Book Review: Take Me On by Katie McGarry

21841243Title: Take Me On

Author: Katie McGarry

Format/Length:Paperback/464 pages

Publisher/Date Published:  Harlequin TEEN Australia/ June 1st 2014

Category/Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary

Source: Library

Description: 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.

3/5 stars —

★★★☆☆

Here’s what I like about this series: Each book focuses on different characters. You might have been introduced to them before, in previous books . . . or they might be entirely new characters. They’re pretty much all standalones — though you might be mildly spoiled for books if you read them out of order, but they always have a relatively happy ending — so if you don’t like the characters a previous book focused on, you don’t have to read it. (I skipped Dare You To altogether because Beth had always annoyed me.) Was this perfect? No. But I enjoyed it.

Enter Haley. Kickboxer, bad-ass, and can take care of herself.

The novel is told in a dual Point of View — meaning that both Haley and West got their time to shine during Take Me On. I don’t dislike character who are not “bad-ass” but character that can take care of themselves are always awesome to read about. Haley was really likeable. So far in the series, I think that Haley is the most likeable character of them all.

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Katie McGarry has a good writing style. She does romance well.

I’m not a massive contemporary reader, so there probably are better writers out there, but McGarry tells the story well. The characters, the romance, the tension and conflict, allows the reader to want to turn that next page. To make them want to find out what’s going to happen next. She captures the character’s romance in a realistic sort of way that I enjoyed. I — personally — am not a huge fan of present tense writing, which was why it’s taken me so long to read Crash Into You and Take Me On, but I hardly noticed it when reading. That’s how I know she’s a good writer.

I was hesitant because of the sports-orientated storyline. I shouldn’t have been.

I usually tend to stay away from novels that include some sort of sport (being the laziest person on Earth) but I actually really liked that element to the story. I loved the fact that Haley had to teach West how to fight — not the other way around, as I’ve seen plenty of times in novels before.

I was never really a fan of West.

He was okay — but there were a few things he said and did that made my eyebrows raise. For example, I don’t believe he ever really trusted Haley to take care of herself. Something I’ve noticed in McGarry’s novels is that her male characters always seem to have a protective streak to them — which can be sweet in some instances — and always had the need to “protect their woman” and whatnot. That’s great. They care for their girls. Wonderful. But you know what? Girls can take care of themselves, too. Yes, statistically, women are at a greater risk of being targeted for domestic abuse and sexual assaults. That’s just a fact of life, as unfair as it may be. What West seemed utterly oblivious to was that Haley knows how to protect herself. She was quite able to hold her own in a physical conflict if it came to that — and I felt like West undermined her abilities because she was a girl. (Maybe this is just me. Please comment with your thoughts below if you’ve read this book.)

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I liked  Haley . . . but she was a bit too perfect — physically, anyway.

Why is every girl so pretty, with long,  silky hair, unblemished skin,  flat stomach (okay, she was a kickboxer, so I get that), full lips, etcetera, etcetera in fiction?  I mean please. Let’s have some realism here, yes? Why not have a protagonist who’s a bit chubby, with a freckles or pimples or something that other teenage girls might be able to relate to. It’s boring having the same pretty protagonist over and over again.

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Overall — I enjoyed this one. I will most likely continue to read the rest of her novels.

Have you read Take Me On? What did you think of it? And how do you feel about having such physically perfect female characters?

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4 thoughts on “Book Review: Take Me On by Katie McGarry

  1. I don’t think I’m going to read this book because the premise doesn’t really interest me. Even though I am an avid runner, I generally stay away from books about sports. If I read a book related to running it’s usually a biography or memoir about a runner. Then again, I am obsessed with multiple POV books, which might change my judgment of this book just a little bit.

    • Yeah, this book wouldn’t have ordinarily interested me, either. I only read it because a) it was at my library, and b) I quite like the author. The sporting side of things doesn’t really interest me — but the good thing about the novel is that you don’t need to be passionate about kickboxing to enjoy it. It mainly revolves around the growing relationship of West and Haley; the kickboxing is more the reason they’re spending so much time together. :)

  2. The characters here kind of sound stereotypical, with the perfect girl and the overprotective guy. The more reviews I read of Katie McGarry’s books, the more I think they aren’t for me. I read Pushing the Limits and even that kind of was stereotypical, and it sounds like most of her books sound similar. Lovely review Kara, I’m glad you ended up enjoying their relationship.

    • Thanks, Jeann! I completely understand what you mean by stereotypical — I was definitely disappointed by Pushing the Limits. It just didn’t live up to the hype for me. So I lowered my expectations for the rest of the series, and found that I’ve quite enjoyed them. :)

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