Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols
Author: Jennifer Echols
Publication Date: July 10, 2012
Publisher: MTV Books
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Source: Bought it
Description from Goodreads:
Heaven Beach, South Carolina, is anything but, if you live at the low-rent end of town. All her life, Leah Jones has been the grown-up in her family, while her mother moves from boyfriend to boyfriend, letting any available money slip out of her hands. At school, they may diss Leah as trash, but she’s the one who negotiates with the landlord when the rent’s not paid. At fourteen, she’s the one who gets a job at the nearby airstrip.
But there’s one way Leah can escape reality. Saving every penny she can, she begs quiet Mr. Hall, who runs an aerial banner-advertising business at the airstrip and also offers flight lessons, to take her up just once. Leaving the trailer park far beneath her and swooping out over the sea is a rush greater than anything she’s ever experienced, and when Mr. Hall offers to give her cut-rate flight lessons, she feels ready to touch the sky.
By the time she’s a high school senior, Leah has become a good enough pilot that Mr. Hall offers her a job flying a banner plane. It seems like a dream come true . . . but turns out to be just as fleeting as any dream. Mr. Hall dies suddenly, leaving everything he owned in the hands of his teenage sons: golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson. And they’re determined to keep the banner planes flying.
Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she’s leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business—until Grayson betrays her by digging up her most damning secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers—and the consequences could be deadly.
When people see the term 'White Trash' they immediately conjure up a very stereotypical image of a moldy aluminum trailer, a young uneducated irresponsible mother that depends on a quick succession of boyfriends to live, and whom runs from every money problem under the sun. Sadly, Leah Jones lives that exact reality from one trailer park to another as her mother perpetually gambles away their lives one pawned TV at a time. Having grown up in such an environment, Leah has been left to fend for herself; rationing food, wearing clothes threadbare and generally biding her time until that eviction notice arrived. But an unexpected benefit to living in trailer parks located next to airstrips was that a love of planes would develop and it drives Leah to one day seek out a job at the airport in her own backyard in Heaven Beach.
The cover is what drew me to this book in the first place. Hair can be so expressive, and when you look at this cover you get that intense feeling of a rushing howl of wind at your back (like when riding a roller coaster). It just gives me shivers of excitement looking at it!
In the beginning, the story is told by looking at snippets of the past and how Leah learns the skills that lands her in between Grayson and Alec in the present. Young Leah, while working at the airport she excels in the simple daily tasks while she soaks in all that she can about aviation. But just being around planes isn't enough, she's itching to fly in one. Saving up each penny that she can keep from her mother's grabby fingers, Leah convinces Mr. Hall to give her a flight lesson - and one lesson is all it takes to get her hooked.
I was completely surprised by the complexity of Leah's character. At times she seems resigned to the stereotypes that come with living in a trailer park (namely that she's easy and poor) and sometimes wallows in it. Then there's times where she's this completely different girl that's strong, willful and has this insane drive to do the impossible. She wavers between the two, and I'm so glad that the other characters don't just let this slide, they call her out on it.
Twins Grayson and Alec Hall couldn't be more different. Alec is super adorkable - he's just an all around sweet and nice guy. But it's the black sheep of the family, the reckless adrenaline junkie Grayson that captures and holds your attention. Looking at the Grayson from Leah's flashbacks and the present Grayson, there's a very visible divide between the two. Just when I thought I had Grayson figured out he'd surprise me equally with bouts of anger or random acts of kindness. On his road to emotional recovery, his decisions take him down a very dark path with a hidden agenda that made me blaze through this book because I couldn't stop asking why right along with Leah.
Echols does an incredible job crafting her characters, no matter how brief they appear they all had such vivid personalities that I could connect with them instantly and they managed to stay in the back of my mind throughout the book.
The romance aspect is completely believable. It's not instant love, there's lots of hardships and tests. I wouldn't say there's an obvious love triangle going on here, but Echols brings on some very mature situations which I loved seeing, because let's be honest here - it's not like teenagers aren't already doing these things why awkwardly dance around it? That being said, this is definitely for older YA readers, there are some scenes that I never would've expected to encounter.
This is easily one of my favorite books of 2012. It's got death defying action, social class drama, family dysfunction, hilarious outbursts and really good looking fly boys. What more could you ask for?
Overall: 5/5 Steaming HOT Cups of Tea!
I'm so glad I bought this one because it's one of those feel good books I'd love to read again and again when I need an inspirational pick me up. Also I've never read anything by Jennifer Echols before, but I'll definitely be looking into her other works!