Such a Rush (Summer Series Book Review)

Summer Series 

I love summer books. I love the romance of summer. I love books about different vacation spots. I love books about road trips. I love seeing the beach on the cover of a book. To celebrate this lovely season, every Thursday I’m going to post a book and review of a summer book I’d recommend reading by the pool, at the beach, while driving across America (or whatever country you call home), in a hammock, in a cabin, on a boat, or at home as you dream of vacation. Happy Summer, everyone! 
 

This week’s summer book is: 
 
Such a Rush
Such a Rush

Author: Jennifer Echols
Publisher: MTV Books
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Number of Pages: 325
Synopsis from Goodreads:

A sexy and poignant romantic tale of a young daredevil pilot caught between two brothers.

When I was fourteen, I made a decision. If I was doomed to live in a trailer park next to an airport, I could complain about the smell of the jet fuel like my mom, I could drink myself to death over the noise like everybody else, or I could learn to fly.

Heaven Beach, South Carolina, is anything but, if you live at the low-rent end of town. All her life, Leah Jones has been the grown-up in her family, while her mother moves from boyfriend to boyfriend, letting any available money slip out of her hands. At school, they may diss Leah as trash, but she’s the one who negotiates with the landlord when the rent’s not paid. At fourteen, she’s the one who gets a job at the nearby airstrip.

But there’s one way Leah can escape reality. Saving every penny she can, she begs quiet Mr. Hall, who runs an aerial banner-advertising business at the airstrip and also offers flight lessons, to take her up just once. Leaving the trailer park far beneath her and swooping out over the sea is a rush greater than anything she’s ever experienced, and when Mr. Hall offers to give her cut-rate flight lessons, she feels ready to touch the sky.

By the time she’s a high school senior, Leah has become a good enough pilot that Mr. Hall offers her a job flying a banner plane. It seems like a dream come true . . . but turns out to be just as fleeting as any dream. Mr. Hall dies suddenly, leaving everything he owned in the hands of his teenage sons: golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson. And they’re 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.

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MY THOUGHTS:
Such a Rush starts with our young protagonist, Leah, at the age of 14. She works at the airport near the South Carolina trailer park where she lives and is obsessed with airplanes. Knowing that she wants to be a pilot, she saves up the money for a flying lesson with Mr. Hall, the nice older gentleman who owns a banner-flying business along with giving lessons, and scattering ashes in the Atlantic. Mr. Hall takes her under his wing and teaches her to fly, only charging for some of the lessons, and after a few years, eventually giving her a job as a banner-flyer. Mr. Hall has three sons, the oldest one-who dies very early in the book in the war, with Mr. Hall dying shortly after-and twins. Alec is nice, friendly, and cheerful. Grayson is dark, wild, and brooding. Guess which one she likes.

The bulk of the story, after the initial background and set-up, takes place over the spring break of Leah’s senior year. She is dating a jerk, her mother is never (for real, never) home, and she is still trying to get over Mr. Hall’s death, when Grayson comes to her demanding that she work for him over spring break and the summer in the banner business. Oh, and he also wants her to date Alec, and blackmails her to do so.

I was a bit disappointed in Such a Rush. I was so excited to when I won this in a Goodreads first-reads contest, but it just didn’t live up to my expectations. On the plus side, the idea of a young, female pilot is very cool and original. I did find Grayson appealing despite myself, and the tension between them is definitely sexy. I liked her best friend, Molly, although that relationship is also one of my complaints. Finally, after a slow start where it really wasn’t holding my attention for more than a couple of pages at a time for the first few days, it finally started picking up and I found it easy to get through for the last 3/4 of the book.

The biggest negative for me was Leah, herself. She is a poor, tough girl from a rough neighborhood and with a dead-beat mother. I got what the author was trying to do, but I hated certain aspects of her character. The biggest was her constant use of the word whore. The version I read is an ARC, but the word whore is used repeatedly. Leah calls herself a whore, calls other girls whores, talks about the whores on the boardwalk, etc. I hate that word. Hate it. On one two page spread it is used roughly 7-8 times. Again, I understand her character’s perception because of her up-bringing, but it made me cringe every time. Tying into that is her friendship with Molly, a rich girl who moved to town a couple of years earlier. The two became friends after they almost fought over a boy, and carry on this tough girl friendship where the call each bitches to show how tough they are. Leah also constantly describes her clothes as short and tight and too small, and tries to blame all the other girls in town dislike for her on her hair. 

My last complaint is the use of the rampant YA mother who is just awful. Who steals money from their daughters, who don’t provide for them at all, who is conveniently never home. While I’m sure these mothers exist, I don’t think they exist to the point where it is like the only mother who exists in YA. It feels lazy, like authors don’t know how to write a real relationship between a teenager and her parents. Also, the poor, lets her boyfriend beat her, dead-beat, trailer-park mom–I mean c’mon, really? Had to go the stereotyped route on the trailer-park mom, huh?

This review is more harsh than I want it to be, but these things really got to me while I was reading. Despite its flaws, I did end up enjoying Such a Rush. Again, it is an original YA book, but it is also definitely an older teen read. It ended being more serious than I was expecting, although this is the first book by Jennifer Echols that I read, so maybe all of her books are more serious than their cutesy covers belie. Even though it was deeper than I was expecting, it was still sexy and cute in parts. Overall, I think that readers who enjoy older, contemporary YA will enjoy this one. Probably more than I did.  

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12 thoughts on “Such a Rush (Summer Series Book Review)

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  1. The summary definitely sounds interesting. I generally stay away from serious contemporary YA, but I have read two recently that I enjoyed. Too bad you didn't like this one more. I actually hate when a word is overused in general (even an endearment) but the word whore? Ugh! Great review! ~Pam

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  2. Agreed. Hearing the same words and phrases repeated throughout a book often gets old, but especially when the word is so ugly. I wouldn't say this book is “serious”, per se, it was just more serious than I thought it was going to be. It wasn't a real issue book or anything. Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. I liked this because I'm a fan of Echols' books but I did not like it as much as some of her others and I definitely agree with some of your issues. I'm a stickler for over used words, it always gets to me!

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  4. This was my first Echols book. I've since read Dirty Little Secret–which I also liked alright, but I'm not blown away by her writing. In both books the parents were incredibly unrealistic and just plain awful and both had love interests who had great chemistry with the heroine, but who are just, well…dicks. I may pick up some of her older books sometime, but they aren't topping my TBR pile. Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. I totally agree! There was just so much stereotyping that it was just plain annoying! What annoyed me is that just because Leah grew up in trailer parks everyone assumes that she is a total slut! And it feels so WRONG! I also agree that the whole calling people whores every paragraph was so super annoying.
    I think that there were definitely some good things about the book, but personally I don't think that this book was Echols best piece of work! Great review!!

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  6. This isn't the first review I've seen where they've been disappointed. I've read two Jennifer Echols books now and I didn't like them. Everyone told me 'Oh, you need to read Such a Rush, etc.' Well, I think now I'll be waiting- if I ever get to it. Thanks for such an honest review Natalie!

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  7. The stereotyping was a huge letdown for me. I briefly lived with my parents (who are still happily married and not at all abusive) when I was a teen, so that stereotype personally affects me. And the word whore. Ugh. I didn't end up hating the book, but I wasn't as impressed as I wanted to be. Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. Shirin, I have literally seen you post this exact message on at least 50 other blogs. I'm sure you are a lovely girl and I can understand wanting followers as a new blogger, but this type of mass message is just so disingenuous.

    I doubt you will ever come back and read this. You've left this exact message on so many blogs you probably don't even remember leaving this one, but I hope you do read this. Again, I'm sure you are a lovely girl, but the way to make friends in the blogging community is to be real and sincere. I'm not interested in following bloggers who are only interested in the numbers.

    But good luck to you.

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