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Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols

I can't quit Jennifer Echols. Not that I really try that hard, but I read her new ones and often feel as though I'm still searching for that one in possession of that certain something that will make me feel the way Going Too Far did. Like I couldn't put it it down. And definitely like I didn't hate either of the main characters after the fact. Well, I found it with Such a Rush. I read this 300+ pager in a single night, which clears up the question of whether or not I couldn't put it down. And I finished it definitely not hating either of the main characters. I didn't finish it loving them both unreservedly, though. I loved Leah with my whole heart from page one and that never changed. My feelings regarding one of the Hall brothers remain complicated. More to come on this in a bit. On a side note, I'm delighted that Such a Rush is Ms. Echols' hardcover debut. It's a meticulously designed book, a pleasure to hold in my hands as I stayed up way too late finishing Leah's story.

Leah Jones has lived her entire life in an endless series of trailer parks, all of them situated next door to an airbase or small town airport. She and her shiftless mother moved to their most recent abode at Heaven Beach when Leah was 14 years old. Shortly thereafter she bullies the owner of nearby Hall Aviation to give her a job in the front office, fielding calls and basically doing anything that needs doing around the private airport. From afar, she watches Mr. Hall's twin sons Alec and Grayson follow in their father's footsteps, first learning to fly and then taking on jobs flying advertising banners around the North Carolina coastline. Leah watches and she longs and she saves her money against the day she is able to scrabble together enough courage to ask Mr. Hall for a flying lesson. Sure he will laugh in her face, she is stunned when he takes her up on it, provided she give up smoking like a chimney stack. It's not even a contest for Leah, and before she knows it she's up in the air and never looks back. Until tragedy strikes and threatens to make the one good thing in Leah's life disappear overnight. Suddenly, Alec and Grayson are back in her life and she's forced to learn to work with these mercurial young men if she wants to keep being a pilot in her future.

Leah rocked my socks off. She is the kind of character I can't get enough of: toughened by life, uncertain, determined, quiet, hopeful, and edgy. Basically, she's a heady amalgam of battle-tested strength and fledgling individuality. I love the way she loves flying. She explains it in a scene that quite simply floored me with how restrained and potent it was, with how much was going on below the surface of things. I won't quote that here, because you deserve to come to it organically and on your own. I will share one bit to give you an inkling of why I feel so attached to these characters:
"When I'm with you," he began again, "it's like . . . I still don't feel normal. But I can see normal at twelve o'clock on the horizon." He pointed past me through the windshield of an imaginary airplane. "At least I know normal is still out there."
This tiny snippet of dialogue encapsulates the kind of exquisite tension, filled with so much more than heat, between two characters that Jennifer Echols excels at. The scope of this novel is much greater than I was expecting, and every bit of that is down to the gorgeous descriptions of flying. These characters, they love flying. They love it with every fiber of their being, and it binds them together when anger, betrayal, and the almost unbreachable gulf of experience threaten to separate them. These kids are all forced to be adults long before they're ready. They make mistakes, bad choices, engage in the occasional excess of drama. One of them persists in his particularly bad choice so long I'm still not sure I can forgive him for it. But they are all of them laid out in such layers of gray that I wanted to. In fact, I ended the novel on that note--wanting to forgive him, wanting the ending to be enough because it was what I wanted for them. Sometimes that desire is enough in and of itself, especially as the journey itself was such a satisfying one, filled with the swoops and the heights and the glorious dangers of aviation. My stomach dropped out beneath me on multiple occasions, and I relished every time it did because it meant I was with Leah in that cockpit. I was with her every time she let the pressure constantly building inside of her out to pelt the people around her who needed a rude awakening to reality. I was with her when she took the controls to chart her own course, to find it somewhere out there on the horizon. Well done, Ms. Echols. Such a Rush indeed.

Buy: Amazon B&N The Book Depository

Linkage
A Book and a Latte - "A must read for contemporary romance fans!"
The Book Scoop - "I was so freaking satisfied with everything that I'd read that I sighed myself to sleep."
Clear Eyes, Full Shelves - "Such a Rush is probably my new favorite of her novels because the character growth from everyone is just so deft."
Gone with the Words - "Never have I read a book whose book title delivered in spades. Such a Rush: you betcha!"
GReads! - " . . . the best of the best in YA contemporary."
Pirate Penguin's Reads - "Jennifer Echols knocked it out of the park with Such a Rush."

Comments

  1. We are in total agreement about this book. Leah was one of those very flawed characters that I totally believed in and I found myself liking the boy who continues in his Very Bad Choice, despite my also wanting to punch him in the face. I felt like Echols took some risks with these characters, and I loved that.

    Anyway... I can go on and on about this book, but I definitely got that Going Too Far vibe from it.

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    1. Sarah, we are definitely on par here, aren't we? I liked him, too. I just could have shot him for persisting in his astounding wrongheadedness. Ugh! But your point about risks is a good one and I'm fairly certain that is why it resonated with me. Good stuff.

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  2. Now I miss my copy that I lent to my friend. Basically: YES YES YES to everything stated here in your review. xD

    Thanks for linking me :)

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    1. Sandy, my pleasure. :) And I get so twitchy when my copies are out...

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  3. I need to read this one considering how many people I trust are totally into it.

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    1. Livi, give it a go and let me know.

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  4. I loved this one too! Basically: everything you just said!

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    1. Kailia, hard not to, I think. How could you not love Leah?

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  5. I think what I love best about Echols is that her characters are passionate about their hobbies and interests. They don't just have love lives and friends, but actual interests or jobs which they care about. Can't wait to read this now.

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    1. Kitten, absolutely. I cannot get on board with characters w/no hobbies or passions. They do not resemble me or my experience with human beings in any way. Hope you enjoy it.

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  6. Anonymous8:47 AM

    I usually buy a Jennifer Echols novel immediately, but I decided not to this time. I thought I was going to end my relationship with her after disliking Love Story and Forget You so much. And even after seeing such great reviews on Amazon, I still decided not to trust it and wait for the paperback. BUT! Your review, Angie. And because I'm weird, what really sold me is the part about the book being meticulously designed and a pleasure to hold. I can't tell you how many books I've hated but finished reading because of the way they felt. I'm going to order this one now, despite the no-books- until-we-move ban! I can't help it. I've been waiting for great Echols for so long... KarenS

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    1. Karen, it's so funny I was feeling the same way. I'm just not going there again after Forget You and Love Story. Blech to both. But then I just thought I'd give it a shot. The reviews made it sound different, better, idk. And it was!

      I have to laugh. We are the same when it comes to the tactile pleasures of books. It goes a loooong way. I really hope you like it!

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  7. I completely agree! This book got me loving Echols as much as I did after Going too Far. Such a Rush really impressed me with Echols' writing.

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    1. Melanie, that is really the key. I thought the writing was definitely a cut above here.

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  8. I love the snippet you chose, Angie. I remember being hit hard by that twelve o'clock line, though I guess the excess of drama was too much for me in the end.

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  9. Sorry for the deleted comment. I have a hard time commenting on your blog sometimes. I love the snippet you chose. That twelve o'clock line really struck me. I guess the excess of drama was just too much for me in the end though.

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    1. That's lame. I'm sorry. That line still gives me good shivers. As do a few other scenes. The drama was annoying, but in the end I found my frustrations were with his actions as a . . . real person, if you will, rather than what I often perceive as a flaw in characterization. He felt real to me, fwiw.

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  10. Oh wow! This makes me even more eager to get my hands on a copy! I have read Echols before and enjoyed her books, but this one sounds even better. Great review!

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    1. Kay, hehe. It is better. The writing, the depth of characterization, etc. Better. :)

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  11. Wow! I just ran across your site and love it! :)) I'm an avid reader, but it's hard to come across good book lovers blogs...and even harder to find one with a cute layout! :)

    Looking forward to reading more of your posts dearie! :)

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  12. Musings, I'm so glad you ran across it. We have fun around here. Don't be a stranger. :)

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  13. Great review! Wow the other characters all sound like jerks! I haven't read anything by Echos or Dessen either! I need to catch up!

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