Take Me On (Pushing the Limits, # 4)
By: Katie McGarry
Expected Publication: May 20th 2014 by Harlequin TEEN
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Source: Personal Kindle Library
*Note: The above links to Amazon, Book Depository, and Booksamillion.com are affiliate links. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.
Goodreads description--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 her-fighting for her-is 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.
Hayley 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.
What to say? What to say? I found myself both enjoying and impressed with Take Me On as well as frustrated and annoyed. I’m kind of torn on this one you guys.
West almost runs Hayley over with his car one night, right? And it just so happens that in so doing he interrupts her from being jumped on the street by two guys. Unfortunately, Hayley runs off and ends up getting jumped anyway. West jumps into the fight trying to protect this girl and in hopes of doing something right. He’s been floundering a bit since Rachel, his younger sister, had a car accident that was indirectly his fault—at least he played a part in why she ended up where she was when the accident happened. And so he’s seeking redemption. Little did he know, Hayley can pretty much take care of herself. As the description states, Hayley has been a champion kickboxer, but she doesn’t fight anymore.
West and his father have a very strained relationship. It was almost difficult for me to understand. The gist of it seemed to be that they’re too much alike. But it’s hard for me to understand how his father can know and understand that but continue to treat West the way that he does. West has a knack for getting into fights due to letting his temper get the better of him, and he ends up getting kicked out of his fancy private high school. His father enrolls him into public school, and he is thrown into daily interaction with Hayley.
But Hayley has her own problems. Her father was laidoff and her family had to move in with her uncle who is a class-A, royal jerk. And on top of that one of the guys who jumped her happens to be the little brother of her ex-boyfriend, and trained MMA fighter, Matt. Matt lives by street rules and anyone that messes with his little brother messes with him. Hayley’s brother and cousin feel the same way. And Hayley’s caught in the middle trying to keep the circle from going around and around with who’s getting beat up next. Hayley is doing her best to ensure that whoever it is isn’t Kaden or Jax.
And so West steps in. He and Matt schedule a fight—lucky for West it’s a refereed fight in an actual cage. West has to start training with Hayley so that he doesn’t get his rear handed to him. Through all of this West and Hayley develop feelings for each other. They learn to see each other for who they each are. And they learn that fighting for each other is worth it.
However, I found myself getting frustrated with the predictability. Take Me On hit that 70% mark that I hate so much and the characters started making the stupidest decisions. Other characters offer a deal that they just can’t refuse but that requires forfeiting the relationship for the betterment of the other character. And even though we aren’t forced to remain in that situation for too long, it just annoyed me that it came up at all. I think this conflict is overused and beyond annoying. The only redeeming quality about this particular conflict was that it did seem to fit these characters more than the same conflict applied to a different set of characters that perhaps have different backgrounds—if that makes sense.
I was terrified at one point that my characters, West and Hayley, weren’t going to have their happy ending. And I was struggling with wanting to throw the book across the room. I won’t tell you where or how things end. But you can just know that this wasn’t my favorite in the Pushing the Limits series. I’m still dying for the series to continue. I’m not 100% stoked about returning to Noah and Echo with book 5, Breaking the Rules because returning to them means more hard times and conflict to come that will at least temporarily interrupt their happy ending. But I do look forward to the series continuing. I know Katie McGarry has said that she intends to leave the Pushing the Limits series after book 5 to work on her new series, but that she hopes to return to the Pushing the Limits series in the future. And I really hope she does as with each book that’s released I find a new character or two that I’d love to read more about (Logan, Abby, Jax).
Also before I wrap this up, let me say that I did enjoy the timing of this book. It fits in before the ending of Crash Into You where Rachel walks again for the first time. For a large portion of this book, Rachel is still in the ER. And it just felt right to me for West’s story to pick up before Rachel’s really finishes.
-I’m awesome at lying to everyone else but have yet to perfect lying to myself.
-I’ve also failed to find a way to thank God for the bounty that is squirrel.
-…being hit until you break causes courage to disappear.
-”I don’t lie to Rachel. But yeah, you can assume anything that comes out of my mouth to anyone but her or Isaiah is a different rendition of the truth. Maybe also to Isaiah’s friend Logan. I like Logan. He reminds me of hot queso and I like queso.”
-Hell I can deal with; crying I can’t.
-”We have an agreement.”
West chuckles. “You said something. I disagreed. Later, we’ll come to an agreement.”
-Our worlds didn’t just collide; they merged as paint spilled on a sidewalk and it’s like neither one of us will be the right color again.
-…because when you’re going through something so horrible, it’s too difficult to cry for yourself. Sometimes I wonder if the agony inside would disappear if someone would shed the tears for me. I’m not sure I could survive expressing all the pain.
-I’ve never desired anything more than for my father to tell me I’m worth saving, that I’m worth being stood up for.
-Silence seems longer in darkness. I think it’s because it’s harder to lie when the lights are off. There’s a rawness that only belongs to the night and the truth can’t help but be set free.
-My grip on him loosens and West clings tighter. A constant seesaw between us of holding on and letting go.
-”Who are you? None of this—“ and she motions around the room “—fits what I know.”
“Maybe because what you’ve seen isn’t the real me.”
"I’ve seen you. I know I have…”
-”Falling happens. Jumping you choose.”
-”Is it a medical condition that causes you to talk in riddles?”
-I either tap out or fight.
-”Are you tapping out on me?”
-At this point, it has nothing to do with strength, but everything to do with heart.
In the end Take Me On gets 4 Stars. I enjoyed it. I had a few frustrations, but overall the writing was solid. I was pulled in. And I loved the characters. I can’t wait for more from Katie McGarry whether in the Pushing the Limits series or in her upcoming series. Have you read Take Me On? What did you think? Let me know!