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Review: Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols

The TV said you should ignore bullies and they would stop harassing you. In practice this worked about half the time. The other half, you ended up with two tall boys shadowing you through a trailer park, their fingers taking little nips at your clothes, like dogs.

At first glance, Jennifer Echols’ new YA novel, Such a Rush, has all the tell-tale signs of a typical YA romance: two attractive boys, absent parents and high-stakes drama.

And, yet, between the covers (and what a gorgeous cover it is), you’ll find a sensitively-crafted story of an 18-year old girl, who’s never had it even remotely easy, trying to figure out what sort of person she’s going to be. 

Leah is a girl who’s grown up in trailer parks, most of which have been by airports. She lives with her mother who floats from town to town based on promises from each new boyfriend—promises that never come to fruition. Often facing eviction because her mother rarely works, Leah’s life has always been in upheaval. That is until at age 14, she and her mother move into the trailer park next to the Heaven Beach Airport. 

Leah’s world opens up when she gets a job working in the office at Hall Aviation, a company that tows banners in the air up and down the beach. Mr. Hall, the owner, takes Leah under his wing (ha! puns!) after she starts saving her paychecks for flying lessons. Eventually, after years of working at Hall Aviation and flying with Mr. Hall, Leah is eighteen and ready to start working as a banner plane pilot she graduates—it’s her ticket to a better future.

However, all of those dreams are threatened when Mr. Hall dies of a heart attack shortly after his oldest son is killed while serving in the military and the Hall twins, Grayson and Alec, take over the business.

Leah is certain that Grayson and Alex cannot keep the business going, so she starts looking for another pilot job—her best bet being working as a crop-duster pilot for another company at the same small private airport. Those plans are derailed when Grayson (the trouble-making, reckless twin that Leah’s always crushed on from afar) blackmails Leah into flying for Hall Aviation during spring break. Oh, and she doesn’t just have to fly for the company—she has to try to date his brother (the golden boy). 

Okay, so I know that sound likes a triangulated love fest, but it’s not—I swear.

Editor’s Note: This is a special guest post from my mom. Sandra is a retired high school English teacher with a lot of opinions and a newfound love of YA literature and urban fantasy—she’s a longtime fan of horror, campy mysteries and police procedurals. As a kid, her goal was to grow up to be Nancy Drew, so much so that she carried around a notebook to report on her neighbors’ potential criminal activities.

In my little Pacific Northwest town of the fifties, women stayed home, took care of the house and centered their lives on their families and husbands. Nancy Drew, the brilliant and virtuous sleuth, gave preteen girls a glimpse of another world, of what could be.

Independent and clever, she drove her blue roadster into mysteries that never quit evolving, into places where atmosphere cloaked young girls in other worlds and thrilling tales.

I loved Nancy.

And, I’ve found a new love.