Review: Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols

Echols’s writing tends to be a bit hit or miss with me, and while this one went far to make up for the undelivered promise of Echols’s previous book, Love Story, it never lived up to the promise set by the tone of her early releases. For me, this book read far too much like a dramatized version of Echols’s own Endless Summer omnibus. Yet whereas that story at least benefitted from a lighthearted summer tone and the oft-overused but never old “friends turned more” trope, Such a Rush is bogged down with an overly somber storyline and under-developed characters.

My dad is a pilot, so I couldn’t help but approach much of this novel with a skeptical bird on my shoulder, wondering just how much research Echols conducted regarding being a pilot. Granted, I know next to nothing on the subject myself, so I’m in no position to criticize, and I in fact applaud her for finding a new backdrop that hasn’t already been explored to death in young adult literature. I usually go into an Echols novel prepared to meet teen characters who live a grittier

Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols

existence than I have ever endured, and Such a Rush is no exception. Leah is trying hard to defy the trailer-park stereotypes, with no help from her deadbeat mother and financial hardships. I liked that Echols allowed Leah to be sexy to a fault, with her unknowing adoption of a sexual persona as a survival mechanism characterizing her while not defining her. Too often, female characters are pushed to the ends of the sexual spectrum; one false step in either direction will land them in spinster or slut territory. Leah is neither; she’s learned from her experiences and, refreshingly, acknowledges that they impact her decision-making presently. Still, while I never disliked Leah, I can’t say that I particularly liked her either. She’s unoffensive, yet also rather unmemorable. One thing I applaud Echols for is her inclusion of a female friend who, gasp, has agency in her own right. She’s not plopped in the background as a mere decoration or foil, and while her involvement in the story never overshadows Leah’s spot front-and-center, it nevertheless has ramifications broader than jealousy, guilt, or other shallow emotions that female best friends so often fulfill.

I wouldn’t say that Such a Rush has a love triangle, precisely. To be honest, I have a hard time defining the romance in this novel, which might represent an attribute, as Echols clearly is attempting to resist the typical format. I don’t think she was as successful as she hoped to be, though. Such a Rush never gave me the euphoric feelings the title implies. I wasn’t invested in Leah and Grayson’s relationship because it consisted of too much antagonism with too little sentiment to balance it out. I love love-hate relationships, but I never got enough push-back here. Oddly enough, I might have preferred for Leah and Grayson to be a little more hostile to each other, as at least I could have approximated that as some form of passion. Grayson’s insistence that Leah try to seduce his brother was offered flimsy justification at the end, and it didn’t serve to provide enough tension during the majority of the book. This might be partly due to the fact that I felt both brothers needed to be fleshed out more. Echols relies too heavily on physical descriptions to fill in for personality traits, yet they are not proxies for each other. I’ll admit that Echols threw in a twist that I didn’t see coming, but as far as twists go, it was rather tame and resolved too quickly.
I enjoyed Such a Rush, yet a few months from now, I doubt I’ll be able to recall much of it.  Echols could have pushed further and produced a story on par with Going Too Far or Forget You, but as it is, Such a Rush fails to measure up.
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It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? is a meme created at Book Journey to catalogue everything read in the past week, what you’re working on now, and what you hope to get to in the coming week.

The Past Week

Freaks Like Us by Susan Vaught

The Mine by John Heldt

One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones

Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost

Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols

The Proposition by Judith Ivory

Reading Now

This Is Not Forgiveness by Celia Rees

The Week Ahead

Thieftaker by D.B. Jackson

The Burning Star by Jessie Lane

Showcase Sunday

Showcase Sunday is a meme created by Vicky at Books, Biscuits, and Tea to share new book acquisitions, whether bought, gifted, received for review, borrowed, or won.

 Bought
  • Lothaire by Kresley Cole
  • Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost
For Review
  • Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols (received from Gallery Books)
  • Souled by Diana Murdoch (received from author)
  • The Mine by John Heldt (received from author)
  • The Burning Star by Jessie Lane (received from author)

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created over at The Broke and the Bookish that allows us to list our top ten answers to a different question each week.

This week’s theme is: Top Ten Books I’d Recommend As Good Beach Reads

Since I focused on a destination travel-type theme for the Top Ten Books I’d Play Hooky With list a couple of months ago, I decided to interpret this week’s theme in the literal sense. Unfortunately, it turns out that I haven’t actually read that many books set at the beach, but that didn’t stop me from following through on my idea even if I didn’t make it to ten books.

1. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
Nearly any of Dessen’s books would be great beach reads material, but Along for the Ride has the added bonus of being set in a beach town and also featuring one of my favorite of Dessen’s male leads.

2. Rites of Spring (Break) by Diana Peterfreund
Okay, the bad news is that you will probably have to read the first two books in Peterfreund’s Secret Society Girl series before reading this third installment (set on a private beach island) in order to get the maximum effect of character development. The good news is that the entire series is fantastic, and you’ll likely want to run right out to find the fourth and final book as soon as you finish this one.

3. Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
Narrator Bria travels to some pretty interesting places during her time in Central America; it goes without saying that Wanderlove features descriptions of numerous beaches and, while the travel conditions don’t always sound ideal, Bria’s story is guaranteed to put a little bit of the wanderlust in you.

4. Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols
An omnibus edition that combines The Boys Next Door with its sequel, Endless Summer is a lighthearted tale of flirting and fun. While the beach in this one is technically a lake, there’s enough wakeboarding and water antics to satisfy.

5. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
This one doesn’t quite fit under the light and fluffy category, but it’s still a perfect beach read. Stiefvater’s mythology is captivating, and her descriptions of the ocean community where the story takes place offer up images of my favorite kind of beach: chilly and a little desolate.

6. The Mediator series by Meg Cabot
While Cabot’s Princess Diaries series remains my favorite of those I’ve read, her Mediator series features a mainly likeable protagonist and a nice slow-burn romance. Since it’s set in California, our former New York-native main character must adapt to the sunny skies and shores of the West Coast all while trying to keep her little secret (she can see dead people) under wraps.

7. The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland
I wasn’t the biggest fan of this book, as I found the characterizations and conflicts a bit too simplistic to be believable. However, it’s got some nice descriptions of a summer spent at a tiny beach resort and so serves as an excellent source of vicarious sand and surf.

Since I haven’t actually read the following books, I didn’t feel comfortable putting them on the main list. However, from what I’ve heard, if you’re craving a story set at the beach (preferably with a bit of romance thrown in), the Summer series by Jenny Han and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares are good bets.

And since I feel bad about not quite reaching ten books this week, here are a couple of my favorite beach films thrown in for good measure.

Mamma Mia
So liking Abba is pretty much a prerequisite for watching this film; otherwise I suspect the experience will be a bit akin to a root canal. As it is, Meryl Streep’s and Pierce Brosnan’s attempts at singing are nearly enough to send me running for the hills, but the cinematography of Grecian beaches is to die for (and there’s also Colin Firth; who can resist that?)

Shag
I may be a bit biased toward this film since I actually spent the greater part of my childhood growing up in Myrtle Beach and so can recognize many of the locations they used for filming. (Sadly, the Pavilion amusement park is no longer there.) However, even those who have never been to Myrtle will be able to relate to this story of young people taking a road trip for one last hurrah after graduating high school. Since it’s set in the sixties, it has the added bonus of a soundtrack filled with great beach tunes.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? is a meme created at Book Journey to catalogue everything read in the past week, what you’re working on now, and what you hope to get to in the coming week.

The Past Week

Love Story by Jennifer Echols

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta

Reading Now

Aftermath by Ann Aguirre

 The Week Ahead

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? is a meme created at Book Journey to catalogue everything read in the past week, what you’re working on now, and what you hope to get to in the coming week.

The Past Week

One Grave At a Time by Jeaniene Frost

Cold Fire by Kate Elliott

The Rift Walker by Clay and Susan Griffith

Reading Now

Love Story by Jennifer Echols

The Week Ahead

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Aftermath by Ann Aguirre

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a meme created by Kristi over at The Story Siren to share new book acquisitions, whether bought, gifted, received for review, borrowed, or won.

Bought

  • Vampire Empire Book Two: The Rift Walker by Clay and Susan Griffith

Gifted

  • Across the Universe by Beth Revis
  • Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
  • Love Story by Jennifer Echols
  • Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill

For Review

  • Cold Fire by Kate Elliott