Five-Star Friday: Going Too Far

Five-Star Friday is a periodically regular (say what?!) feature that I’m planning on running on Fridays (but not every Friday) in which I talk about (or verbally drool over) a book that I’ve read and ADORED (sometimes they’ll be recent releases and other times they might be older…my piles are tall and the bottoms are old). Yay! I always feel so happy and light and wonderful when I am beside myself with delight over a book, and I want to share the love with you all in the hopes that we can all get together and have an embarrassing, squeal-filled love-fest full of lots of high-pitched “Ohmygod, I KNOW!s” and chest-clutching sighs of contentedness. Huzzah!*

Five-Star Friday time, friends! Today, I’m highlighting one of my FAVORITE contemporaries EVER: Jennifer Echols’ GOING TOO FAR.

Let’s get straight down to business: Jennifer Echols can write some SOLID contemporary, friends. I’ve read most of her books (still need to catch up on EX-GAMES and MAJOR CRUSH), and they’ve all been great. Lots of super drama, funny characters, great Southern atmosphere, and out-of-control sexytimes. OUT. OF. CONTROL. But even though I’m an Echols superfan, my favorite book of hers remains the first I ever read, her first romantic drama, GOING TOO FAR. This one has all of the goodies, guys. AND THEN SOME.

GOING TOO FAR is the story of Meg, a high school senior with some baggage from her past that has caused her to turn over a rebellious leaf. She wants NOTHING more than to finish school and get out of town, away from her parents and their greasy spoon diner. This small town is too small for our trouble-maker, Meg. She’s spunky, funny, flirty, kind of stubborn, and has some major phobias about being trapped and restricted. One thing Meg ISN’T looking for is emotional attachment, cause, you know, emotional confinement. Sex, yes. Feelings, no.

Enter Officer John After. *SWOON* (Sorry. Involuntary reaction.) He’s a cop who joined the force straight out of high school a year earlier, and he has a VERY rigid sense of right and wrong. Also, he has baggage involving this one railroad bridge in town. Also, he’s hot in his uniform. But it just so happens that Meg and her friends get caught on this same bridge, drunk and high and being crazy, by John After and are all arrested. And thus begins Meg and John’s great, HOT, complicated but intense relationship.

To say that these two kids get off on the wrong foot is probably an understatement, but guys? Every time John and Meg are together, they give the tingles. The tension is off the charts. Their relationship is SMOKIN’ and full of lots of wonderful things, like growth and affection and love. Also snarky bickering and antagonizing. Meg and John both have issues from their pasts that are holding them back from living the way they want to, and watching the two of them come to understand and love each other despite their piles of crazy is fantastic, and fraught with so much sexual tension.

I just realized that I keep mentioning sexytimes. In my defense, I offer the following arguments: One, the sexytimes–both the literal sexytimes and the build-up to the sexytimes–deserve to be mentioned because they’re really well done. Jennifer Echols is a sexytimes MASTER. Two, since when is mentioning fabulous sexytimes BAD? (Answer: never.) And three, Meg and John’s physical connection is actually a point of some importance to their relationship (see Meg’s “Sex, yes. Feelings, no” bit from up top there). But this book is actually about more than sex. Meg wants big things for herself, and she’s convinced that she’ll never get them by staying at home. John wants nothing more than to be a good cop, protecting people in his hometown from each other and themselves. Meg lives to break the rules and go through life without the burden of emotional ties. John, obviously, LIVES by the rules, and has this deep reservoir of feelings that he’s not ashamed to share with the right person. Seriously, John After is one of the swooniest YA love interests out there, especially if you have a thing for cops or men in uniform. He’s a little righteous sometimes, but Meg is a spitfire who calls him out. *SWOON* They’re so good together.

Before I wrap things up, I wanted to mention one thing about GOING TOO FAR that I love. Well, I love it about all of Jennifer Echols’ romantic dramas in general (her dramas are the ones with the close-ups of people’s faces on the covers): The characters either already are, or are on the verge of becoming, legal adults. New Adults, HOLLA! In GOING TOO FAR, John After is 19. He’s WORKING. Meg is finishing up high school and turning 18 soon. Things in their lives are getting more serious. They’re figuring out what they want for their futures. Jennifer Echols’ romantic comedies are great, too, and you should definitely give them a shot, but her dramas are AWESOME because they feature young people getting their first taste of real, grown-up life.

GOING TOO FAR is one of my favorite contemporaries, friends, and if you’re new to Jennifer Echols or maybe you don’t fancy contemporaries that much, I’d heartily recommend this book to you. You won’t be disappointed.

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*So, I know that this feature is called “Five-Star Friday,” intimating that I have five-star ratings on this blog. Alas, I’m still figuring out whether or not to have a rating system here, BUT I do always diligently rate all the books I read on my Goodreads page. The five-star titles of which I speak here are taken from my “Favorites” shelf there.

Comments

  1. Woooo sexytimes! I’ve never read anything by Jennifer Echols but holy smokes I want to just for the sexytimes now! (Also, P.S. I LOVE that term!)

    Also, is it just me or does anyone else remember not having a lot of baggage in high school? I feel like every character in contemporary novels has this huge, dramatic past and they’re only 17! Although, I guess there really isn’t anything mildly entertaining about an average flute playing band geek who takes A.P. English and babysits on the weekends. Yeah, those kind of girls don’t typically have a lot of baggage, unless like someone beat them out for 1st chair or they got a bad grade on an English paper.

    They also don’t have sexytimes.

    • hahaha…you crack me up! Because you speak true, my friend: babysitting band geeks do not have sexytimes. Or in my case, yearbook geeks. But you’re right. I feel like we never read a book about a normal high school kid who is just…normal. I don’t know how interesting that book would be to read, but I feel you. It’s like there are no normal kids in YA high school anymore. YOU MUST WRITE THIS BOOK.
      And I LOVE using the phrase “sexytimes.” The more I get to use it in my reviews, the better. Jennifer Echols is always good for some above-average sexytimes, especially in her dramas (Going Too Far, Forget You, Love Story), although her comedies are super cute, too. Forget You and Love Story are good, but I feel like Going Too Far is the best of them all.
      Ooh, PLUS, I just remembered something!! You should totally read this book because it’s set in Birmingham! I don’t know where exactly in Alabama you are, but YAY ALABAMA!! I know I always get psyched to read book set in Jersey! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. This is my FAV Jennifer Echols book! I love your thoughts on Office John After ๐Ÿ˜‰ YAY for older YA! ๐Ÿ™‚ <–that rhymes, lol.

  3. I need to read this. SO MUCH.

  4. Yo I am all about the sexytimes. ALL ABOUT THEM!

    So this heads up on sexytimes to come? Duly noted.

    Also, I’ve only read two Jennifer Echols books – one I loved – Forget You- and one I wasn’t so keen on – Endless Summer. Methinks Going Too Far is more up my alley!

  5. I love this book too! SO SOSOSOSOSOSO SO GOOD. I am all about some sexytimes with John After.

    • GAAAAHHH!!! I love it! I seriously had to reread it after I wrote this post and I swear, I got the same tingles and good feelings as I got the first time I read it. John After is STEAMY. *fans self*

Trackbacks

  1. […] Echols‘ new book, SUCH A RUSH, is super–probably my favorite book of hers after GOING TOO FAR, which will always get bonus points for being the first book of hers I read–and deserves both […]

  2. […] is one of my stand-by, go-to, always-some-degree-of-win contemporary YA authors. Ever since I read GOING TOO FAR last year–still my favorite book of hers, by the way (if you haven’t read any of her […]

  3. […] love her so. I’ve read and enjoyed all of her books and while none has been quite as good as GOING TOO FAR, I still anticipate her releases with lots of tingles and drools and happy claps. This one is […]

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