At a basic level, this book reminded me a lot of Jenny Han’s Summer books. There’s a girl and two brothers—one easygoing and fun, the other dark and brooding—and while the girl has always been in love with the serious brother, there’s the prospect of some romance with the other brother too. Not to mention there’s also summer and the beach. Which is not to say it was too similar to the Summer books—“Such a Rush” is very much its own story; it just gave me a similar vibe to the other.
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 really liked Leah as a main character. She’s different from the usual YA heroine—having grown up in trailer parks with a terrible mother, Leah’s used to being seen as white trash. She dresses in low cut shirts and short shorts and has a reputation of being easy. But Leah is secretly really awesome. She’s loyal and responsible and not afraid to be tough and bad-A to those who try to drag her down. Plus, she goes after her dream of learning to fly, despite all the odds stacked against her. She rocks, basically, despite making her fair share of mistakes. Grayson on the other hand, I was not really a fan of. I hate it in books when the guy acts like a total jerk and it's supposed to be okay because deep down he has a good heart. I'm just like, "Dude, I don't care about his motivations--he's still being a jerk." And Grayson definitely had some jerky tendencies that prevented me from falling for him, although I will admit he does have a sexy bad-boy appeal going on.
This is only my second Jennifer Echols book, but I think she’s won me over, despite my dislike of Grayson. I avoided her books for so long for some inexplicable reason, but now that I’ve read a couple, I’m becoming a bit of a fan. From my limited experience, it seems to me that her books tend to be on the more mature end of YA, both in terms of the characters’ ages and sexuality, and “Such a Rush” definitely fell into that category. Leah is no naïve suburban princess, and it definitely shows in her language and actions. But the book never crossed the line into trashy, so I was fine with it.
Overall, it’s not necessarily a book I would recommend to younger teens, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. I thought Leah was a refreshingly imperfect character, and—like I did with the other Echols book I read—I adored the drama, drama, drama.
Rating: 4 / 5