High school senior Leah Jones loves nothing more than flying. While she’s in the air, it’s easy to forget life with her absentee mother at the low-rent end of a South Carolina beach town. When her flight instructor, Mr. Hall, hires her to fly for his banner advertising business, she sees it as her ticket out of the trailer park. And when he dies suddenly, she’s afraid her flying career is gone forever.
But Mr. Hall’s teenage sons, golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson, are determined to keep the banner planes flying. Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she’s leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business — until Grayson betrays her by digging up her most damning secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers — and the consequences could be deadly.
OPINION: 5 STARS
This is very possibly my favorite of Jennifer’s books, so stunning in its characterization, original in some of the ways she twists things in, and all together just so well put together. With a great narrative voice mixed into the bold and fluid writing we know and love from Jennifer, Such a Rush is easy to fall into and impossible to put down. This is the kind of book I stayed up way too late reading, and then tried to sneak reads at work to be able to finish. Sexy at all the right times, and unafraid to bring in depth, emotion and pain, this one is the perfect mix of drama and romance.
Leah is an amazing character, one who has plenty of battle wounds that causes her to keep a barrier up against others, someone who is ashamed of the trailer park she lives in yet determined to have more in her life. Able to take care of herself, in large part due to her less than stellar and often absent mother, Leah is a bit of a firecracker but a great one. She’s intense, loyal and passionate, with this stunning strength to her, and yet the moments when that crumbles, letting the vulnerability shine through are some of the best in the book. With instances of self doubt, and even letting her own self worth drop, Leah is a very easy character to understand and relate to. While her specific situation might be different than many other’s, the way she reacts and takes everything isn't. Add in her love of flying and determination to be a pilot, and she is a very memorable character.
Grayson is an equally stellar character, a guy who has made some mistakes and suffering for it now after the loss of his father and brother. Feeling like he has so much to make up for, and suddenly trying to take care of his family, Grayson is a whirlwind of emotions and intensity that will leave readers breathless. Torn between what he wants and what he thinks is best, and seriously stubborn to a fault, Grayson is the kind of guy you want to hit as much as you want to hug. Like Leah, he has this rough exterior with a soft interior, and watching the moments when he softens, when he lets his feelings show through are poignant and enamoring.
One of the most notable aspects of this book is the realism, not only of the raw emotion infused so perfectly but the trailer park lifestyle Leah has always known. Ribbed on for being poor, spacing out one meal to last her two or three, and stuck without transportation beyond walking or the school bus, the very different way of life she knows compared to her peers is beautifully showcased without being stereotypical or offending. Using what she has to further herself, albeit at the expense of her reputation, Leah is hurt at the sexual way she is often viewed yet unwilling to tone it down (even though often times, she doesn’t fully realize how she’s coming across) if that means having nothing. Holding herself to a higher self worth than many of the people who live in the trailer park with her, and especially compared to her mother, Leah’s struggle and determination to break free is so gutting and poignantly done. Also steeped perfectly in realism is the pilot aspect of this, from learning to continuing to fly, and everything in between.
Though heavily focused on Leah’s struggles and the overall emotions, there is also a great plot mixed into this one. With plenty of unexpected turns, Such a Rush will keep readers gripped and engaged. Though sometimes heavy on the flight stuff, it’s woven in so smoothly and naturally that it feels fitting, rather than overbearing. While a few of the plot twists are a little predictable, it’s one of those things where the clues are given to let you predict it and yet, when it’s revealed, you still feel a little sucker punched. Testing the lines of love and loyalty, friendship and more, and doing it smoothly and with flair, Such a Rush is everything a contemporary should be and more.
Source: ARC received from author in exchange for an honest review
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: MTV Books
Publication Date: July 10, 2012