13 November 2012

Teen Tuesday

Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols (MTV Books hardcover, 10 July 2012).

Leah Jones has lived her life moving from one trailer park to another, as her mother moves from one guy to another. 

At the age of fourteen, living in Heaven Beach, South Carolina she decides that, because trailer parks are almost always next to airports, she will take advantage of it.  She walks to the small airport near her house and gets a job.

Careful not to let her mother know so that her hard-earned money won't be taken to buy beer or gamble, she saves her money diligently.  When she has enough, she asks Mr. Hall, who runs a business that tows banners and gives flying lessons, to take her up for a ride.  She's hooked, and negotiates a discounted rate to take flying lessons from him.  She begins to think of him as a father figure, except during school vacations when his three sons, who've been living with their mother, come to stay with him.

By the time she's 18, she's an accomplished pilot, and Mr. Hall offers her a job flying banner planes when she graduates.  Then his oldest son, a fighter pilot, is killed in combat, and Mr. Hall has a fatal heart attack just a couple of months later.  The younger sons, twins the same age as Leah,move to Heaven Beach, intending to take over the business. 

They're not identical, but they're both very attractive.  In fact, Leah has had a crush on Grayson since she first saw him.  Grayson is the one  who seems to be in charge, which surprises Leah, since he always seemed more brash and reckless.  When he tells her he plans to honor his father's promise to her, she's at first wary; what does he know about running a business?  She finally gives in, but only because he blackmails her into it, and the three of them, along with Leah's friend Molly try to make a go of it.

Their relationships are tumultuous (as those between teens are wont to be), and the secrets that they keep from each other almost ruin everything.

Somehow, I've never read a book by Jennifer Echols before, despite the fact that she's written several YA novels.  I am very impressed by her characters: though their intentions may be pure, they are all flawed in some way that makes them extremely human. 

One quibble:  the front cover is lovely, but to me it doesn't represent the essence of the story. 

FTC Full Disclosure:  I borrowed this book from my local library.

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