Summary from GoodReads:
An unforgettable new series from acclaimed author Katie McGarry about taking risks, opening your heart and ending up in a place you never imagined possible.
Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she’s curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn’t mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.
Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They’re the good guys. They protect people. They’re…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club’s most respected member—is in town, he’s gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it’s his shot at his dream. What he doesn’t count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.
No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.
I’ve made no secret of my love for all things Katie McGarry. I mean, I made the drive to Kentucky (a 6+ hour drive one-way) twice to meet her and it was worth it both times. She is so sweet and amazing in general. Add to that her ability to write heart-breakingly amazing contemporary YA romances and I’m surprised I didn’t swoon the first time I met her. So my excitement over her newest novel should be no surprise. I love Pushing The Limits. It’s might just be my favorite contemporary YA ever. It showcases McGarry’s ability to draw you into her world. It is the best of that series, in my humble opinion. So having a similar experience, having Katie draw me into a new world with a new set of characters had a pretty high bar to reach. But she does it….not that I thought she would fail. That’s enough rambling, let’s get to the book, shall we?
Emily was a character that I liked immediately, but I didn’t love. I understood her reasoning for not wanting to get close to her biological father. Her stepdad, her adoptive father, is the best father anyone could ask for and curiosity for her biological dad seems like a betrayal of that bond with her Dad. I could get that, but I was so curious about her biological background that it was hard to not want to shake her when she refused to admit curiosity. Dammit girl! I want to know and you have to find out for me to know, that’s how this reader/character relationship works! The further into the novel we get, the more I found myself liking her.
The character I loved immediately was…..her Dad. Emily’s adoptive father was just swoon-worthy from moment one. I’m not generally into older guys, but the way this man steps up for her just had me all warm and fuzzy. The further into it you get, the more you see exactly how awesome this man is. Katie does so much more than give us the typical absentee parenting we get constantly in YA. She gives us real parents who are there and who don’t always have the right answer, but who loves our heroine and does what they think is best. Her bio-dad is pretty great too, but I just don’t think he compares to Dad.
Now, what you’ve been waiting for. My opinion on Oz. Well, he’s no Noah Hutchins, but he’ll do! He’s loyal to a fault, so that’s admirable. He’s trying to get in with the Motorcycle club his family’s involved in mostly because he wants it, but also because it will help his family. He has that big and tough on the outside, but gooey soft on the inside thing going for him. He and Emily have that “I hate you until I like you” thing going on in the beginning which I’m a complete sucker for.
I really enjoyed seeing them get to know each other and get over the first impressions. I enjoyed watching Emily get to know her family, the one she knows nothing about. I really enjoyed the whole dynamic there.
You know, there is a reason Katie writes contemporary YA novels that are 500 pages when most other authors just let them go at 300. And that reason is she gets so in-depth with the world. I think most writers in this genre just think “well, contemporary is our own world, so we don’t need any set up for that!” It’s not that they are wrong, it’s that giving it a little more set up can make all the difference in the world. Katie’s book draw you a picture of the world as it is, but with aspects most haven’t experienced. In the Pushing The Limits series, it was the world of foster kids in very bad homes. Here, it’s a motorcycle club, but it’s not the way the average American views it. It’s the real thing and it’s addictive. I’m not typical a settings or plot person. I’m here for the characters. Plot is great, but if I don’t care about the people, it doesn’t mean shit. But in that extra step in Katie’s books just brings me that much closer to these characters that I love.
Basically, Katie McGarry is a writing god and I plan to read everything she ever writes. She is amazing at drawing you into her world and keeping you there. I will say that there is a moment where I was unsure how this was going to end with the life of a particular character. All I will say is that this gets a five star rating from me. That should say all there that needs to be said.
****Thank you to Harlequin Teen for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****