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Monday, November 02, 2009

Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols

I read Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols back before the Read-A-Thon so forgive me if my review is brief. This one got great reviews all over the blogosphere and I was really excited about getting my hands on it. I think it really holds up to the hype and only have a few minor complaints.

So what happens? Meg is a high school senior. She's got quite the reputation and the blue hair to back up her attitude. She lives in Smalltown, Alabama (Alabama! Yay!) and is dying to get away. It's the week before spring break and she and her trouble-making boyfriend are caught on the railroad bridge. Local cop, and recent high school grad himself, John After is determined to teach the kids a lesson so they have to do a ride along all week- spring break week- as punishment. Meg has to ride with John After. The entire book takes place within a one week span, during with both Meg and John After learn a lot about life and each other.

How did I like it? I loved it. I think I loved the journey even more than the ending, but the ending was good too. Meg and John After are both very well drawn, despite being complete opposites. Meg really learns what is important to her, and it's not just graduating and getting away. John After is able to release some of his demons as well. I thought the week they spent together was really well done, from almost all angles. It's possible that Echols took a couple aspects a wee bit far to prove a point, one that I think we would have gotten anyway, but it didn't ruin the book for me. (The title IS Going Too Far!) I loved that even when the characters pushed each other to the limit they were able to get over it without drawing it out into a major conflict. The little details are perfectly done, from John After's scribbled drawings to the details of the diner Meg's parents own. I LOVED John After. (Seriously, second only to Wes so far this year!) I loved that we saw him as both an adult and as a 19 year old, as a cop and as a guy. (Suddenly I feel a bit creepy talking about the boys in YA novels. I will redeem myself with my review of an actually adult romance novel later this week.)

This one will be going on my best of 2009 list.

I loved that this is by an Alabama author, and I really want to look for her other books. My library doesn't have any, but perhaps ILL will. You can find Jennifer Echols's website here, and her blog is here. I could very easily imagine several small towns that could have been the setting for this one, which made me love it all the more. (One of the reasons that one of my very favorite books is Heartbreak Hotel by Anne Rivers Siddons is that I can perfectly imagine myself there, having gone to Auburn.)

If you liked this one, you might check out some of my other YA reviews, including:
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Some other bloggy reviews:
The Book Smugglers (that one really nails it)
Persnickety Snark

Did you read it? What did you think? Did I miss your review?


  1. I read this earlier this summer and loved it as well. Unfortunately, I never got around to writing a review, but I probably will anyway for the YA Challenge I'm in.

    I can't tell you how happy I was to read that John After is your favorite YA male lead only second to Wes. I totally agree with you!!!! While I loved Going Too Far, I LOVED the truth about forever. I read the latter in maybe February or March of this year, I think. Again, a book I should have reviewed and didn't. Perhaps I need to have a YA review fest on my blog one of these days. I'm so behind!

  2. The book sounds great! I love to read Alabama authors too. Do you know where she's from? I'm guessing around Birmingham.

  3. Your review makes me want to read it! I will put it on my tbr list!

  4. I loved this book too. But then, you know what a sucker for YA I am.

  5. You totally sold it for me. Want to read this book now.

  6. Interesting. This is not a book I would normally have picked up but you've definitely made it sound good.

  7. "Suddenly I feel a bit creepy talking about the boys in YA novels." That statement made me LOL! :) I haven't seen this book, so thanks for the heads-up.

  8. I am glad that it mostly lived up to the hype!


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