You don't have to read any other book that Katie McGarry has written in order to read CRASH INTO YOU. You can go into this one blind and still read a full story! Will it be beneficial to read other books first? Sure! Then you know the history of other characters going into this one. At the same time, I can see it fun going back to PUSHING THE LIMITS and DARE YOU TO, to fall in love with Echo and Noah or Beth and Ryan for the first time after seeing their cameos. In fact, as you read more of her books, you may find yourself tagging characters to see if they'll show up again in their own future novels. I kept doing that in CRASH INTO YOU! Whatever way you read her books, you win! There is no loser, no wrong choice. All of McGarry's books deal with various hard-hitting issues. They're gritty and raw. That's what I like about them most. They're not sappy, easy reads. They're emotional. You are thinking about these characters long after the last page is turned. To me, that is the mark of the best kind of contemporary fiction. It makes you think, ruminate, remember. McGarry does this so well, and I'm an instant-fan. I want to read everything and anything (The summary for her next book, TAKE ME ON, is already online, and I'm already coveting that, too. May, why are you so far away!?)
Rachel seems to have it all. She's from a fancy upper-class family, and the only girl among a gaggle of brothers. She's also a replacement for the daughter long-lost to cancer. She can't disappoint her family, especially her mother, and tries too hard to be like Colleen...even though she's nothing like her. Rachel isn't a girly-girl, and she doesn't want to be. She doesn't want to be treated like a fragile, sickly girl who can't do anything. Fitting into the bubble of expectations that surrounds her is hard. Rachel would rather be working on cars and getting her hands dirty. Her family thinks her "hobby" is "cute" and never takes her seriously. When Rachel finds herself at an illegal race, her world changes. She can't get a guy named Isaiah out of her head. Isaiah can't pull himself away from thoughts of Rachel, either. He tries to keep his distance, believing he's no good for her. He's a foster kid, and how can she look at him and not see a dangerous guy covered in tattoos? Neither one can believe that the other is able to see something more, something greater. When a dangerous situation throws the two together, they must overcome their own pasts and obstacles and work together, and in doing so, they'll find much more than either one bargained for.
I adore the depth of character that permeates all of McGarry's novels. You grow to care so much about these characters and really root for them. The development is top-notch, which is a major reason I'm drawn back to her books over and over again. I really enjoyed PUSHING THE LIMITS and CROSSING THE LINE (Which I only wish was longer), and I would have loved DARE YOU TO if I didn't dislike Beth so darn much. I didn't care for her in PUSHING THE LIMITS, and I still didn't fully embrace her in her own novel, though I ADORED Ryan. DARE YOU TO is worth a read for Ryan alone. That's just me, though. I know a lot of people who love Beth. I know a lot of people who prefer Beth and Ryan to Echo and Noah. Everyone is different. No one is wrong. This is a testament to how well McGarry develops her characters. She makes readers feel. Love, hate, no one is wrong.
Personally, I loved seeing Isaiah return with his own story in CRASH INTO YOU. I grew to really love him in DARE YOU TO, and was so excited when I read the sneak peek at the end of the book and saw what his own story would entail. Isaiah used to be a secondary character, and McGarry fully developed his as well. My heart broke at his unrequited love (Whose wouldn't?), and when I saw the glimpse of CRASH INTO YOU, it was like, "Of course Isaiah needs a car girl!" Rachel is perfect for him. She just needs to get out of her own head and her past. She needs to make her own path in life and not live to serve her family. Isaiah is as good for her as she is for him.
Katie McGarry books are about characters. They are about the way human beings are able to shape one another's lives--for the better or for the worse. We are one another's best friends and worst enemies. McGarry makes her characters feel real, like people you actually could know in real life. They're relatable. I'm always sad when one of her books ends because it's like I've just lost a best friend! As long as McGarry continues to be so great at character development, I will continue to support her and fangirl her books!