Title: Such a Rush
Author: Jennifer Echols
Genre: YA contemporary
Source: Bought (Paperback)
A sexy and poignant romantic tale of a young daredevil pilot caught between two brothers.
When I was fourteen, I made a decision. If I was doomed to live in a trailer park next to an airport, I could complain about the smell of the jet fuel like my mom, I could drink myself to death over the noise like everybody else, or I could learn to fly.
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.
I can’t remember the last time I ever read a book about airplanes. I remember trying to listen to the audiobook for Code Name Verity and loved it, but had to put it aside and never really got back to it. I’m pretty sure Such a Rush caught my eye not only because of the whole flying/airplane premise, but also because of that gorgeous cover. I was also a bit of a newbie to Jennifer Echols’s writing and figured this would be a good place to start.
While I did enjoy the characters (probably the secondary characters more than Leah), I think I enjoyed the parts of the book where anyone was flying the most. The funny thing is that I’m really not a lover of flying. Give me a car trip any day! I didn’t think I would like all of the technical talk, but since I’m pretty sure I’m part-bird (somewhere deep down), the idea of feeling so free up in the sky in an airplane with only your thoughts, and the beautiful earth beneath you, was just so lovely. I did love Leah’s dedication to learning to fly and found it very inspiring.
I also really liked the secondary characters, especially Grayson and Alec (as well as Mr. Hall). I feel like the parent-child situation of Leah and her mom has been done before, and there was also Leah herself. I think she thought she wasn’t at all like her mom, but she really was. It kind of bugged me how she would use her looks and clothes to get what she wanted and how she didn’t seem to completely respect herself based on how she was raised and how she lived.
The romance in the book wasn’t completely overdone and I loved the relationship between Leah and Grayson. It kind of reminded me of Jenny Han’s Summer series with the two brothers, though there were definite differences (which I won’t talk about since it’d give away what happens!). There’s some great tension and some scenes that really kept me wanting to read well into the night. I didn’t think I would enjoy the love triangle of the story, but it really wasn’t the kind of love triangle I had been anticipating. It was quite enjoyable!
One thing I didn’t get, and maybe it’s because I don’t live in a seaside town, was the point of the banners. I could have enjoyed the whole airplane/flying part of the book a lot more if that part had been more believable but are there places where people fly banners all day long? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a banner fly behind an airplane outside of a TV show, but that could just be my own ignorance.
In the end this was a good read. I wouldn’t say that it made me completely jump on the bandwagon to read Echols’s other books, but I think I’ll try another if I come across one.