Crash Into You is the third installment of Harlequin Teen novels by McGarry. These are not the fluffy romances you think of when you see the word harlequin. These are edgy teen stories that deal with death, drug use, abuse, foster care, and other modern urban issues that face many teens these days. This book follows the story of Isaiah who was also a character in Pushing the Limits and Dare You To.
McGarry portrays a raw look at teen drag racing (legal and illegal), foster care, social workers, drug dealers, gambling, dysfunctional families, panic attacks and codependency. Although the story is a romance, the two main characters, Isaiah and Rachel have so many problems with their families and their own well-being, it is almost hard to see how they have time for one another. But somehow, their relationship seems to work. This is because they share an interest in cars.
I got fairly frustrated with Rachel because she was always trying to keep her family, especially her mother happy. She was constantly pretending to be fine or taking on tasks that she had no business taking on. She was never honest with anyone, not even her twin brother.
I was happy to see Isaiah getting over his crush on his old friend Beth. He had become almost stalker-like in the previous book. Now he comes across as a much better person. The relationship between Rachel and Isaiah grows at a natural pace. They find something in one another that helps them to stand up to those around them who are pushing them to become something they are not. I found the ending to be kind of hokey, however. I am not sure a relationship between two people from such diverse socio-economic backgrounds could work in the real world. I guess that is why this is considered fiction — and a Harlequin.
What did this book have to do with my faith? This may be a SPOILER but Rachel learns to embrace her weaknesses and ask for help. She convinces Isaiah to do the same. When they admit they are weak, they become strong through the help of friends and family. As Christians, we sometimes think we must do it all and be strong. However, it is through our weaknesses that Christ can shine. When we admit we need help, others can step in and our relationships with them can be strengthened. We face our own faults while allowing others to support us and the Holy Spirit to sustain us. It is no longer about us but about what God can do through our pain, suffering and flaws.
I recommend Crash Into You. Just remember these are serious teen issues being covered here and teens also don’t have pretty vocabularies.