People expect Rachel Young to be the good girl who always gets straight As. But Rachel’s keeping her real life secret.
Her wealthy family have no idea that she loves racing strangers in her Mustang. Or about dangerous, intense Isaiah Walker. Isaiah has secrets too. And the last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl slumming it. But when their shared love of speed puts their lives in jeopardy, Isaiah and Rachel have six weeks to come up with a way out – and to discover just how far they’ll go to save each other.The third book in McGarry's amazing companion series focuses on Isaiah, Noah's best friend. We learn much more about Isaiah in this, more about his past and why he's in foster care, which is great because I've always liked him and his strong relationship with Noah. And let's face it, Isaiah deserves someone after what happened with Beth and Rachel seems perfect for him. As with all of McGarry's novels, they are pushed together by fate but their character development, both in terms of feeling comfortable within themselves and to feel worthy of the other, was impressive and what I love about her writing.
New character Rachel was very interesting: a seemingly-spoilt girl from rich people neighbourhood is actually a car junkie, with a big secret that could tear her family apart. Her family is already broken and her relationship with her parents in particular was strained, to say the least. But Rachel has a secret worse than fixing up cars: she's very ill and having to hide it from her family so they don't worry. I liked her instantly; she was fed up with feeling weak and being the little girl of the family. She was stubborn and smart with her cars but compared to Isaiah, very small. I mean literally and emotionally. They both had their problems and what I liked about their growing relationship was their lack of presumptions about the other. Well, Isaiah did assume that Rachel was spoilt, and Rachel was initially scared of him, but when learning about each other, they didn't judge because they both knew what it meant to feel alone in the world.
The plot was fast paced and thrilling - getting involved in drag-racing is dangerous but the streets are worse and owing money to the wrong guy? Too much worse. Add in a heart-wrenching love story and terrible secrets, I was hooked from beginning to end. I loved everything about this; Isaiah and Rachel's relationship was very sweet and almost adorable, especially picturing tough-guy Isaiah getting loved up! I also really liked to see how both of them changed from being with each other in relation with other parts of their lives; Rachel grew brave and finally told her family what she thought, not what they expected of her, and Isaiah plucked up the courage to see his mother after all these years and hear her side of the story. Oh, and Abby! I almost forgot Abby! Another new character, she was an old friend from Isaiah's part of town and one of the only people he trusted to look after Rachel when he wasn't around. Even though she was pretty weird and random, I adored her; she only knew Rachel for a few days but instantly felt protective over her.
I cannot rave about this book enough, seriously! Everything about it, from the good and bad characters, the love story, the cars and the racing, the money and the family drama, it all added up to Isaiah and Rachel becoming brave and gaining the strength to be who they are and who they want to be with. I loved the balance between budding romance and 'oh my god, we owe money to a street king and we're going to die'. And yes, I definitely had some heart in my throat moments of sheer panic but I still loved it.
Published 26th November 2013 by Mira Ink. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.