McGarry began a Harlequin Teen series of books a couple of years ago with Pushing the Limits. I have really enjoyed the series. These are not the cookie-cutter teens you might find in most Young Adult (really teen) books. These teens have many problems, usually having to do with family issues. These are not perfect kids and the adults aren’t much better. The kids are struggling to make it and seem to find at least one other person — usually the romantic interest — to help them through. Each book can be read on its own, which is nice, although previous characters do show up from time to time.
Take Me On is the darkest yet of the series. Haley and West are having to deal with mistakes of their parents and are genuinely trying to help each other. However, neither seems to know how to react or deal with the help they are receiving. Somewhere in their pain, they recognize a kindred soul and try to gain some strength from one another. It is not an easy journey for either of them.
Warning: don’t expect the usual happily-ever-after ending! Also note that mature issues such as drug use/dealing, homelessness (teens and families), alcoholism, abuse, fighting (in the ring, the cage and on the streets) and violence are all in this one book.
What did this book have to do with my faith? As a Christian, I have served meals to the homeless. On many of those occasions, I see these people as somehow “other.” I don’t have any reference to them at all. However, this book makes clear that homelessness has nothing to do with how you start out or what age you are or even if you are a family. Homelessness can happen to anyone. So, why don’t I make the better effort to treat these homeless as people? Can I not serve the best food while spending some time talking, praying, and establishing relationships with these folks? Isn’t loving someone more than handing them a hotdog?
I recommend Take Me On, especially if you have read the other books in the series.