Wednesday, August 19, 2009

BR: Going Too Far

by Jennifer Echols

Well, I went to the bookstore and bought two books today, this one, and Homicide Related: A Ryan Dooley Mystery by Norah McClintock. I've read a lot of good reviews for this (Going Too Far) book, and in the store, I kinda just wanted to get a nice, teen romance novel. Other books I saw and desperately wanted, I resisted buying because I knew my library already had those books, and I was just waiting in line for reserves.

Going Too Far revolves centrally around the relationship of Meg and John. Meg, a 17 year old blue-haired girl, isn't exactly a 'good' girl; she desperately wants to get out of the small town she has lived in her whole life. She fears getting stuck there managing a small diner like her parents, and cannot wait to leave after grad. John After, on the other hand, joins the Police Force right after high school, at nineteen, and works the graveyard shift patrolling, haunted by a bridge. He's the model policeman, takes his job extremely seriously, driven and determined despite his lowly position. He doesn't leave the small town, either because he doesn't want to, or can't. When Meg and her friends get caught on the aforementioned bridge, Meg's punishment is to spend her spring break riding alongside in a squad car with John, denying her of partying in Miami. The five nights the two spend together change them both, as their relationship constantly evolves. Meg goes from hating John's guts (for causing her to miss going to the beach) to a tentative, teasing friendship, to something more. They question each other, and push each other 'to the edge', out of their comfort zones.

Lots of reviews leave it at that, but I think I'll elaborate further, since 'going too far' is just too vague. Meg questions John's choices of staying in the small town, not going to college, or working for a promotion. She can't understand his need to 'guard' the bridge (it's a secret later revealed.) In return, John asks Meg about why she is 'ditching' her parents at the first moment, when they have been there for her her whole life. Ultimately, Going Too Far is a semi-fluffy love story with underlying, mature themes.

I was pretty stoked when I finally bought this book (I never buy books, remember??) and read it right away when I got home; all in one sitting, I might add. I really got caught up in the story, wanting too see where it would go since both characters are so intriguing. They're both extremely observant and act uniquely, from the way John uses specific words to keep a distance or stay in control, to the way Meg is claustrophobic, prone to panic attacks, and struggling to find out who she is. I really liked the first-person narration from Meg's POV.

I really liked the characters in Echols' novel, they were realistic, complex, and three-dimensional. Meg doesn't care what people think of her, that is, until she meets John. She finds herself falling for him and vice versa, and I loved the constant references to his eyes. John (hot!) is always trying to stay in control, whether by intimidating others or distancing himself. I also liked the connection and how drawn he was to the bridge. The way the two interact, and watching their relationship evolve was very well written. The parts when they were teasing each other I found it very cute. Because there were so many 'personal' moments, the character growth for both of them was thorough and enjoyable.

That being said, I finished the novel wanting just a little bit more. Despite how much I enjoyed reading it, I wished a few more aspects, loose ends, or events could have been described either in more detail, or just mentioned/explained better.

**Spoilers below**

For example, I wanted to see what became of Meg's notebook, or learn more about Meg's experiences with sickness. I wanted to learn more about what makes John 'tick' (although I admit, it was explored pretty well already), and maybe explain the on-going joke he has about the police academy (unless I missed it...)

**End spoilers**

I didn't like how Meg kept going back to stupid pot-head Eric when the hunk policeman was there for her... okay a bit biased here. I did like the romance in the novel though, and adored the couple. Especially the moments where John would be either jealous or overprotective =D

The ending was fluffy in my opinion, but after a lot of serious moments throughout the book, I thought it was a good way to end it.

8.9/10 - because even though the novel captivated me and kept me flipping the pages, I wished there was just a bit more, which meant the difference between really good and excellent. This is teetering right on the edge. I would recommend this to anyone interested in a romance novel, it's not too long, not too short, so it's not like a marathon to finish it (*cough*Twilight*) There are some mature scenes, and mentions of drugs and alcohol. You can't help but root for John and Meg's relationship, and I felt it was a very good novel.


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