Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: MIRA Ink (29th Mar 2016)
One moment of recklessness will change their worlds
Smart. Responsible. That's seventeen-year-old Breanna's role in her large family, and heaven forbid she put a toe out of line. Until one night of shockingly un-Breanna-like behavior puts her into a vicious cyber-bully's line of fire—and brings fellow senior Thomas "Razor" Turner into her life.
Razor lives for the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, and good girls like Breanna just don't belong. But when he learns she's being blackmailed over a compromising picture of the two of them—a picture that turns one unexpected and beautiful moment into ugliness—he knows it's time to step outside the rules.
And so they make a pact: he'll help her track down her blackmailer, and in return she'll help him seek answers to the mystery that's haunted him—one that not even his club brothers have been willing to discuss. But the more time they spend together, the more their feelings grow. And suddenly they're both walking the edge of discovering who they really are, what they want, and where they're going from here.
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Katie McGarry for me is just one of those authors, that when she announces she has a new book out, it’s not a scramble to find out what it’s on, it’s a mad scramble to get that book into my hands as fast as possible. I’ve read and loved loved LOVED her Pushing The Limit series *but have no idea why I’ve not written a single review on any of the books*. This time around, I started her Thunder Road series, and this is the second book in that series - but rest assured, they all work well as a standalone even if you find characters from the series creeping in and out of each book.
This was everything that a Katie McGarry book promises - and for those who haven’t read any of her books, let me just say that it’s the perfect mix of bad-assery, a fiery romance, issues and threats, and writing that just won’t let you put the book down. With, of course, a gorgeous cover to boot. Just saying.
The story follows good girl Breanna and bad boy Razor as their lives collide. Brenna, like the blurb claims, is the quintessential good girl and Razor is the boy your parents warn you about not “mixing up with” which is exactly what happens. A good girl and a bad boy I hear you say? UNHEARD OF IN YA! I jest, but while many of you may roll your eyes at another cliche book, some of us will clutch it to our chests with a happy sigh because while this may be the most over-used trope in YA, it’s one that works best because deep down, people just want a good story, told well, even if it was been rinsed and repeated in every book you roll your eye at. This is just one of those.
I loved the characters in this book, and while I do have a thing about not liking books in a series where background characters from become the main character in another, for some reason, I’m totally okay with it happening in this series, because the author finds a way to make each character distinct, even if we’ve already glimpsed them in another story, lurking in the back, waiting for their time to shine. I loved Razor straight away, and of course, more on that later, but my one issue with this book was the overemphasis from the author on just how badass Razor and his gang were. I get it, Razor rolls with a biker gang, a gang with ethics and a moral code and a committee even - but I just felt like there was an excessive amount of description on just how bad these guys were, and how everyone literally quakes in their presence. Respect for these characters, including Razor, needs to be earned - but in this instance, it just felt like it was slapped on and made to be accepted, which didn’t sit well with me throughout the whole book. Razor goes on to earn his stripes in my book with his character, but at the beginning, I really didn’t like his character, and reading about 1/4 of the way in, I kept thinking “oh come in, these are a bunch of 17 year old kids, HOW BAD CAN THEY REALLY BE?” - but I felt like this was, at least with Razor, toned down a lot in the second half of the book as we get to learn more about his character and less about his reputation that preceded him. I will say that was the biggest issue I had with this book and the writing. Everything else though, fine and daaaandy.
Let’s start with Breanna - though I didn’t love and rave about her character, as for some reason I think Katie McGarry just writes better male characters than female ones - but I liked Breanna a good amount, and her character fitted perfectly into this story. She was nice and sweet and naive - and the combination of her with Razor was just moth to a flame. What I did not like, was Breanna’s family. OH MY GOD. Don’t even get me started *though I’m about to start and have my rant and rave*. Her family and especially her siblings annoyed me so much. Breanna was forced to give up so much, simply because there was too many siblings, her parents never paid her any attention and instead she was the one literally keeping the family together - yet her siblings hate her, make fun of her all the time behind her back, and her parents rely on her for everything and throw a sudden tight leash on her when they were just crap parents to start with. I was so angry reading how unfair everything was for her. She, for her part though, sucked it up, continued being the good kid, and found her love with Razor.
Razor on the other hand - the bad boy with a good heart. My weakness in YA characters, ‘cause lets all be honest, is there a better combination? I think not. The relationship that builds between these two character, was subtle, sweet, full of trust and understanding, borne of different circumstances but somehow both know what it feels like to feel the ache and absence of family even if one of them had it, and the other didn’t. Breanna fears Razor at first because of course she’s heard all about him as his reputation precedes him, but I’m glad her trust and diminishing fear of him wasn’t instantaneous - but instead Razor earns this with her with his actions. They don’t depend on each other, but instead, they help each other, come to find solace in each other’s company. There was fire, passion, trust and sweetness - which was the perfect combination for these two.
For me, this book wasn’t plot driven, but instead the force of these characters and their relationship really pulled it along for me. There was some slow going at the beginning but I didn’t find a single moment where I wanted to put to down. The author, as always, writes really well, keeps you hooked, revealing each plot and twist bit by bit. I will admit the biker gang thing wasn’t much of an appeal to me, simply because its outside of my interests - but I felt like the involvement of blackmail, social media, consent about pictures and such, was a good thing to feature and the way it was dealt with too was satisfactory to me. When writing about such things, it’s important to send a good message home with it - and I feel like McGarry did just that, with two intelligent and sensible characters.
In the end, another great book from Katie McGarry and I’m looking forward to reading more from the Thunder Road series, with the next book, Long Way Home, having been published January 31st, from the imprint I work in at HarperCollins *sends up silent hurrah for such a blessing*. TOTALLY love the yellow cover by the way, followed next by the blue - my least favourite being the covers where they have faces*.