Lovin' los libros

A book blog dedicated to young adult and new adult novels

Review: Take Me On by Katie McGarry

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Take Me On (Pushing the Limits #4)
   by: Katie McGarry

Publication Date: May 27, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: e-ARC provided via NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 544 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Acclaimed author Katie McGarry returns with the knockout new story of two high school seniors who are about to learn what winning really means.

Champion kickboxer Haley swore she'd never set foot in the ring again after one tragic night. But then the guy she can't stop thinking about accepts a mixed martial arts fight in her honor. Suddenly, Haley has to train West Young. All attitude, West is everything Haley promised herself she'd stay away from. Yet he won't last five seconds in the ring without her help.

West is keeping a big secret from Haley. About who he really is. But helping her-fighting for her-is a shot at redemption. Especially since it's his fault his family is falling apart. He can't change the past, but maybe he can change Haley's future.

Hayley and West have agreed to keep their relationship strictly in the ring. But as an unexpected bond forms between them and attraction mocks their best intentions, they'll face their darkest fears and discover love is worth fighting for.

Hoo boy. When I first heard West was getting his own book, I was super psyched. I do love a good redemption story, and West was definitely NOT my favorite person in Crash into You. I was curious to see more of him and just what was going on in his head. There is so much more to West than I ever realized and my heart completely broke for him. Not only does West have a hell of a story to tell, but Haley does as well. Both of these characters have to deal with things that no teen should ever have to, but the reality of it is: it happens on a daily basis and I am amazed at the sheer strength both of these characters possess in this story.
Pacing: When I first saw this book was 500 something pages, I was floored. Yeah, it's Katie McGarry. I should know better by now. I devoured this baby in ONE day. So, needless to say, I felt the pacing went really well. I liked the development of West and Haley's relationship and it was fun to watch the two fall for one another and realize how much they needed one another to get through some really hard moments.
Storyline: We met West in Katie's previous novel, Crash into You. In this novel, he feels an immense amount of guilt over what happened to his sister Rachel and finds he can't quite make himself go and visit her. This causes an even bigger rift between him and his parents (his dad especially) and causes some serious problems in the already fragile Young household. After getting expelled from his current private school, West finds himself at the same public school as the girl he helped and got into a scuffle for previously. West Young is a complication Haley does NOT need right now. She is already having to deal with some serious issues at home, as well as keeping her brother and cousin out of her ex-boyfriend's line of sight. Haley has sacrificed so much in her life to protect the ones she loves and I really admire her for that. She shoulders so much of her burden herself, however, when there are so many people that are willing to help ease the load. She is afraid of what would happen if she does, which is why falling for West is a very bad idea.... I feel like there's so much more to say, but I will keep it brief and just tell you that McGarry does a great job of tackling hard issues and creating two very strong, independent people that do what they feel they can to persevere and work to create a better life for themselves.
Characters: I really loved both West and Haley. They are great protagonists and I love that we got to read the story from both their perspectives. McGarry always does such an amazing job at characterization. I love that we can see character growth and development throughout the novel, as it really helps solidify that connection that I crave to have with my characters.
My heart was so broken for Haley. She is a product of unfortunate circumstances and now lives in a less than stellar living situation. Her family is currently living with her uncle's family and it is not ideal at all. She must abide curfew or she will find herself stuck out on the streets at night and left to fend for herself. On top of that, her father is at such a low point in his life, that he does not feel he can fight back for his children, for fear of getting kicked out. Haley is forced to play by the rules, even when the rules are seriously unfair. Having ended things with her ex-boyfriend, Haley is also feeling the aftermath of that relationship. If only it could be an amicable parting of ways. Haley has been forced to make sacrifices in order to protect the people she loves and that comes at a great cost. One of those costs is her kickboxing. Having once been held in high esteem at her grandfather's gym, she has lost that due to some things that have happened in the past, and Haley finds she cannot go back, even knowing she would eventually be accepted again. I love her protective nature, but at the same time, I wanted to beg her to ask for help and not carry the weight of everything all by herself.
West comes in and throws Haley's life into chaos. She sees him as another person she has to protect and she begs him to leave her alone. However, West isn't so easily swayed. He knows there is much more going on with Haley than he knows, but one thing is for sure: he's not letting her face it alone. This is what redeemed West for me. He fights for Haley. He defends her when NO ONE else will and it really shows you the type of guy he truly is. Sure, he comes from money, wears designer clothes, and has never had to want for once in his life, but sometimes perfection is merely a façade. West has a lot more problems than you would guess and the choices he makes will really make you appreciate him and forgive him for trying to do the right thing with his family, even if handled in the wrong manner.
West and Haley's relationship is developed just right and I like that Katie didn't rush it. Trust is such an important thing for these two, so naturally it doesn't come easily. It comes through their actions and the lengths they would go to ensure the others' safety. But holy chemistry! West and Haley have it in spades and I do oh so love that McGarry isn't afraid to hold back!
I love that Abby also makes several appearances in this book. She is still such a mystery, but I love her quirky, helpful nature.
Final Thoughts: I am just so in love with this series. Katie always manages to evoke such strong emotions and each characters' journey is one that is both beautiful and heart-wrenching at the same time. I love how she isn't afraid to tackle the more sensitive topics and really make you stop and think at just what these teens must face and deal with on an everyday basis.

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  1. YOU HAVE ME SO EXCITED JESSICA! I haven't made time for this one yet, but I really really want to. I adore Katie McGarry and I know I will love this book too. Wonderful review!

  2. You read this in one day! Holy cow. I didn't realize this book was so long, I just thought I was reading super slow. Loved this book although my favorites are still Pushing the Limits and Crash Into You. Abby need her own book!

  3. Like you, I was a little weary of the page length at first but once I started, I couldn't put it down. Katie does characterization so well and it seems impossible to not fall for her characters. I'm really hoping to see Abbys book in the future :)


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