Title: Take Me On
Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher/Date Published: Harlequin TEEN Australia/ June 1st 2014
Category/Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary
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.
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.)
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.
Overall — I enjoyed this one. I will most likely continue to read the rest of her novels.