I almost didn’t read this one because of the atrocious cover (why did they feel the need to not only photoshop in an eyebrow piercing, but color her eyes to an alien blue?), but I’m glad I overcame my judgy-ness.

Speed Read:

Meg is a badass rebel teen who just wants out of her small town. Or at least, that’s the front she’s putting on for everyone, including herself. But intense claustrophobia + meaningless sex + blue hair that she doesn’t seem to like very much does not well adjusted make. After she gets caught sneaking onto a forbidden bridge, the same bridge where two teens were killed about a decade before, she’s forced not only to ride around in a cop car for a week to learn her lesson, but to confront her fears, her past, and whether she’s going to make it to the future.

The Deal:

Jennifer Echols. Hmmm. Jennifer. Echols.

I’m trying to figure out how much I like your book.

The writing is solid, with a snarky, hilarious, bad girl main character that is rarely seen in the romancy/teen genre like this. It was a breath of fresh air, and I totally believed that Meg’s life would have led her up to this point. What I didn’t believe was that everything that happened would have happened in that one week.

I wish it had taken place over an entire summer instead of spring break. I would have believed the relationships that fostered, and I would have believed Meg’s growth. Five nights is just not enough for all of that to happen, especially with such a crippling physical manifestation of her fears through claustrophobia and fainting. It’s possible that she would have been able to overcome it over the course of a summer, but even then, I’m skeptical.

I was also on the fence about her love interest, John. He knows he has a temper issue, but I don’t get why he would be so uptight about his friends being around Meg. It was borderline not-ok for me, reading it, and I found it unlikely that Meg would put up with his ridiculousness in that regard as much as she did. Even more frustrating, at several instances she found it cute. While I am fully aware that many girls find the overbearing actions of guys adorable, I just didn’t buy it for Meg. This girl is independent, strong, claustrophobic in every way possible. I’m not sure she would be comfortable with a guy trying to dictate who she can and cannot talk to and where she can and cannot go, even if he’s doing it for her own safety (real safety, not Edward Cullenhand’s shenanigans).

That said, once I put that aside and decided to just go for it, it’s a really lovely book. Even though Meg’s emotional journey takes place rather suddenly, it’s a believable transformation in and of itself. Refreshing also to see a relationship where both parties help each other to move on from their stuck state, rather than a magical boy or girl appearing and fixing all that is wrong with the main character. Each of their lessons were a little heavy handed, but I believe it’s only because they were under a time crunch. They had about six days to learn all of this, people! There isn’t much room for subtlety in a schedule that tight.

How Far Should You Go:

Ok, so say someone comes up to you holding a copy of this book, and it’s the hottest week of the year, and they say you can have the book if you forgo A/C for the amount of time it takes you to read it. I say go for it. Do not, I repeat, do not trade an entire summer of A/C for this book, so if you’re a painfully slow reader, this isn’t a good analogy. But if it’ll take you less than a week (which it should, it’s smallish and square-ish and the font is large-ish), then that’s a fair trade. Definitely don’t do anything crazy like give up slushies until Labor Day or anything.

The 13/16 Test:

Sixteen is fine, but definitely no for Thirteen. Meg is a troubled teen, and she’s familiar with all things sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Nothing too terrible or graphic, and even though I know logically that it probably (sadly) wouldn’t be over Thirteen’s head, in an ideal world I would hope she wouldn’t understand everything Meg experiences, so I’m not going to be the one to hand it to her just yet.

The Low Down:

Going Too Far
Author: Jennifer Echols
Publisher: Pocket Books (Simon and Schuster)
Published: March 17th, 2009
Classified as: Young Adult

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