Review: Take Me On by Katie McGarry

July 10, 2014 Raquel Romero 0

Take Me On by Katie McGarry
Series: Pushing the Limits #4
Publication Date: May 27th 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 544
Format: Hardcover

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Acclaimed author Katie McGarry returns with the knockout new story of two high school seniors who are about to learn what winning really means.

Champion kickboxer Haley swore she'd never set foot in the ring again after one tragic night. But then the guy she can't stop thinking about accepts a mixed martial arts fight in her honor. Suddenly, Haley has to train West Young. All attitude, West is everything Haley promised herself she'd stay away from. Yet he won't last five seconds in the ring without her help.

West is keeping a big secret from Haley. About who he really is. But helping her-fighting for her-is a shot at redemption. Especially since it's his fault his family is falling apart. He can't change the past, but maybe he can change Haley's future.

Hayley and West have agreed to keep their relationship strictly in the ring. But as an unexpected bond forms between them and attraction mocks their best intentions, they'll face their darkest fears and discover love is worth fighting for.

We were nothing more than actions to reactions helpless against our own fate.

If you ever want to read real, contemporary YA, then Katie McGarry is the author you should look for. Her stories are painstakingly real, brutally honest and unflinching in its resolve. Plus, how often do you find female protagonists with a love for cars or female fighters? McGarry isnt afraid to think outside the box, nor is she afraid to shed some light on difficult situations.

Ill admitI was a bit surprised that the next book in the Pushing the Limits series focused on West. He wasnt as impacting a character in Crash Into You as, say, Abby. (On a side note, I really am hoping McGarry decides to tell Abbys story because she is one hell of a character just begging to be unraveled.) West came off as the rich, spoiled, playboy, and perhaps thats exactly why McGarry chose to tell his story. There was so much more to West than he let on and I came to realize that as I read his story. Most shocking of all, was the amount of angst in Take Me Onnot even did Pushing the Limits make my heart hurt and feel like I was completely helpless. It takes talent and a heck of a story to accomplish that, and Take Me On succeeded in that manner.

Shes probably right on both counts, but theres something dark in her eyes. Its the same shadow I see whenever she stops me. Youre worth fighting for.

Im not. The way she answers too fast with too much conviction twists my insides. When the three men who should be taking bullets for her stand by and let insults be thrown at her, how can I convince her otherwise?

Like the previous novels in the Pushing the Limits series, Take Me On is told in dual POVs, giving us an in-depth look into the lives, hopes, dreams and fears of our main characters. Haley hasnt stepped a foot inside the ring in over six months, ever since that night. To make matters worse, her family is falling apart, her once-close relationship with her grandfather is shaky at best, and theres a divide between her and best friends. Adults are supposed to have their life together, and the opposite is true about Haleys parents. Ever since her father was laid off and they lost their home, Haley and her family have been living with her unclewhos less than happy at the inconvenienceher mothers been working two minimum-wage jobs, and her fathers just a shell of the man he once was. As if that wasnt enough, with each rejection and each passing day, even Haleys started to lose hope. It isnt until West comes to her defense that things start looking up.

Silences seem longer in darkness. I think its because its harder to lie when the lights are off. Theres a rawness that only belongs to the night and the truth cant help but be set free.

At the beginning of the book, West is filled with self-hatred and despair at his sisters situation, and his role in the matter. As an older brother, West has always been Rachels protector, but after her accident, West is left in a self-destructive state. It is with that protective and act-first-think-later mentality that West finds himself training with Haley. Wests refusal to fail Haley like he failed Rachel only fuels his resolve, and as the story progresses, the fight becomes his redemption. Putting aside all the heavy stuff, West was a truly memorable character. Hes charming and sexy and down-right cocky, and beneath that carefree attitude lies a deadly loyal and a fiercely loving individual.

I will always hold you, I will always love you and I will always be right here.

Haley and Wests relationship starts difunctional at bestafter all, he almost runs her overbut over the course of the novel it develops into a friendship just begging to be more. Surprisingly, it was West that was pushing for a forever between the two. Once he decided Haley was it for him, he was all in. Haley, however, was a different case. With the way her last and only relationship ended, Haleys not looking to get involved with anyone elseno matter how irresistible they are. Its more than just not wanting to be involved with anyone. Haley hasnt talked to anyone, or has even acknowledged to herself what happened that night, and the consequences reach far beyond her refusal to get in the ring. It takes a long time for Haley to come to terms with that night, and even then shes left with permanent scars.

I feel small against him, fragile. Like hes realized the secret Ive hidden: that Im breakable, if not already broken.

Take Me On is not for the faint of heart. It is realistic and haunting, and will keep you aching. Once again, Katie McGarry tells a beautiful story of redemption, acceptance, and healing.



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