I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Take Me on by Katie McGarry
Also by this author: Crash into You
Series: Pushing The Limits #4
Also in this series: Crash into You
Published by Harlequin on 2014-05-27
Genres: Love & Romance, Martial Arts, Sports & Recreation, Young Adult
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Acclaimed author Katie McGarry returns with the knockout new story of two high school seniors who are about to learn what winning really means Champion kickboxer Haley swore she'd never set foot in the ring again after one tragic night. But then the guy she can't stop thinking about accepts a mixed martial arts fight in her honor. Suddenly, Haley has to train West Young. All attitude, West is everything Haley promised herself she'd stay away from. Yet he won't last five seconds in the ring without her help. West is keeping a big secret from Haley. About who he really is. But helping herfighting for heris a shot at redemption. Especially since it's his fault his family is falling apart. He can't change the past, but maybe he can change Haley's future. Haley and West have agreed to keep their relationship strictly in the ring. But as an unexpected bond forms between them and attraction mocks their best intentions, they'll face their darkest fears and discover love is worth fighting for.
Katie McGarry is back with Take Me On, the fourth in her Pushing The Limits series. I will be honest and admit I was a tiny bit apprehensive when I started this book as I found her third book, Crash Into You to be a huge disappointment. Take Me On is one of those books that is so thrilling and exciting and filled to the brim with emotions and feelings that it was a monumental task to set it down to go to bed and also to go to a social gathering. It’s the type of book that you pine for when you’re not reading it. I had to know what was going to happen next with the two main point of view characters, Haley and West.
Take Me On opens with Haley picking up a prescription for her dad. As she’s walking home, she is jumped by the drug addict little brother of her ex-boyfriend. West, who has been following his mom as she makes annual pilgrimage to a sketchy neighborhood, witnesses the jumping go down and decides to get involved and save Haley. Unfortunately, West ends up getting knocked out and wakes up to Abby from the previous book, Crash Into You, helping him. Furthermore, West finds out that he’s been expelled from his posh private school and he will now be attending public school. The exact same public school that Haley attends. West and Haley have class together and find that they are attracted to each other. This little fact does not escape Haley’s ex-boyfriend Matt’s notice and so, after seeing his brother Connor, the drug addict who jumped Haley, beat up, Matt challenges West to a cage match. And so, Haley who is a former national titled fighting champion begins to train West at her grandfather’s gym. It is the fight of Haley and West’s lives as they must fight for each other and for happiness in Take Me On.
Katie McGarry creates quite the engaging character with Haley. Unlike Rachel from Crash Into You, Haley is legitimately interesting. Haley’s life circumstances are rather terrible and are not the woes of a privileged girl who has to make speeches, but someone with actual problems. Haley’s dad lost his job a year ago and has been unable to find another one. Combine this with Haley’s sister Maggie needing major surgery, and the resulting medical bill leaves Haley’s family broke. They lose the house and end up moving in with Haley’s uncle. He is the worst by the way, he’s incredibly abusive and chauvinistic. Yet, Haley is resilient. She does not tap out when the going gets tough, for most things. Granted, she has walked away from fighting even though she had all this talent for it because of an event in her past. I’ll just say that it’s a real trip to unravel Haley’s past and her secrets, but when I did, I could not help but like her more for her scars. ALSO! Haley’s family! I did not mention them, but her brother Kayden and her cousin Jax are awesome and are around her age also train and work at her grandfather’s gym. They are a nice side bonus to this book.
West, the love interest and other main character undergoes character development in spades. If you are the sort of person who likes it when characters grow, you will love West and Take Me On. When the book opens, he is this privileged boy who is all bluster and rage and anger. West has every privilege in the world, he is a Young after all. Yet, he still rails against the world. He’s impulsive and has quite the temper. He acts on emotions rather than rational. This gets him in trouble to the point of expulsion and then to the point of being kicked out of his home by his father. West must live in his car which is a whole lot different than his mansion in the gated community. He is cold and hungry for the first time in his life. Yet, instead of giving up and coming home with his tail between his legs, West fights on. He finds a job working with his hands. Meanwhile, he also finds himself learning training for the bout with Matt and Matt’s brother Connor. If you like your characters with heart and tenacity, you will LOVE West Young.
Haley and West absolutely have chemistry. The two are from different worlds and yet, they make perfect sense as a couple. Both are fighters. Both never ever give up, even when their backs are to the ropes. The development of their romance is a bit of a winding road with lots of drama and angst and anguish. I’ll say that the happily ever after is completely earned. I will also say that thus far, Take Me On is tied with Dare You To for my favorite of Katie McGarry’s books. If you’re looking for a book that will grab you and have you reaching for it during all of your spare moments, this is THE book.