An absolutely gorgeous novel of love, loss, forgiveness, and adrenaline.
Rachel is the perfect daughter. She’s smart, beautiful, and well respected by her parents’ society friends. If she hadn’t been born as the replacement for a dead sister who was actually the poised, girly, perfect child, everything would be great. Well except for the panic attacks. And the speed addiction in her Mustang.
Maybe Rachel’s not so perfect after all.
And one night, needing to escape from another benefit dinner, Rachel decides to do the first “bad” thing in her life. Following one of her (many) brother’s friends to a street race, she gets involved in the wrong crowd. She ends up fleeing from the cops with Isaiah, a punked up foster kid also caught in the crossfire.
Isaiah needs money. He’s made some spare cash legitimately drag racing before, but facing a time crunch, he decides to make a deal with the devil and enter Eric, the local kingpin’s, street race. When the cops get a tip off, Eric’s looking at the new girl and the guy who sheltered her. Together, Rachel and Isaiah have six weeks to return the $5k Eric lost in the raid, or else.
From there, we embark on a shockingly romantic tale for a book that features armed robbery, drug dealers, cancer, and car accidents. Isaiah and Rachel have great chemistry and an obvious bond from the get go, unlike a lot of “wrong side of the tracks” romances. It does not hurt that Isaiah is hotter than nitrous. I have some quibbles about side plots, (is Zach from any of the previous novels? Because he is seriously underdeveloped in this one,) but for the most part it’s a charming, hot contemporary that’s worthy of five stars.
Except for Rachel’s home life.
Rachel's family is way fucked up. She's the youngest of six and the only remaining girl in a misogynistic nightmare. Despite being a twin and second youngest, West, being less than a year older, only Rachel's curfew is 10. Because she's a girl. I wasn't kidding about the circumstances of her birth and none of the boys ever lets her forget it. Even after her panic disorder comes to light, they still force her to speak at Mom's benefit to be able to break bad news while the family is at a high. The final confrontation with her father is nauseating. And none of that would be a real issue if it were properly condemned at the end. If West weren't the hero of the next book.
Sorry, he's the one who busted out, "Your track record proves you need Ethan and me making these decisions for you." Rachel's huge sin? This "track record"? Leaving halfway through school. Once. Ever. And now being on a date. Well alert the fucking media, we found a goddamn teenager. Her whole family was gross and was the worst thing about the novel.
This is my first Katie McGarry, but not my last. I understand the big complaint with this book is that her plots have become formulaic. Because I can’t comment on that, I found it to be absolutely stellar. I can't imagine, even if you've read the previous stories, not recommending this.