This review and others are posted at Inspiring Insomnia.
Even though my rating for Crash Into You isn't great, and even though it's my least favorite of the Pushing the Limits series, I would still recommend it to fans of NA-ish contemporary romance. I, however, have grown tired of the glut of controlling and sometimes violent behavior exhibited by the male characters in this genre. To be clear, Crash Into You doesn't come close to glorifying this behavior as books like Hopeless
and Ten Tiny Breaths
do. But still, I was turned off by the overt possessiveness that Isaiah felt towards Rachel immediately after meeting her and throughout the story. There was a lot of fist clenching going on here, as well as barely restrained urges to fight whenever Isaiah gets a hint that Rachel is paying attention to someone else, even when she is merely being polite. None of this is helped by the fact that Rachel is portrayed in an overly juvenile way, with lots of peeking out from under her hair, staring at the ground, biting of her lip, numerous mentions of how "tiny" she is, etc.
Much of this book, following the initial googly-eyed meeting of Isaiah and Rachel, had a version of the following dialogue:
Isaiah: "You're too good for me."
Rachel: "I'm too inexperienced for you."
Both: "I love you."
Isaiah: "I'm going to hurt you."
Rachel: "Only I can fix you."
Isaiah: "I must protect you."
I kept waiting for a big, dumb misunderstanding that some authors rely on to create drama, but we are thankfully spared that. It's almost as though the author took the worst aspects of New Adult and dialed them way back. But not all the way, unfortunately. We've got the requisite damaged characters, although they don't come close to the level of messed-up-ness as the horrible characters in the books I mentioned above. Isaiah is a foster kid who's had some rotten breaks throughout his life, but he's relatively well-adjusted. And even though his tendency to control is unappealing, he never crosses the line into abuse and stalking. Rachel had a very different upbringing: perfect on the surface, with wealthy, loving parents. But she's a shadow of the older sister who died before Rachel was born. Her sometimes meek personality was molded by her parents who had her in an attempt to replace their first-born daughter . Through her life, Rachel felt that she could never live up to the memory of her sister. The relationship between the two has many sweet moments, but the drama seemed forced at times.
It was nice to see the main characters from the earlier PTL books make an appearance. The e-ARC also included the first two chapters of the next book, Take Me On. I wasn't thrilled to see that this story starts with a fistfight, but the MC seems to be a bit more fun-loving than Isaiah, and I'm hoping that I'll have better luck with that one.