Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols, published by Simon and Schuster on 1st April 2013
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...
This is the first title I've read by Jennifer Echols after hearing a lot of great things about her books from other readers. Although I didn't end up loving it as much as I thought I would, I definitely still want to read more by her.
The story centres around teenager Meg, a rebel who at the beginning of the book gets herself into trouble with the police. Her punishment is to ride the night shift with Officer John After - a young policeman who wants to make Meg face up to her actions. It doesn't seem like much of a punishment however, when she starts developing feelings for him which he may just return.
This is normally the sort of contemporary YA book which I enjoy but although it was a good, quick read, it didn't wow me in any way. I think a lot of that is down to the central character of Meg who I felt needed more development. She has a secret in her past that she conceals until the second-half of the book. Although when this eventually comes to light it made it much easier for me to understand her and her actions, I still didn't particularly warm to her. She's hiding behind her secret but because of this she just came across as immature and rebellious.
I also didn't feel the connection between her and John. I found it strange that she could construct a whole imaginary life for him in her head, where he is forty and married with children. Although he is mature for his age, he's still only nineteen, not middle-aged. He was an interesting and unusual male romantic lead but again, it was only right at the end of the book that I saw another side to him which I quite liked.
If you're looking for a quick, contemporary read which doesn't fit the usual mould for a YA romance, then I would suggest giving 'Going Too Far' a try. Although I wanted more from the story and the characters, I'm still eager to read some of Jennifer Echols's other books in the future.