Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry
Book Two of the Thunder Road series
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Publication Date: March 29, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley
Summary (from Goodreads):
One moment of recklessness will change their worlds
Smart. Responsible. That's seventeen-year-old Breanna's role in her large family, and heaven forbid she put a toe out of line. Until one night of shockingly un-Breanna-like behavior puts her into a vicious cyber-bully's line of fire—and brings fellow senior Thomas "Razor" Turner into her life.
Razor lives for the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, and good girls like Breanna just don't belong. But when he learns she's being blackmailed over a compromising picture of the two of them—a picture that turns one unexpected and beautiful moment into ugliness—he knows it's time to step outside the rules.
And so they make a pact: he'll help her track down her blackmailer, and in return she'll help him seek answers to the mystery that's haunted him—one that not even his club brothers have been willing to discuss. But the more time they spend together, the more their feelings grow. And suddenly they're both walking the edge of discovering who they really are, what they want, and where they're going from here.
What I Liked:
I've read Pushing the Limits, Dare You To, Crash Into You, Take Me On, Nowhere But Here, and now Walk the Edge, and while Pushing the Limits holds the only five-star rating from me, I think Walk the Edge is probably my favorite of McGarry's full-length novels. I remember being utterly blown away by McGarry's debut, but I think this book is better, even if my ratings of the books wouldn't make it seem so. I didn't like Nowhere But Here as much as I'd hoped, but that was for reasons that were pretty specific to that book. I knew I'd want to continue with the Thunder Road series, and I am very glad that I did!
This book focuses on Razor and Breanna. Razor (legal name Thomas Turner) is the only patched-in member of the Reign of Terror motorcycle club that attends the high school (he's eighteen, which is the minimum age). He is a man of few words, and everyone is terrified of him. Everyone including Breanna Miller, fifth of nine children, and relative genius of the high school. Breanna has never felt like she belonged, not at school, or in her own family. Razor chivalrously helps her out at the school one day, and the pair can't stop thinking about each other. When a photo is taken of them and Breanna is threatened and blackmailed, Razor and Breanna are determined to make sure that the photo never surfaces, because it's not just Breanna's reputation at stake.
I got sucked right into this book, which actually surprised me a little. These books of McGarry's are really long, and often start off pretty slowly. This story has a beautiful cadence to it. It starts a few days before senior year is going to start for Breanna (and Razor). The first scene does not involve them meeting. We see Razor exactly as who he is and how everyone sees him - cold, silent, dangerous, a lit fuse slowly burning. We see Breanna as she is - swamped with familial responsibilities, constantly giving up what she wants, to help her parents with their other eight children. Totally unfair, and I will get to her parents/family in the next section. But anyway.
Breanna and Razor meet for the first time several scenes later, and it is downright hilarious. Breanna is convinced that Razor and the other Terror boys are going to rob and murder her, and Razor is both amused and annoyed that she would think that. You can see the attraction in this first meeting. After this, the pair can't seem to stay away from each other. It's not like Breanna just magically got over her fear of Razor and the club - no, not at all. But the more little interactions they have, the more you can see Breanna opening up to Razor, and vice versa.
I love how McGarry builds the relationship. The physical attraction is so there, but also an emotional connection that both breaks and warms my heart. Both of them are dealing with so much in their own worlds. Razor has been silently grieving his mother's death, which happened when he was ten. Years later, he's now finding out details about her death that make it seem like it wasn't a suicide. Razor hasn't been the same since her death, but you see a different side of him with Breanna. And Breanna - she can be herself with him, because he think she's awesome.
Razor is constantly on edge during this story, with a lot of negative tension between him and his father. Breanna has different problems; she has to drop what she is doing and take care of her younger siblings often. She is often forgotten by her parents, and it seems like no one cares about her except her best friend Addison, but even Addison has her own problems. Razor and Breanna are from two completely different worlds, and yet, they are their own moths to each other's flames.
Have I mentioned that I love the romance? Their relationship is lovely to watch unfold, and the chemistry between the two is smoking. Breanna is pretty innocent and sweet, the nice naive type, and Razor is your bad boy, danger wrapped in a pretty boy's skin. But the combination is combustible, and the two of them are really swoony together. Razor especially! He might be my favorite McGarry boy. *fans self*
The story revolves around Razor and Breanna's relationship, as well as how Razor deals with finding out new information about his mother's death. The Terror know more than they are letting on, and Razor isn't trusting them. The story is also heavily focused on the blackmail and cyber-bullying. Breanna has to write English papers for the star football player, or he'll post a compromising picture of Breanna and Razor online. This aspect of the story is heartbreaking, but I LOVE how it unfolds. There is drama but Razor and Breanna work to make sure that Breanna doesn't have to do anything that she doesn't want to do.
The story's climax and ending -- I love how Breanna and Razor deal with the blackmail and the photo! The two of them face the issue individually, so it's not that Razor comes to Breanna's rescue or Breanna refuses Razor's help. We also learn about Razor's mother's death, which was so heartbreaking for Razor. The ending is kind of sad, but also very happy. I think Breanna's parents should have cut her a break a little more (see below), but I love how the very last few lines wrapped up the story. Overall, I'm very happy with this book!
What I Did Not Like:
I absolutely hate Breanna's parents. They have nine kids, and they ignore Breanna for the entire book, until the very ending of the book. And at the ending, they realize that they were sh***y parents and suddenly they put a super over-tight leash on Breanna. It's kind of infuriating, for many reasons.
I don't mean to step on people's toes, but why IN THE WORLD do people have so many kids when you KNOW you can't support them, financially, emotionally, etc.? Both Mr. Miller and Mrs. Miller work full-time, and I believe the oldest four Miller children are out of the house. Breanna is the "oldest" and she's practically raising her younger four siblings. HOW IS THIS OKAY?! Parents, why do you think it's okay to have your older children raise your younger children?! I remember getting angry about this in Huntley Fitzpatrick's books (which I loved). DON'T HAVE SO MANY KIDS if you can't support them in every possible way! I know what I'm talking about - both sides of my family have many siblings (ten of my dad's, six of my mom's). Don't do that!
Do you see why I'm so angry? So often does Breanna have to give up so much (private school, social life, potential love life) to take care of her younger siblings, like she's a single mother at seventeen with four kids. Her parents are so incredibly selfish for having so many kids. They are never attentive to Breanna, or even the other "older" young siblings (kids #6, and 7). And Breanna's older siblings hate her because she's the "perfect" one, but really, she's just trying to keep her family together. Which is NOT HER JOB.
I realize that this isn't entirely an issue I have with this book specifically, but so many times, I wanted to strangle the Miller parents. So. Many. Times.
Would I Recommend It:
Ahem. Despite abhorring the Miller parents, I totally recommend this book, especially if you're a YA contemporary romance fan. McGarry's books have it all - tough issues, steamy romance, swoony bad boys, sweet and tough heroines. I don't really care for motorcycle clubs but I am enjoying this series by McGarry!
4 stars. A great addition to the Thunder Road series! I'm glad I decided to keep going, despite not liking Nowhere But Here as much as I'd hoped. I'm looking forward to Violet and Chevy's story, which is next!
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