Fun fact: this was read as a stand alone. Turns out it’s the third in the series, but luckily it just works. Definitely seems worth going back and getting a little more of the back story, but there’s certainly enough to set the scene without the prior knowledge. Phew!
The story follows 17 year old Rachel, a rich girl who is heavily into cars and lives in the shadow of her deceased sister, and Isaiah, a tattooed and pierced punk product of foster care with a penchant for the drag racing circuit.
Their meeting is chance, as Rachel seeks a thrill an accepts the offer of a drag race. The cops bust it, and she won’t leave him behind. Their story at times has nothing exceptionally new: teens, the good girl and the bad boy, tattoos used as a sign that he’s bad news, and an undeniable connection despite all their differences, parents and brothers who just won’t understand.
And while that much very much falls in line with what you’d expect, their actual back stories prove interesting. Isaiah has friends as family and rebels against his care worker and mother, who has been released from prison; he’s bad news for everyone, in his mind.
Rachel’s is much more loaded. Born after her family kept having kids to replace the daughter they lost to leukemia, she feels the lifelong pressure to keep her mother happy and try be the reincarnation of the sister she never knew. Her brothers are overprotective and her anxiety is triggered by much of the pressure that is put on her; she fears being weak, but ultimately proves to have strength in other ways.
More so, they are bonded by the backlash of the drag race bust, in which they owe Eric $5000. Unwilling to leave the other in the lurch, they are tied until the debt is paid at the very least. Unsurprisingly, it goes beyond mere partners in (avoiding) crime. The crescendo (though the subsequent plot points may say otherwise…) comes as Rachel stands to present a 20 minutes speech at the leukemia charity her mother works with, a turn for both the book in tone, and the understanding of her as a person by those around her.
Crash Into You is not without its moments of head over heels love, but it’s easy to see why teens would fall into it. At that age, it’s easy to relate to that level of attachment. Where many plots veil a possessive ass under the veil of ‘being protective’, Isaiah genuinely looks to protect Rachel from the off, and all for the right reasons. But where many others in this genre have a couple with no real grit to their tale, this brings to interesting characters together with circumstances that at have some thought into them.
It draws you in, and that alone speaks volumes. They’re a couple almost against the world, and part of you squeals internally with delight when they snatch moments together, with her innocence proving the ultimate hook as she falls for the (not so) bad boy. Kind of refreshing after some of the books that have come this year, actually. For youngsters looking for a love tale, this is a neat recommendation.