Author: Katie McGarry
Take Me On is the fourth book in Katie McGarry’s Pushing The Limits series. I read and loved the first two books, Pushing the Limits and Dare You To, but have yet to read book 3; so though I was really excited to get this book and couldn’t wait to read it I was still hesitant about skipping Crash Into You.
In the end I read a couple of chapters and then put it down deciding I wanted to hunt down Crash Into You first, but the library took too long so I picked it back up. Honestly there is no reason this can’t be read by itself or out of sequence. Now that I have finished Take Me On my library has Crash Into You so I will be reading that soon. The story is stand alone but the timeline follows on and the characters are related.
Quite often in this type of series there are all sorts of clues in the book about who will be the focus of the next book, I didn’t have that this time having missed the last one and the main characters were all new to me.
Take Me On is the story of West and Haley, West is Rachel’s brother (she was one of the leads in Crash Into You). The story is written from both points of view in alternating chapters, both in the first person. I am getting used to this style of young adult novel but at times it makes you stop and refocus to work out whose voice you’re listening to. Their styles are different enough that usually it’s not too difficult but every now and then I found myself a little lost – but that could well say more about my sleep deprived state than the writing.
West Young is the son of wealthy parents and he has it all, except for a sense of home and a sense of belonging, until he is expelled from school for fighting and then kicked out of home, all while his sister is recovering in the hospital. Pride sees him determined to do it on his own so he spends some time sleeping in his car, at the worst time of year for it because the temperature plummets to near freezing overnight. His phone dies after a couple of days because he forgot to take his charger and for the first time in his life he regularly goes hungry.
Haley and her family are facing some tough times and are living with her uncle who is doing his best to make their lives more miserable. Haley seems to be copping a lot from him, being treated like a slave and put down at every opportunity. She is carrying a lot of weight around on her teenaged shoulders and spending most of her time living in her head. The last year has been tough and her inability to talk to anyone has seen her shut down and shut those closest to her out. She had been a champion kickboxer but something made her give up and walk away from fighting and the gym she trained in, owned by her grandfather – the place she felt most at home.
West and Haley are thrown together by chance one night and that should be the end of it but West’s new school happens to be the same one Haley attends. He wants to keep it quiet from everyone that he’s a Young, yes everyone will know he’s a Young but he doesn’t want them to know he’s one of THE Young’s. This really is a fresh start for him because no-one knows who his family is so for the first time people have the opportunity to see him for who he really is, outside of his family name.
Haley and West seem to be the classic couple from opposite sides of the track but they do share a lot of similarities. Again McGarry has written the story of two broken souls struggling to find themselves and heal their hurts. Haley and West are both carrying the weight of their families on their shoulders and it is stunting their growth, through finding each other they start to share the weight and grow together into their own people.
West is impulsive, often reacting rather than thinking things through which is how he ended up where he is. He then ends up agreeing to a mixed martial arts cage match in his defense of Haley without truly knowing what he’s signed up for. He may find himself in fights at times and he can hold his own but there’s a big difference between a street brawl with a random kid from school and a cage match with a highly trained kickboxer. His pride won’t let him back down but Haley knows that he doesn’t stand a chance without some pretty intensive training.
Haley is the exact opposite, she never does anything on impulse; everything is well thought out and over analyzed. Every decision she makes is to protect someone around her, looking out for her family and sometimes that’s at her own expense. She’s a highly trained kickboxer who walked away from fighting and it takes us a long time to get to the bottom of that story. She no longer fights, she doesn’t train and she steers well clear of the gym but she’s going to have to rethink that to get West anywhere near ready for the match.
Take Me On gives them both many struggles to overcome. Haley is determined to keep things in the friend zone and concentrate on the training but they spend a lot of time together and form a bond that sees them talking to each other in a way they haven’t been able to do with anyone else.
Haley and West find themselves in their dealings with each other and lend the strength to do what needs to be done. Take Me On was another fantastic story by Katie McGarry that has me itching to get my hands on the volume I missed in the middle if only to get myself back into her world. She writes beautifully flawed and damaged teens that face huge obstacles but always manage to come through the worst of it.
I hope there is a fifth book because there are a few characters I would love to see some more of and find out how things turned out for.