30 August 2010

REVIEW: Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols

Book Title: GOING TOO FAR
Author Name: Jennifer Echols
ISBN #: 978-1-4165-7173-5
Publisher Name: Pocket Books
Date Released: March 2009
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 245
Book Format: Print
BACK COVER BLURB:

HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO?

All Meg has ever wanted is to get away. Away from high school. Away from her backwater town. Away from her parents who seem determined to keep her imprisoned in their dead-end lives. But one crazy evening involving a dare and forbidden railroad tracks, she goes way too far . . . and almost doesn't make it back.

John made a choice to stay. To enforce the rules. To serve and protect. He has nothing but contempt for what he sees as childish rebellion, and he wants to teach Meg a lesson she won't soon forget. But Meg pushes him to the limit by questioning everything he learned at the police academy. And when he pushes back, demanding to know why she won't be tied down, they will drive each other to the edge – and over . . .

FIRST LINES:
"That's the worst idea I ever heard," I told Eric. Then I took another sip of beer and swallowed. "Let's do it."

"Meg," Tiffany called after me. But I was already out the door of Eric's Beamer. My beer sloshed onto the gravel as I led the way across the dark clearing to the railroad bridge.


LYNETTE'S TWO CENTS:
People have been talking about Jennifer Echols to me for a really long time. My twitter buddy Sarah  is a big Jennifer Echols fan-girl. She keeps harping on me about Jennifer Echols and I keep harping on her about Sarah Dessen. She's never read Sarah Dessen, which I happen to think is a travesty and she's horrified that I haven't read Jennifer Echols. So, I decided the best way to pressure her into reading Sarah Dessen is to read a Jennifer Echol's novel.

I picked up GOING TOO FAR because from my understanding it's a fan favorite and I did enjoy the book. Meg is a wonderful character. She's reckless, but not stupid. The best way to describe her is walking around with her eyes wide shut. That is to say, she knows she's on the wrong path, she knows she's doing things that aren't healthy but she doesn't give a damn. She has an intelligence and awareness about the choices she's making. The reasoning behind her choices is explained later in the story and is perfectly reasonable.

John After (I love that name by the way), is an equally three-dimensioned person and Meg's opposite. For someone of his age, he's serious, dedicated, and focused. It was very understandable to me that Meg upon first meeting John assumed that he was a person much older than what he was. In fact, at times he was so perfect that I found him to be unbelievable. Yet, as Meg learned his tricks and layers and the façade he used to make himself appear more mature and responsible, I saw and understood as well. John also has reasons for taking the road that he's on which while believable, didn't have quite the emotional punch as Meg's did. John's reasons seemed somewhat clichéd.

While I loved the story and the writing, I did have some issues with the GOING TOO FAR. Some of those issues are unfair; some are based on my personal experiences that I just couldn't separate for the story's sake. Here they are:

• Yes. I know that it is totally unfair for me to compare Going Too Far with one of Sarah Dessen's books, but I can't help myself. I'm sorry. This story didn't pack quite the emotional punch (at least for me) that Sarah Dessen's stories have. As a result I found myself unable to connect deeper with the heroine and hero. This is most likely a personal preference.

• John After as a cop at nineteen. Okay, it is explained that it is possible in the story and it's an exception allowed in a few places, but I still couldn't get over that and suspended disbelief. I know this is because I work in a police department, I see the crap that they deal with every day. As a matter of fact, as part of my duties is to manage the recruitment activities for my department and as we speak first round interviews are being conducted for officers. Anyhoo, in my state, you have to be 21 to even buy bullets for your weapon. Candidates have been turned away because although they might the requirements all they know is mommy and daddy and school. You cannot be a cop without a little bit of life experience beyond school and your parents. You need to know a little something of the world. Seriously, (MINOR RANT NOT RELATED TO THE BOOK COMING) I've had candidates who mommy's have called me on the phone to manage their child's recruitment process. That's a sign to me that the person isn't mature enough for the job, at least in my department. While I'm well aware that where I work, is a larger and diverse environment than where John After works, but because of my personal experience, I just could not buy into him being a cop so young. Just couldn't do it. It gave me the creeps that someone would even allow him to have a weapon. Sorry!

Bottom Line: I loved the writing, the heroine, the premise of the story, and the climax, which was skillfully displayed and drawn out. I wished that the story had that little something extra that would've made me connect more emotionally to the characters. What that is, I can't explain, but I do get it when I'm reading another certain YA author that I talked about earlier. And I would read Jennifer Echols again.

WHERE PURCHASED:
Borrowed from my local library!

Rating:
B

post signature


3 people posted their 2 cents:

Kwana said...

Thanks so much for this review and I too have to read Sarah Dresden. Yikes.

Lynette said...

You must read Sarah Dessen, especially The Truth About Forever!

Sarah said...

Great review Lynette! Your poitns are well thought out and make sense. I am weirded out that sometimes parents call about their child's recruitment however.

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