Going Too Far, by Jennifer Echols

  • Title: Going Too Far
  • Author: Jennifer Echols (author website here)
  • Published: March, 2009
  • Pages: 245 pages (paperback)
  • Genre: Young Adult
  • Standalone or series: Standalone.
  • Why I read it: Um, have you NOT heard the buzz about how awesome this books is? It seems like every book blog I read last year sung it’s praises, but I only just got around to reading it.
  • Source: Library.
  • This book is ABSO-FECKIN-LUTELY as fabulously wonderful as everyone said it is. READ IT NOW. Why haven’t you read it yet?! Yes you (I see you!). Recommended for anyone who likes literary fiction, any type of YA, chick lit, and romance novels. This is a book you could recommend to pretty much ANY female in your circle of family, friends, and acquaintances. I would also recommend it as a book club read. While it is labeled as Young Adult there is quite a bit of sex and drugs raciness as well as seriousness surrounding death, phobias, and diseases.

    There was nothing I didn’t like about the book. Literally nothing.

    I’m usually not a fan of first-person narratives, especially in romantic types of stories, I want and need to hear both perspectives of how they fall in love, but Echols’ character development was so deft, detailed, and poignant that the clues were all there to pick up on, even if we only heard 17 year old Meg’s point of view.

    I also really connected with Meg, even with her dyed-blue hair, living in a trailer, working for free at her parent’s greasy spoon diner, sleeping with the town’s rich-boy-druggie…someone SO different from me the reader, I connected with her. This is no mean feat. But being inside Meg’s head, listening to the way she describes herself, the way she sees people around her, the way she observes the world – I got her. She was refreshing and cynical at the same time, a very mature 17 year old that’s for sure.

    One of the ways the writing enables us to connect so well with Meg is that she almost has running inside jokes with us, the reader. The book opens with her getting arrested for drinking and trespassing on dangerous railroad tracks on a bridge. Her punishment is to miss her senior year of high school spring break, the first time she would ever get out of her bumblefuck Alabama town, and spend the week riding with the cop who arrested her.

    She first thinks he is much older than he is, he’s so big and built and his uniform and confident way he holds himself confuses her on his age. She imagines his kids at home reading comic books, his wife cooking fruit cobbler, and anxiously listening to the police scanner while she waits for him to come home.

    While Meg finds out her cop (and he does become her cop more and more!), John, is actually 19 she still has that inside joke with us about the fruit cobbler. Every now and then she’ll bring it up, but relating it to herself.

    Here is one of my favorite passages, giving you an idea how fun it is to be inside Meg’s thoughts, and how she sets up scenes, inside jokes with us, and describes things so we can really connect with her:

    Before this I’d entertained a miniature thought of what might happen if I saw John when my official punishment was over two nights from now. The small thought had not become a large thought because it had no room to grow. Currently John was pouring Miracle-Gro on the thought. I was just getting out the hedge clippers to cut the thought down when he parked in front of Martini’s…

    [John walked into the bar to break up a potentially dangerous fight]

    I gripped the front of the seat with both sweaty hands to keep from jumping out of the car and running to him. And then I got completely freaking furious with myself. I did hope that I was not entertaining a plot to somehow date Johnafter? I cranked up the chain saw to cut down the plot made by Miracle-Gro.

    He got back into the car with much clinking of the weaponry attached to his belt. “What’s wrong?”…

    I pressed one finger between my eyes, still concentrating on the chain saw. Feel the chain saw. Be the chain saw…

    The chain saw had run out of gas.

    Life hasn’t been easy for Meg, and she hasn’t made it any easier for herself either. Her baggage and reasons for her rebellious nature are a few of the many layers of this amazing book. I turned each page super fast just to peel away each layer from both her, and John. Even though we’re in Meg’s POV she still keeps some secrets from us and when they are revealed, and when John finally reveals some of his own…well you won’t be unaffected, let’s just say that. Not everyone is a crier like me, but there is no way to read this book and be unaffected.

    This was my first Jennifer Echols book and I can’t wait to read more by her. As a lover of all things romance and stories that affect me on a deep emotional level I couldn’t ask for more than what I found in Going Too Far.

    All my fave bloggers have read and reviewed (and loved!) it too:

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    13 Responses

    1. YES!! I’m so glad you liked it! Right? It’s SOOOOO GOOOODD. *hugs her copy*.

      There are so many quotable parts in this book too.

      People reading this review who have not read this book? Go and get it. Read it.

    2. hmmm, I’ve not had good luck with YA lately. Maybe I need to give Simone Echols a go. I keep hearing good things. Very nice reviews ma’am. :)

    3. janicu: i got mine from the library, but i definitely need to buy a copy to i can hug it too!

      Fiction Vixen: boo, sorry for your YA slump, as long as the stuff in my review sounds vaguely appealing to your preferences i think you’ll LOVE this book. the writing is so amazing, and the super interesting characters as well as engaging plot don’t hurt either!

      also Jennifer Echols wrote Going Too Far…Simone Elkeles wrote Perfect Chemistry which is on my wish list.

    4. I want a John! Although, I don’t see how Meg thought John was near 40. Silly girl.

    5. Okay, so the true test — do you think I would like it?

    6. I loved this book , your review & your blog (how come I haven’t stumbled here before?)

    7. *raises hand* Have not read it. I know, I know. I’m ordering it…for real!

    8. KB: i know, HOW on earth could she think someone who was in her spanish class the year before was 40 instead of 19? i found that annoying also

      Rachel: yes. and YES. see my first paragraph!

      Emily: welcome to the lusty reading den! happy reading!

      Mandi: *squinty eyes* make sure that you do!

    9. hmmmm….i liked it but it’s no perfect chemistry! the ending was a little too easy for my taste. great review though!

    10. lol, no worries about being team adrian. i’d probably be on team adrian too, if dimitri didn’t exist. adrian’s an extremely likable person. but, mmm, i dont know….dimitri. he’s got it goin on in a way no one else can compare to for me!

      anyway, yeah, you’ve got to read perfect chemistry. can’t wait to see what you think of it!

    11. Yay! I’m glad you liked it. :)

    12. […] my practically divine Jennifer Echols reading experience really cemented this recent trend. After falling so hard for Going Too Far I knew I couldn’t put off other recommendations any […]

    13. […] Going Too Far, Jennifer Echols A+ (review here) […]

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