Hardcover, 455 pages
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Published by: Harlequin Teen
Companion (Pushing the Limits, #4)
Source: Own/Won (Gifted by the Publisher)
For fans of: Chick-lit, Contemporary, Romance, Sports, Realistic Fiction, YA
Acclaimed author Katie McGarry returns with the knockout new story of two high school seniors who are about to learn what winning really means.
Champion kickboxer Haley swore she'd never set foot in the ring again after one tragic night. But then the guy she can't stop thinking about accepts a mixed martial arts fight in her honor. Suddenly, Haley has to train West Young. All attitude, West is everything Haley promised herself she'd stay away from. Yet he won't last five seconds in the ring without her help.
West is keeping a big secret from Haley. About who he really is. But helping her-fighting for her-is a shot at redemption. Especially since it's his fault his family is falling apart. He can't change the past, but maybe he can change Haley's future.
Hayley and West have agreed to keep their relationship strictly in the ring. But as an unexpected bond forms between them and attraction mocks their best intentions, they'll face their darkest fears and discover love is worth fighting for.
I really have no idea where to start this review. For the most part I was overly frustrated with the characters but for the other time I was definitely still glued to the page due to McGarry's writing and their beautiful romance. It shouldn't come as a shock that I loved it, but you should be shocked that these characters kind of had me hating them for a minute.
Ok, now that I've said that, let me explain. I hadn't liked West since Crash Into You. Isaiah has been my favorite since Pushing the Limits and Dare You To and I was so pissed with West for doing that to poor Rachel and Isaiah. But in the end, it was finally good to hear his entire story. I know that he had so much going on and that even though West did all these things, he still was a good person. He may not have handled it the right way, but he was still helping out a fellow person. But it didn't change that he was still making my head hurt. He never gave anyone a chance to make their own decision about something. I hated that he was so much like someone he hated but still voiced that he hated them. Oh the irony. But as he grew, it was obvious that he had found what he needed in her.
As for Haley, I was a little upset with her. Right away I knew what had happened. But for the life of me I couldn't understand if she was mad because it happened or if she was angry that she retaliated. Either or, I was mad because she was upset. What he did, there's no forgiveness for. It wasn't ok. You let this person take every last ounce of joy you had. And then you blamed yourself for it. NONE of that is your fault. Don't ever think that it is.
The subject in this one is a really heavy topic. Although it didn't move me to tears like the last one, it did give me an overwhelming sense of pride. Pride in West and pride in Haley. When they finally started talking and giving each other what they needed, nothing could stop them. Not parents, not friends, not family members. And I loved that McGarry didn't hesitate to show us this in the book. Their romance was so heartbreaking. But I figured it would be. For them to have so many things going on as individuals, I knew they wouldn't be anything less than dynamite together. Watching them grow together (in fighting and in love) they both became a better person.
As for the sport portrayed in it, MMA made this an intense book. I was on edge a bunch of times and that last scene had me putting the book down for a few minutes because I just couldn't keep reading. I was too nervous. I wonder what McGarry felt like when doing research for this. If just reading about it made my heart speed up, how can anyone watch this or even fight this? It was super intense.
This wasn't my favorite one because of the characters, but at the same time, we all know that Katie McGarry is one of my favorites. And even though they frustrated me, it doesn't mean I didn't like them as characters. I just didn't like thier choices, Don't get it confused.
Overall, I give this