After what happened in Dare You To, while I loved Beth and Ryan, I really felt bad for Isaiah. A lot of readers didn’t care for him in the other books, but I always had a soft spot for him. He’s had a pretty hard life, being in the foster system, having no one to depend on, never really feeling loved. I really enjoyed being in his head, reveling in his love of cars, and seeing him fall for Rachel. Having his life would’ve made a lot of people turn to drugs, alcohol, and all kinds of illegal things, but Isaiah stays strong through all the temptations, not completely, of course, but I liked that he has a good head on his shoulders and that he actually has goals and dreams, and that he wants to do something with his life. If anything, this book made me love him even more.
Rachel, on the other hand, took me quite awhile to warm up to. She was very innocent, naive, self-conscious, and often times weak, in my opinion. Eventually she toughened up, but it took a bit too long for me, and a lot of the time I really just wanted to knock some sense into the girl. She comes from sheltered life, so I get why she’s the way she is. Also, she has to deal with recurrent panic attacks that affect her a great deal, and I’m not faulting her on that at all. I think it was just the way she viewed herself for so long and when she finally realizes she’s had enough, it wasn’t all that climactic, especially regarding her father. One word I would use to describe Rachel would, in fact, be fragile, even though she tries so hard not to be. Towards the end, I started to like her more and you could see her confidence show just a bit, but I was hoping for more.
As for Rachel and Isaiah as a couple, I really liked that they could confide in each other about their lives, how open they became, and how they shared a love of cars. However, I didn’t really feel that connection between them like I did with McGarry’s other couples. There was a bond there, but it didn’t affect me as much. It wasn’t clear to me why they became so open with each other except that they had the urge to be, like there wasn’t a defining moment that sealed their fate as a couple, at least in my opinion. I still think they’re very cute together and that ending was very sweet and touching, but I was hoping for a bit more.
Oh, and I really disliked her family. I get that her older sister died and everyone felt bad for their mother, but the way they babied that woman, everyone hiding their true feelings and who they really were, it was just too much! Don’t get me wrong, I loved that McGarry created a family dynamic that I hated so much, it’s a testament to her skill and craft, but man did I want to slap her brothers and have a long talk with her mother.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story and am definitely happy that McGarry is continuing this series. While I would’ve loved to see an Ethan and Abby book, I’m curious to see where she takes West’s story (all are characters you’ll meet in Crash into You). If you’re already a McGarry fan, you’ll love this book, not only because you get to see how the third person in their crazy trio gets what he deserves, but you’ll also catch glimpses of characters you’ve loved from the past like Noah, Echo, Beth, and Ryan. McGarry’s writing is nothing if not fascinating and readers of all types will be hooked after just a few pages.