect, comes from the perfect family or so people see from the outside. He must hide his brother’s secret, he must deny his secondary desire to write and he must pretend that the two warring people he lives with are the perfect couple. To let off steam, he and his best buds, Chris and Logan give and take dares. And it is a dare that brings Beth into his life. The trouble is that he sees a glimmer of someone else behind hardened, skater girl’s eyes and he is drawn to what he sees.
Beth fears for her mother, misses her old friends and plots to run away, but she can’t help thinking about Ryan’s smiles and his desire to be with her and about the uncle who wants her to consider him home and safety. Trust is a commodity that she doesn’t have much of and her experience has been one long string of abandonments. They both open up about their secrets and Ryan even declares his love, but the pressure on them to conform to their set places is strong and the danger leaking into her life through her mom’s choices forces Beth’s hand.
Again, I had my socks ‘wow’d off from the emotions of Ms. McGarry’s storytelling. With these two characters, I felt that things dug even deeper and darker than the first story. My heart was bleeding all over the place for Beth, for Ryan, for Isaiah and even for Beth’s uncle Scott. Drugs destroyed so much in Beth’s life when both parents would rather have it than their child and I can’t help, but feel that they were almost a tangible villain. In Ryan’s life, the villain was also something intangible in ways because his parents’ drive to place the family reputation and achievements before their children was painful to read. The story flipped back and forth between Ryan and Beth’s viewpoints. The author wasn’t afraid to make neither of them likeable in the beginning with just hints of the person they could be peeking out through the cracks of their outside veneer. I wasn’t as convinced about them being couple material, but I did like what they do for each other in building each other up and making them better. The Happy For Now ending leaving them on the verge with the promise of a future was realistic and I hope there will be more of their story in the series.
I found the secondary story line of Beth’s slow withdrawal from her old life painful to read, but yet it was probably the strongest part of the story in ways. It was hard for her and the choices she made were not easy. I am now very eager to get Isaiah’s story so I no longer have to see him in pain. Noah’s happy, Beth’s happy and now I want to see Isaiah happy.
This series is not for those looking for a light romantic read and it will twist you up inside. There is angst, but its not unnecessary angst. Recommended for YA Contemporary Romance lovers who like their stories with some drama and grit. It falls under the category of Young Adult reading, but I would caution that this be for the older of that spectrum because of the content matter of drugs, violence, partying, and use of strong language.
Thank you to Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book for review purposes.