By Jennifer Echols
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Drama, Romance
Reading Level: 7th grade
Interest Level: 8th-12th grade+
Awards: Book Buyer’s Best, the Maggie, and the Aspen Gold
Teaser: Everyone judges Leah for where she lives. She’s judging them from the cockpit!
Summary: Leah is a senior in high school and whose moved from trailer park to trailer park all her life. Her mom’s unsteady relationships had them living in several different South Carolina towns. Leah decides that she will put her location to the best use and learn how to fly. She is committed to learning so she works at the airport next to the trailer park as a secretary so that she can pay for her flying lessons. Her boss, Mr. Hall, is a sweet man and sees potential for Leah as a pilot. Suddenly Mr. Hall passes away, and his two sons step forward to try to keep the airport open. Leah likes Grayson. She always thought he was cute one of the brothers. But soon she finds out that Grayson is not being truthful to her and realizes that Alec has been helping her all along.
Information about the Author: Amazon’s biography of Jennifer Echols reads, “Jennifer Echols was born in Atlanta and grew up in a small town on a beautiful lake in Alabama—a setting that has inspired many of her books. Her nine romantic novels for young adults have been published in seven languages and have won the National Readers’ Choice Award, the Aspen Gold Readers’ Choice Award, the Write Touch Readers’ Award, the Beacon, and the Booksellers’ Best Award. Her novel GOING TOO FAR was a finalist in the RITA and was nominated by the American Library Association as a Best Book for Young Adults. Simon & Schuster will debut her adult romance novels in 2013, with many more of her teen novels scheduled for the next few years. She lives in Birmingham with her husband and her son.”
Critical Evaluation: I liked this story a lot. I especially liked Leah as a protagonist. She has been judged and bullied about her living situation all through high school and she still is brave and proud of herself. She sets a goal for herself and is determined to reach that goal. Her mom is a deadbeat and does nothing for her. And Leah cannot stand when people pity her. So she gets a job at the airport. One of my favorite lines in the book is when Leah decides to start wearing makeup to school since she got a job working at the airport.and she says, “Nobody felt sorry for me anymore because my mom wasn’t taking care of me and I didn’t know how to take care of myself. I took care of myself and I looked it. The downside was that I’d gotten stares like these from boys like Mark, which prompted girls to label me a slut and stay away from me. But I knew what I was. I held my head high. Exchanging sympathy for pride was a fair trade-off”(4). I admire her so much and think she is a strong character.
Curriculum Ties: N/A
Booktalk Ideas: Do you have a goal or dream that you have had for a long time like Leah?
Challenge Issues: Stereotyping, Sexuality, Violence
Challenge Resources: Rationale for choosing this book (see “Why Did I Pick This”), Engage students and parents in discussions about intellectual freedom, ALA Library Bill of Rights,Challenge Resources from the American Library Association
Why Did I Pick This: I picked this book because it is a story about a girl being determined and knowing what she wants. She will not let anyone else mess up her dreams! Teens will have a character to look up to and they will fall in love with the love story.
Echols, J. (2012). Such a Rush. New York: MTV Books.