Review: Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols

Title: Such a Rush
Author: Jennifer Echols
Published: July 10, 2012
Pages: 336
Source: purchased

Amazon Summary: 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'm a loyal fan of Echols, though frankly, I haven't loved any of her books in quite a while. I can say that 'Such a Rush' gave me my faith back that I will love her books again.
What truly baffled me about this book was how it screamed JENNIFER ECHOLS in every way possible as she's known as a writer (which I guess is a statement only those who've read more than a couple of her books might be able to relate to) - but I absolutely loved that.

Echols do what she does best: handsome boys, secretive plot, independent heroine, and of course, the familiar witty banter (it's simply not an Echols novel without it.)

Leah, the protagonist, has led a struggling life and goes by on a daily basis barely having enough to eat, but there was something oddly calm about her and her situation. She knew how to deal with it in a way that didn't make you feel sorry for her.
Leah was level-headed, determined, and safe in her own skin. Even though there were qualities that made her appear rebellious or troubled, she was rather a teenager trying to find her way.

I really enjoyed the flying. Echols made me believe I could do it; literally made me believe I would be able to fly a plane. Maybe I will. I don't know much (or anything) about planes or businesses within that field, but I intentionally chose to overlook the odds of eighteen-year-olds in the air (what do I know) and running a banner-flying business. I couldn't imagine Greyson doing paperwork, for one.

The big damning secret Greyson used to blackmail Leah with was a little silly, really, if you were to compare it to the size of his goal with the whole thing. It was just a little far-fetched.

[Spoilers starting!] I didn't understand why his way of trying to make Alec stay was by attempting to make him fall for Leah. It felt so out of the blue to get such an idea. Why on earth would Greyson believe it'd work? It was never mentioned Alec might've had a crush on Leah back in the days or anything like that, so the odds of him not falling for Leah and the plan backfiring was the majority. [Spoilers ended!]

I have two feelings about the plot: one, there wasn't enough backstory or reason behind what originated Greyson's idea to blackmail Leah for it to have seemed logical. And two, the whole thing ultimately should've been twice as dramatic and complicated. Emotions should've been flying about (ha, no pun intended) when everything revealed itself.

I'd thought Greyson and Alec would be equally appealing, despite their differing characteristics, that there'd be some back and forth before knowing who Leah would "end up with", but soon enough (well, too soon) you realize nothing is meant to happen with one of the boys. I would've wanted to see him make more of an impact and difference in the story.

I did like the small cast of characters that it ultimately came down to and the simple but close moments shared.
Then we have Mark - a loose end. There was a lot that wasn't explained about Mark, he should've been more active in the story since his character did carry some weight. I feel that important scenes between him and Leah were skipped.

Despite having rambled on about all my "should'ves", I really did found myself responding to 'Such a Rush' more than anticipated. I did indeed enjoy it.


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